Saturday, July 4, 2009

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

by Orson Scott Card

Genre:  Fantasy
Published:  1999
Paperback:  400 pages
Rating:  5

Inspiration:  I liked Ender's Game, so thought I'd try another Card book.

Description from the author's site:
As one of the most consistently exciting writers to emerge in the last twenty-five years, Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create. Now, in Enchantment, Card works his magic as never before, transforming the timeless story of Sleeping Beauty into an original fantasy brimming with romance and adventure.

The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay as still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek's farm.

Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest — or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy's fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.

This time he does not run.

This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss . . . and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.

A rich tapestry of clashing worlds and cultures, Enchantment is a powerfully original novel of a love and destiny that transcend centuries . . . and the dark force that stalks them across the ages.

My thoughts:
This quote from the book sums it up from page 71:
"Western stories ended with getting married and living happily ever after. And Russian fairy tales went far beyond that--to betrayal, adultery, murder, all within that romantic marriage that the wanderer stumbled into. The old tale of Sleeping Beauty might end happily in French or English, but he was in Russia, and only a fool would want to live through the Russian version of any fairy tale."

I grew up with the Disney-fied version of Sleeping Beauty. This book surprised me. Being a Russian fairy tale with its drama mentioned in the quote above, I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Sleeping Beauty that takes place in both the present and past. 

What happens after Sleeping Beauty is awake from the kiss?  Well, you'll surely find out in this book. And you'll learn about the infamous Baba Yaga. I had never heard of the witch Baba Yaga except for last year when I came across the Fables graphic novel series (It rocks! fairy tale lovers will get a kick out of it.) Baba Yaga's modern day airport experience was quite amusing to read.

Fun fact:
Enchantment was chosen by the American Library Association Young Adult Library Services Association for its "2005 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults List" in the "Gateway to Faerie" category.

For those of you who read Beth Fantasky's Jessica's Guide to Dating On the Dark Side, part of the action takes place at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu