Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is a great book for anyone who likes fantasy novels. Many of my international friends have read fantasy novels like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings in their native languages, but they found the original English versions very hard to read. If you would like to try something a little easier instead, try Ella Enchanted. It’s a very creative and enjoyable story that is loosely based on the “Cinderella” fairy tale.
The main character is a teenage girl, Ella, who was cursed by a crazy fairy. Ella has to be obedient to everyone–she has to do anything she is told to do. This isn’t just annoying–it’s dangerous! How can she survive the curse? Even more, how can she overcome the curse?
Ella is smart and good with languages. I liked her right away (although I’m jealous of her language skills!). She is not a Disney-type princess, but more like a real person. Her relationships with other characters in the novel are realistic, too. I don’t want to say much about the romance in the book, because I don’t want to ruin it for you. I’ll just say that the love story is both sweet and realistic. How unusual! Somehow, the story feels like real life, even though it includes fairies, ogres, curses, and other imaginary things.
Gail Carson Levine is a good writer, because she held my interest even though the book was written for older children (probably around 12 years old). The vocabulary level is not too high, so if you can read this blog, you can probably read the book. Words such as “centaur” and “ogre” might be new to you, but you’ll get the idea quickly. Don’t panic if you see nonsense words in the book: Ella sometimes speaks the languages of other creatures in the book. These words look strange, like “aaTHaiUghkl” and so on. You won’t have any problems realizing that these are not real English phrases.
In an upcoming post, I’ll write about different genres (categories) of fiction (novels and other made-up stories). Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. If you also like fairy tales or fantasy novels, I hope you will give this book a try. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think after you read the book.
(If you live in the USA, your library or local bookstore should have it. This book is also linked to in the Readable Blog Bookstore.)