Thursday, December 23, 2010
by Orson Scott Card
People have been telling me to read this book for years. I finally listened. And I'm glad I did.
I read Ender's Game for the first time in 8th grade and really enjoyed it, but until Enchantment this past week it was the only one of Orson Scott Card's novels I had read. I wasn't quite sure what to expect; honestly, I had a hard time picturing a science fiction author writing fantasy, much less good fantasy. But Enchantment is good fantasy, and it happens to be one of my favorite kinds of fantasy--make believe that still has some links to reality, leading the reader to wonder if such a story would be a possible in our own world.
It's said that this novel is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and it is, but just barely. It keeps the very basic framework of the classic fairy tale, but there is a lot of embellishment and other references, as well as ties to the modern world (in this case, modern being the late Cold War and immediate years after the fall of the Soviet Union). I'm always a sucker for a good retelling of a fairy tale and really anything that employs mythology/folklore or historical references, so it's no surprise that I could hardly put Enchantment down.
Ironically enough, my academic background prepared me very well for this text. A few semesters ago, I took a class about Russian fairy tales, so many of the characters referenced in Enchanted were already familiar to me, showing that Orson Scott Card did his research well. Also, I spent the past semester taking a history class about Europe after 1945 where I did copious amounts of reading, researching, and writing about the Cold War and the former Soviet Union.
Beyond my academic ramblings, however, Enchantment is simply a good story that I enjoyed reading and that I am still thinking about. I feel like that is highest praise I can give to a novel.