Review: Ella Enchanted by Gayle Carson Levigne

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I went into this book with a vague idea it was a retelling of Cinderella but not much else. I’d also watched the movie–well, not really, just bits and pieces–and knew Ella had to obey every command she was given.

When I started the book, I wanted to stop reading because I wasn’t captured by the narration. However, I’ve never read a retelling and thought a short retelling of Cinderella would be perfect to wet my feet. I’m so glad I read this book, but do wish it had been longer.

Ella was an extremely likable character with lots of spunk and free will despite her gift which was actually a curse. Even though she was cursed with obedience, Ella never let it get her down for long. Not even her mother’s death–which she grieved and whom apart from Mandy, the cook, knew about her curse–kept her docile and helpless. To me, this was one of the most admirable qualities in Ella because most fairy tales depict helpless girls who are waiting for a prince to gallop in and save them.

Next is Ella’s unending kindness. Throughout the story, Ella was kind to everyone she met even when they were horrible to her. Sure, she would try and find loopholes in their commands, but her disobedience was never malicious or harmful. For a person to display such kindness in the face of cruel people is again admirable and further enhances Ella’s free will. Instead of finding malicious loopholes, Ella use the little free will she had to find loopholes that would not harm anyone and were little in the grand scheme of things.

However, the thing I liked about this book was how different it is from most fairytales. As I already said, Ella was unlike most girls because she took initiative and acted for herself. Secondly, and probably most important, I loved how the book didn’t hinder on the young maiden waiting/needing the true love of a prince. Even in the end, the book never once hindered on a prince’s true love.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ella Enchanted and found it completely unique from any other fairytale. The only thing I was left wanting was for a longer book.


Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Witness by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Let me start off by saying how happy I am to have picked up this book. Not only was it completely different from what I usually read, but it was just so refreshing and definitely what I needed. I really enjoyed a lot about this book–the characters, writing style, and shifts in point of view. If you have any suggestions, please, please, please let me know!

I really enjoyed how Roberts began creating every character slowly and kept adding to their personality, and to some extent, their appearance. Each character was unique and well-developed. The main character, Elizabeth, was especially well-written and I loved seeing her grow into her own person.

All of the events in the novel were deliberate and I enjoyed seeing how they tied up and connected with each other. Seeing how each event shaped the characters and led to their interactions with one another was wonderful as I felt I saw exactly how characters’ actions led to events that led to more action.

At the same time, I kind of wished that the book had moved a little faster in parts. It didn’t drag much, but I did feel that some of the descriptions were just too much.

On the other hand, I really liked how Roberts flawlessly incorporated shifting points of view into the novel. I feel that reading the book through multiple perspectives let me better see all of the characters’ development. Having those multiple points of view let me have a glimpse into different thought processes and see characters through each different narrator’s eyes.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Witness and would highly recommend it. Again, if you know of any novels like it, please let me know.