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Enchanted, Inc. (Katie Chandler, Book 1) Paperback – May 31, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In her first mainstream novel, romance writer Swendson puts a Harry Potter–inspired twist on the standard tale of a smalltown girl in the big city, with lively if saccharine sweet results. Fish-out-of-water Katie Chandler suffers in her thankless job as assistant to marketing manager "Evil Mimi," worrying that maybe she just can't hack it in New York City. Will her colleagues ever consider her anything but a hick? For a girl from Texas, the Big Apple is stranger than a foreign country, but she discovers that the weird things she notices are signs of real magic afoot. Her "small-town honesty and common sense" soon land her a new job at Magic, Spells, and Illusion Inc., which traffics in benevolent sorcery. "You... are of the rare breed who can neither do magic nor be influenced by magic. You see the world as it is," an MSI executive explains. With her clear-sightedness—plus business acumen gained working for her family's feed-and-seed store—Katie will play a pivotal role in MSI's magical battle against a malevolent competitor. From sanitized descriptions of New York City life to hunky wizards and fairies on the subway, this book is pure and innocent fantasy, suitable for preteens or readers hungry for a cotton candy read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–Sex and the City meets Harry Potter in this fanciful story about Katie Chandler, 26, who has moved to New York to make her mark in business. Having long viewed herself as an everybody's little sister-type person, she is unprepared for the adventures that await her when MSI, Inc., approaches her with a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Thinking that they fall into the spam category, she ignores the overtures for several days. MSI's persistence wears her down, and, on meeting with the company's representatives, she learns that the initials stand for Magic, Spells, and Illusions, and that the magic community is alive and well in New York City. Katie discovers that her very ordinariness allows her to see this community at work in ways that most others cannot. Her acceptance of the job is the first step in a series of captivating and hilarious adventures. MSI's products may have been on the market for a millennium, but the company's knowledge of modern concepts is sorely lacking, and Swendson uses Katie's business acumen to educate not only the employees, but also her readers in an utterly engaging fashion. A former staffer who has gone over to the darker side of magic has begun marketing spells that will allow magical folks to manipulate the non-magical population, and the race is on to try to stop him. Although the plot stretches credulity in places, the novel cleverly combines fantasy and practicality. Students will appreciate the glimpse into corporate America's strange mix of seriousness and silliness.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Top customer reviews
I was skeptical, but I loved it! It reminded me of Witches Incorporated, but most of that's probably because the names are similar.
This kindle book has been on my wish list since back when it was $10. I didn't want to spend that much. Last Monday, Goodreads alerted me that the book was on sale. Did I still want to read it? Yes!
This book has a few flavors I don't steer towards. There's the chick-lit side. Katie and her roommates go on dates and go shopping for clothes and things together. She has a big crush on the guy she works with and a smaller one on the guy she's dating.
There's the new adult side. Katie is trying to please her bosses and survive on her own without having to limp home and work on the farm. She wants to make it in the big world (NYC) with a salary that lets her go out for coffee now and then. It's like coming-of-age, only ten years later. Katie is 26.
This is closely tied to the business side. Katie has a few terrible bosses and coworkers (sounds like middle school, except 15 years later) and a few nice ones. She helps her company out of several crises and struggles to put her limited experience to work. She helps with marketing, verifying, a little R&D, consulting, and with customer relations. She walks the balance between doing her job well but not acting like a snob or goody-two-shoes. She even finds a lawyer to straighten out some legal trouble regarding intellectual property.
There's the magic side. Katie can see through illusions, and spells don't work on her. She works with Merlin, fairies, sprites, elves, and a guy who turns green when he's angry. One of the security officers is a gargoyle. There are frogs who turn into men. There's a flying carpet.
There were several laugh-out-loud lines, and one was something like, "That's as useful as a screendoor on a submarine."
This book was lighthearted and fun. I really connected to Katie. She doesn't understand some popular things like George Cooney, designer handbags, or other women's obsession with shoes. She is self-conscious about her accent. Even without seeing through illusions, she knows how to give a reality check and down-to-earth ideas.
The one thing I didn't like was the brief nudity (one of the frogs-turned-men).
One thing I rolled my eyes at was how often Katie's new coworkers complimented her. Yes, some people might be nice, but they were constantly telling her how amazing she was for even the smallest things, even after she complained about a couple of her coworkers.
I wish Katie did more in the end. I wanted her to jump in front of a death spell and save everyone's life when it fizzled against her body, bad guy thwarted. Alas, that didn't happen. Maybe next book.
With people complimenting Katie left and right, how did Swendson keep her from turning into a "special little snowflake" (aka, Mary Sue)?
1st, Katie's lack of confidence. This alone wouldn't fix all of it, but because she really didn't understand the magical community yet, she always felt in over her head.
2nd, the unrequited love interest helped. Men didn't fawn over Katie (except under spells), and that makes her seem more normal.
3rd, Katie had such a hard time explaining her job. She tries to be vague with "I'm a secretary," but she gets so lost with how to really talk to other people about herself.
4th, Katie's "powers" were limited to observation. She could see through illusions, but she couldn't cast anything.
(The second book turned toward too much romance. Don't bother.)
The main characters were underdeveloped and plenty of secondary characters were given too much time on the page and then abandoned entirely.
There were too many name brand current pop-cultural references, dooming the story to a limited shelf-life.
And I must admit that I am wholeheartedly sick of first person narratives. I didn’t want to be in Katie’s head, because there just wasn’t a whole lot going on in there.
Katie's roommates were present from start to finish, but were as indistinguishable from one another on the last page as on the first.
Owen blushes a lot. Full stop.
Rod has bad hygiene. Full stop.
Mimi, the bad boss was horrible well into the fifth chapter, then poof! Gone. Kim, who seemed poised as Katie’s rival at MSI, (and whom I fully expected to end up in league with the bad guy) was nowhere to be seen after losing a coveted promotion to Katie. The bad guy himself turned out to be as intimidating as a summer cold.
There was a lot more tell than show here as well, with certain situations/motivations repeated unnecessarily. At one point, I actually said out loud, "I know! You told me that three pages ago!"
There is much talk about the brewing situation being so bad that, after hundreds of years, Merlin is awakened to help deal with it.
The situation is bad, BAD. Ya hear me, BAAAAD. And yet, we think we can sort it with a sternly worded letter. Wait, what?
Then later, we're told these wizard-gone-rogue situations actually crop up about once every generation or so.
There are never any moments of real anxiety, or concern. Situations and characters are presented as potential problems, then are easily resolved and forgotten. The climax was anti-climactic. Heavens forfend the reader be allowed to have an emotion while reading.
As for the supposed romance subplot, snore. I'm all for the subtlety of a slow boil, but in this case we never get past tepid. We're told that Katie "doesn't need a man", yet a lot of words are devoted to getting her one. Moreover, she's got a thing for Owen, but spends all her time being almost willfully stupid about whether or not he's interested. What a pity she never thought to, you know, be a grown-up and ASK HIM.
The author even does an annoying wink-wink-nudge-nudge at the reader about how, at a certain point in a book, the hero was supposed to confess his true feelings.
In the end, it's as if she's just decided to settle for Ethan because he, "wasn't bad at all."
I wanted to like this book, but ultimately, nothing really happened and I didn’t really care. Honestly, it all felt like just so much back story to a different, one hopes more interesting story.
I really liked the beginning. Katie’s dealings with her terrible boss were hilarious and made me laugh out loud, so 5 stars for the beginning. Then the magic kicks in and humor goes down a notch. The problems of the genuine magicians living in New York and Katie’s attempts to balance the magic and normal aspects of her life were amusing enough to keep me reading.
Most of the book has very little to do with the real life and that sometimes can be a very good thing.
I recommend this book to those who are in the need of easy read and like books about magic, especially to the young readers