I have always been a sucker for fairy tales – who doesn’t love happy endings or “happily ever afters”! Well, I guess you can’t blame someone who grew up reading these tales along with Enid Blyton’s “Enchanted” series and other books of the fantasy genre….As an adult, I found that Brothers Grimm had a different take on these fairy tales – well, they did not seem that “cute” anymore..Nevertheless I found them equally interesting and this curiosity was only fuelled further after reading books like “Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister” by Gregory Maguire and movies like “Ever After” starring Drew Barrymore, which were not sinister and laced with humor. Yesterday, I happened to comes across these books by Robin McKinley on Goodreads. And once again these novels seem to have taken a different route from the original and if I am right, “Ella Enchanted” was also made into a movie[though I have never watched it] This was enough for me to add them to my TBR list 🙂 Have any of you read these books? If so what did you think of them?
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.
A strange imprisonment…
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.
When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”
Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple, Beauty and the Beast.