Thursday, May 3, 2012

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Pages: 305 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC provided by Amazon Vine
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Book Depository

It isn't easy being Sunday's child, not when you're the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night, Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?


Rare are the books I find so painful that reviewing them becomes a chore; writing a review means thinking about them when I would rather leave them forgotten. Despite hopes that it would not turn out as such, Enchanted is one of those books.

As I do every time I read a fairy tale retelling, I hoped Enchanted would dump the insta-love element most retellings choose to keep and develop Sunday and Rumbold's relationship properly. I cannot get that lucky, apparently. One day after meeting, Sunday is sure she is in love; after three days, she kisses him and her true love turns him back into a human being. Their interactions are unconvincing whether Rumbold is a human or a frog. Sunday's sisters, like dreaming poet Wednesday and strongwoman Saturday, are more interesting than Sunday herself or her romance.

I'm an intelligent reader. I might say a novel confuses me, but no matter how convoluted the explanation or reasoning might be, I get it at some point. Enchanted's explanations for everything, from the makeup of Sunday's family to how Rumbold came to be a frog to almost everything beyond, are lacking and hours of puzzling have not brought me any closer to figuring out what the book was trying to say. Unclear, stiff, and sometimes clumsy writing put me off reading the novel every time I tried to get back to it.

Now pick a fairy tale. Any fairy tale at all. Chances are that whatever fairy tale you picked made an appearance in this novel. Without going back and looking for more examples, I can say I saw The Princess and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel (really just her tower), and even the "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" nursery rhyme (if you think about it). Some people are going to immensely enjoy how many fairy tales make an appearance no matter how brief or insubstantial those appearances are, but I thought the haphazard use of every major fairy tale was too much.

My color-coded master list of 2012 releases I want to purchase has over one-hundred books on it and Enchanted was on it with the color indicating vague anticipation. Well, it's not anymore. I'll save myself the ten to twenty dollars I would have spent on the novel for a book that is worth my time.

0 stars!

What am I reading next?: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton