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.