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Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted

by Gail Carson Levine
Publisher: HarperCollins
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Current Retail Price: $6.99

Ella is under a spell. She is cursed to instantly obey any order given to her. But Ella is strong-minded and will not let her curse keep her down. Not even when her mother dies, or when she befriends the young prince, Char. Not even when she is sent away to finishing school with two spiteful sisters. Not even when they become her stepsisters, and certainly not when she is kidnapped by ogres, or mistreated by her stepmother, or forced to be a slave in her own home. Ella may be cursed, but she is also determined to break that curse in order to live out her own happily ever after.

Gail Carson Levine's clever re-imagining of the Cinderella story is one of her best-loved novels, and with good reason. Ella is a charming, strong-willed, empathetic young woman who refuses to wallow in her misery or accept her fate. But she's not selfish or mean-spirited, though sometimes she is a rebel (and, honestly, if you were forced to obey even the slightest order, from anyone, wouldn't you be too?)

Despite the nature of Ella's curse, Ella Enchanted doesn't imply that obedience is a bad thing, or (like many a Disney movie) that people should be free to follow their heart. In fact, Ella's curse is finally broken at a point in which she must deny herself the thing she wants most. It's her refusal to just follow her heart that ends up saving not only her, but also her country, and the man she loves.

This is a welcome change from princess stories where girls are told that their own happiness is all that matters, or that their lives begin when all their problems are solved by the appearance of Prince Charming. Ella doesn't let her problems or disadvantages stop her from living her own life—and she's ultimately willing to put aside her own desires for the sake of the people she loves.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Fighting/violence
Summary: Ella is determined to break the curse she was given at birth: instant obedience.

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  Ella Enchanted
Noah W. of Hillsboro, OR, 8/19/2016
Gail Carson retells the story of Cinderella, filling her tale with magic, fairies, ogres, and elves. Ella is under a spell: she must obey any order given her, no matter what it is. She goes on a quest to break the spell; on her way, she makes several friends and enemies. After meeting a prince, he helps her to finally break the enchantment. I especially liked how Gail Carson made consistent languages for the elves, ogres, etc. and added dictionaries in the back.
  Breaking the Spell
Crystal, 6/21/2016
This is a story about a girl named Ella who has a spell cast on her when she was born to always be obedient. When she gets older, the spell makes it difficult for Ella to live her own life. Many people in the story use her obedience against her and are not very nice to Ella. She decides she needs to try to break the spell. On her journey, she meets ogres, elves, an unkind step-mother and step-sisters, fairies, and a prince. I like this book because it has a very exciting ending and it is a fun story to read. I especially recommend this book to people who like Cinderella or fairytale stories.
  Ella Enchanted
Elise of Beaverton, OR, 6/21/2016
I love this book because it is full of twists and turns that the main character Ella has to go through. This book is a classic twist on Cinderella and it has a very happy ending. Ella, the main character has a curse that she must obey everything as a command.
  Use Caution
Miss QuillPen of Oregon, 9/26/2011
While I liked this a lot at the time that I first read it, recent reading has dulled my enthusiasm. There's a strong feminist leaning, particularly manifested in the climax where our Cinderella becomes the savior both of her self and her prince.
So I wouldn't say stay away from it, but use caution.