Ella Enchanted

Well whaddya know, another princess book! Ugh. I promise that my next post will not be about or have anything to do with princesses or princes. In fact, it couldn’t, considering which book I just finished. Anyways….

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is a spin off Cinderella. Believe me, I much prefer this version. The story is of Ella of Frell’s younger years as she deals with the curse that was set upon her when she was born. No matter how hard she tries, she has to obey every order anyone gives her, even if it is unintentional. Ella is determined to find Lucinda, the fairy who gave her her “gift,” and make Lucinda take it back after Ella’s father, who just became a widower, marries a truly horrible woman with two truly horrible daughters.

This was my first introduction to Levine, and, as I’m sure is obvious from my other posts, I really love her books! When I was rereading (this was my second time through) this, I noticed that Aza in Fairest is actually Ella’s best friend’s adopted sister! Don’t know why I didn’t notice that while I was ready Fairest (even more surprising, considering Ella was mentioned at the end as Arieda’s close friend)…. If any of my readers has seen the movie, but not read the book, I will tell you now, the movie is nothing like the book. Believe me, the movie was loosely based off the bare bones of the back cover of the book. That’s about it. I personally preferred the book over the movie, but I always do, even if the book wasn’t all that great in the first place. Take Eragon, for example, but don’t get me started on that because I probably won’t stop. The movie was good in it’s own ways (like I thought Anne Hathaway was a great Ella) and bad in others. But, as my brother says often, “Don’t judge a book by it’s movie.” That holds true for this. Now what can I say about this book that I haven’t said in previous posts? Nothing comes to mind.

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The Two Princesses of Bamarre

I think I’m on a princess streak or something…. Or a Gail Carson Levine streak…. Or both…. Anyways!

The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levine, is about two sisters who couldn’t be more unalike. Where Meryl is courageous and out going, Addie is cowardly and shy, but they couldn’t love each other more, even if they were alike. Meryl is determined to find the cure of a deadly disease called the Grey Death, but her worried and loving sister doesn’t want her to go, so she promises that only after Addie is happily married and taken care of will she go on her quest. But when Meryl is put in extreme danger, Addie has no choice but to go on a journey of her own to save her.

I think Levine is one of my favorite authors. All of her books are humorous and refreshing, especially if I just read something rather intense like one of the Shannara books. I related to Addie in some respects in this story, especially in her fear of spiders, and also to Meryl in others, like her love for adventure stories and mythology. But one of the things that really threw me off in this story was that there is a male character named Rhys. In another book that I have read, there was a female character named Rhis. That tripped me up to no end. But about half way through the book, I got a little used to it. Now if I read A Posse of Princesses (what is up with me and all the princess stories? I mean really!)again, I would get confused all over again, and have to get used to Rhis being a girl!

Fairest

Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, is a kind of spin off of Snow White, except the heroine, instead of being the fairest, is not at all pretty in a kingdom where beauty is almost prized as much as a beautiful singing voice. Fortunately, though, Aza does have an unusual talent with her voice, but she doesn’t really appreciate it because of her deep-set desires of becoming becoming. Aza lives with her adopted family at an inn, where she learns exactly how unusual her voice is. Then, by some twist of fate, she finds herself on her way to the castle at the country’s capital for the king’s wedding where her adventures finally begin.

Gail Carson Levine is an amazing author. I don’t know how she can get old fairy tales and turn them into something so spellbinding –ah ha– and original. I was first introduced to her by Ella Enchanted, her rendition of Cinderella, which I absolutely loved. All of her books have healthy doses of adventure, mystery, ogres,  gnomes, princesses and romance.  I really liked this book because it follows the same basic story line of Snow White, but it’s different enough that it isn’t completely predictable. And there is a certain bit of irony in this book, like Aza not being fair, and her dislike of apples, which I found humorous.