By Sally Engelfried,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Complex, unique, and satisfying fairy-tale romance.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
By weaving together elements of several classic fairy tales, Enchanted may lead readers to connect similar themes that run through various tales, such as the power of love and the need for balance in the spectrum of good and evil. The book's emphasis on the importance of stories may also inspire some to think about their own respect for literature.
Sunday learns that family relationships and friendships are of the utmost importance, even if that means putting up with sisters who tease or a mother who constantly tells you what to do. Many of the book's characters try to break out of the confines of their class and what's expected of them to ultimately change their destinies.
Positive Role Models
Sunday is a dreamer who tends to view the members of her family in black-and-white terms, but as she learns that there's more to each person's story than she initially assumed, she becomes a wiser person capable of generosity and empathy. Rumbold, whose story is told in alternating chapters with Sunday's, uncovers his forgotten history in degrees and, with the help of some loyal friends, realizes that he doesn't have to be the person his elders have always told him he would be, which leads him to make several courageous decisions.
Violence & Scariness
Kontis refers in passing to some of the more brutally violent passages of many classic tales, such as the spiked-barrel torture of "The Goose Girl." More chilling, however, is the process by which Enchanted's king retains his youth, which involves stealing others' blood to prolong his own life. There are also some scary supernatural events, including fairies who use their powerful magic to hurt or kill others and ghosts that haunt the living.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some hints at debauchery occurring at a party, but nothing is described in detail. It's also implied that Rumbold was a cad with women before his enchantment took hold of him.
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One character says "damn you" in a playful manner.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Much wine is consumed by the guests at the extravagant balls that the prince throws, and one of Rumbold's friends gets drunk because he feels remorse for putting one of Sunday's sisters in danger.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although fairy godmothers play an important role in Enchanted, they're not the familiar and harmless sort found in Disney movies. There are dark elements to this story that may spook some sensitive readers, and some enchantments cause death. A king steals others' blood to prolong his life, fairies use their powerful magic to hurt or kill people, and ghosts haunt the living. In addition, the complex and layered plot has many characters and stories-within-stories that may be challenging for some to keep track of. However, those who stick with it will be rewarded with a satisfying story.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, which, according to tradition, means she has a powerful fate to contend with. But to Sunday, her life seems dull, especially when compared with that of her legendary older brother, Jack. And then she meets and befriends an enchanted talking frog. When their friendship blossoms into love and Sunday kisses him, they're disappointed when he isn't instantly transformed into a man. Neither realizes that their kiss hasn't only broken Prince Rumbold's enchantment, it has also unleashed a slew of other magical happenings. Sunday's fairy godmother, Joy, suddenly appears to teach her goddaughter how to use her previously untapped magical powers, while Rumbold's fairy godmother, Sorrow, has other, sinister plans for one of Sunday's sisters. In alternating narratives, Sunday and Rumbold's stories unfold to reveal tangled family histories they must unravel in order to change each of their fates forever.
Is It Any Good?
ENCHANTED is a multifaceted story densely packed with references to fairy tales both well known and obscure. Sunday's older sister Monday married a prince in the same manner as "The Princess and the Pea," while her older sister Tuesday died tragically in the manner of the girl in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes." There are magical beanstalks, fairy godmothers, and enchanted frogs.
In fact, author Alethea Kontis dashes off the many allusions so casually that it sometimes can feel as though we're not getting the whole story. But ultimately Kontis manages to tie all the various threads together, creating a rich fairy-tale world that's all the more enchanting for being grounded in the earthly reality of family squabbles and feuds.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the author mentions several iconic fairy tale elements, such as a tower where a princess lives. How many did you recognize from other fairy tales?
Sunday must be careful about what she writes in her journal because it has a tendency to come true in unexpected ways. If you had her power, what would you write?
Each of Sunday's sisters has a gift that relates to the nursery rhyme in the beginning of the book, "Monday's child is fair of face." Which of those gifts would you like best?
- Author: Alethea Kontis
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harcourt
- Publication date: May 8, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 308
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Fairy Tales for Kids
Romantic Fantasy Books for Teens
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