Book Review: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

About the Book

Title: Ella Enchanted

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Source: Library

Publication Date: January 1st, 1997 by Scholastic Books

Pages: 232

Blurb:At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.

Gail Carson Levine’s examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.

My Review

The best book that one can read is one with a likeable main character. Fortunately, Ella is just that. Even though Ella has a horrible curse on her head because Lucinda is a foolish fairy, Ella doesn’t whine about it. Instead, she sucks her disappointment up and does what she can to make the best of her situation. She does this by finding any way she can to get around her or manipulate her commands in order to cause the commander’s plan to backfire. She also takes the initiative by going on a journey to find Lucinda and convince her to lift the curse. Another thing that I love about Ella is her courage. She doesn’t need a prince or anyone else to help her and she isn’t afraid of taking the plunge and doing things for herself. She is also clever. For example, when the ogres who capture her try to eat her, she uses their trick of smooth talking to convince them not to eat her. Such a wonderful character moved the story along and made for an interesting read.
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Just as Ella is likeable, Hattie, a girl that bullies Ella is extremely unlikeable. When Hattie figures out the curse that was bestowed upon Ella, she takes full advantage of it. Whenever she sees something that she wants but that belongs to Ella, she commands Ella to give it to her. As if that isn’t enough, she also commands Ella to do the dirty work for her. Furthermore, she never stops berating Ella and bragging to her. Throughout the whole story, I felt so bad for Ella and I loved it whenever Ella found a way to outsmart Hattie. The evil characteristic of Hattie ended up bringing me closer and more emotionally attached to Ella so that I could truly feel what Ella felt.

Another thing that I liked about the book was the unique story world that the author created. I loved reading about all the different mythical creatures and beings from ogres to elves to fairies. It was interesting to read about the unique characteristics that each species of characters had. For example, while the ogres had a way of hypnotizing their victims, the giants had a distinct jovial nature. The uniqueness that set apart all of the characters truly helped me to become immersed in the story world as I read.

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My only complaint for this book is that the ending was way too rushed. Ella’s problem was resolved way too quickly and all of the loose ends were immediately tied up. Worse yet, while the rest of the story progressed with vivid details showing what was happening, the ending was mostly phrases that just told what was happening. However, the rest of the book was very enjoyable, so it still deserves a rating of four out of five butterflies.

Four out of five butterflies.

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Have you read the book? How did you like it? Also, have you seen the movie? I haven’t, but I’d like to hear your opinions on it.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

      1. My friend let me borrow Ella Enchanted a year ago and I didn’t really want to give it back to her, lol. 😄
        Between the age of 6-12, I read the Little House books over and over and over! I was even in a Little House book club for like 4 years!

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          1. That sounds awesome! Yeah, at book club most of us were dressed up in bonnets and some wore dresses (including myself). We met monthly and over half the girls were homeschooled. What’s up with that? *shrugs*
            We made pumpkin pie from scratch, rag dolls like Charlotte, button lamps (we weren’t allowed to actually use those), tin can lanterns and other things from the book like that. It was like the highlight of every month. I thought I would never want it to end, but when it did last year, I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would. Guess it’s part of growing up. 🙂

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            1. That sounds so fun! I would love to make all of those things related to the book, and I probably wouldn’t want it to end either.Yep, a lot of interests change when you’re growing up, don’t they? Half of the club members were homeschooled? Hmm…maybe it was because homeschoolers just have more flexibility in their schedules and assignments. Are you homeschooled?

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