Sacramento, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
Enchanted is a charming story that puts a modern spin on fairy tale conventions and makes many humorous nods to the staples of the genre which should be familiar to almost anyone with even a hint of a mainstream upbringing. That said, putting a modern spin on things doesn't mean a deconstruction; it remains a fairy tale through and through (with people turned into animals, castles at the center of magical kingdoms, fairy godmothers granting gifts with secret significance, a fair number of family curses, etc), though perhaps a little more mature than the sanitized versions of such tales in circulation of late.
This is not at all necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the story is lively, funny and sufficiently self-aware to make you smile at the characters' predicaments while still caring about how exactly it all turns out. Both aspects are helped tremendously by Katherine Kellgren's narration, a woman who I am now certain can do no wrong. The spectrum of voices is diverse enough to keep everyone readily identifiable and the accents and emotion she puts into her reading made the whole book a true joy to listen to.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who grew up with a fondness for fairy tales, and a taste for a little whacky humor. The book is a bit short, but well worth the price.
During the course of this novel, my attitude shifted from eager interest, to patient progress, to determined resolve, to anguished plodding, to absolute fixation. Ms. Willis has this way of making you feel so comfortable in the worlds she creates that you begin to grow attached to her characters, while putting up with things you know full well are bad decisions or wrong attitudes on their part. And then things happen, that make you terribly invested in the outcome. This was an easier process to endure in the Oxford Time Travel books because of the immediate and understandable hazards at play there, plague, the blitz, the end of time as we know it, etc. It seems to work well in her shorter novels too. Passage suffers, I think, from its generally "normal" setting and hefty length, taking a little too long to get where it needs to go, and in the process making the protagonists seemed by turns close-minded and scatterbrained. Of course, then that moment comes along and the stakes are suddenly different, or are revealed for what they truly are as the case may be, and you're back on board again.
Where the author continues to excel is creating a broad cast of characters that all have their own problems and deal with them in their own ways. I have always enjoyed Ms. Willis's portrayal of people facing adversity, and this book has some great examples of that, both in the discussions of historical disasters, and the everyday troubles of people who find themselves in the employ, or requiring the services, of a hospital. The hospital itself seems to be a character, as many plot points revolve around the inability of anyone to reach anything by taking a logical route. This is played for laughs regularly, and it's surprising how it can still be funny even near the end.
Ms. Pearlman's performance is good, with recognizable characterization and clear narration.
My overall score is based on my complete impression of the book, including my particular fondness for most of Ms. Willis's characters, however much I feel the story may be lacking. I also loved the ending.
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said countless times before? All I can add is another endorsement of this performance which is an excellent value. Sample all others of course, but rest assured that this version is a steal. One somewhat odd fact that might be of note is that this book is not broken up; it's one big file. As its chapters are properly indexed, this means for once that your player will actually indicate Chapter 61 when you reach Chapter 61; rather novel I thought....
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