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Enchantment Paperback – May 31, 2005
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Although his fears turn out to be warranted, as he and his cursed princess contend with the diabolical witch Baba Yaga--easily Russia's best pre-Khrushchev villain--to save the princess's kingdom, Enchantment is ultimately a sweet story. Mixing magic and modernity, the acclaimed Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game) has woven threads of history, religion, and myth together into a convincing, time-hopping tale that is part love story, part adventure. Enchantment's heroes, "Prince" Ivan and Princess Katerina, must deal with cross-cultural mores, ancient gods, treacherous kinsmen (and fianceés), and ultimately Baba Yaga herself.
Card has a knack for coming across like your nerdy dad at times, when he runs on too long or makes some particularly wince-inducing observation or reference ("Daaad, Bruce Cockburn is not cool!"). But, as you might expect of a good dad, as uncool as he might be, Card still manages to tell a good bedtime story. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Coming right off the heels of Robin McKinley's "Spindle's End," I wasn't sure "Enchantment" would be different enough to hold my attention. I was, fortunately, wrong! The best part about this book, aside from complete characters, effortless narration, and a compelling plot -- no small asides! -- was the fact that it had much more to do with what happened AFTER Ivan kissed and awoke the princess. We learned about her village, ancient Slavic culture and religion, magic (both ancient and modern) and the inner workings of an enchanted princess.
Card handled 8 viewpoints with ease, though of course the dominant ones were Ivan, Princess Katerina, and the witch, Baba Yaga. As I am completely unfamiliar with Russian culture and folklore, I found OSC's version of Baba Yaga a completely hideous and believable villain; I was glad to get her viewpoint throughout the story. I also appreciated OSC's depiction of modern and ancient Russia, which to me are now familiar in my head. He conveys incredible amounts of information in few words, and the plot never lags; though this is a long book, it is a quick read.Read more ›
It's superb because it is told vigorously and plausibly. Assume for a few hours that gods and magic have been real, and that there can be magic bridges across time, and the actions of the characters make perfect sense. They are all intelligent problem-solvers - not only Ivan and his parents and Princess Katarina, but the witch-queen Baba Yaga and her captive Bear-god. At no point does Card feel the need to make a leading character into a dunce or a lunatic to shove the plot along.
Card also avoids many pitfalls which you might be afraid that he fell into, given the subject matter and the fact that he really succumbed to some of them in the "Alvin Maker" series. For example, he does not bog the story down in discussing contemporary post-Soviet politics, or in the fine points of culture and technology in tenth-century Ukraine, nor in determining who the real heroes and villains were in Eastern Europe then, nor does he clutter the volume with every Russian folk tale element ever recorded. Nor, although this book does elaborate on the "Sleeping Beauty" story, is it merely a self-conscious "retelling" of the kind that we fantasy readers have come to dread, often in connection with Arthurian legend. The present and the past are nicely balanced and interwoven, and the center of attention throughout is on the story rather than on its setting and provenance.Read more ›
The year is 1975, the place is Soviet Russia. Young Ivan "Vanya" Smetski finds out he is Jewish when his father decides to claim his Jewish heritage in order to emigrate to Israel and then, hopefully, to the United States. Politically, it is a time when America is putting pressure on the USSR to release more Soviet Jews, but the Soviets react the other way and clamp down on letting Russian Jews leave. The result is that Ivan's father loses his university position, the Smetskis lose their apartment, and the family ends up living with a cousin named Marek on a little farm near Kiev. At this point, little Vanya is 10 years old.
One day, while out in the woods by the farm, Vanya discovers a clearing with a strange round pit full of leaves. Something is moving in the pit -- a monster? The leaves rustle away and he thinks he sees a woman's face rising up among the leaves. He runs away in terror, but never forgets that place, although he thinks of it as some sort of nightmare or hallucination.
Years later, the Smetskis are living in America, and Vanya, now calling himself "Ivan" with the English pronunciation, is working on his Ph.D. thesis about ancient Russian fairy tales.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Card's characters are well developed and thoughtfull. This retelling of Sleeping Beauty set in ancient Slavic times with the old gods and Baba Yaga is masterfull yet the story is... Read morePublished 4 days ago by STEVEN L JEPPSON
But talky, like Card always is. Even at the height of a fight scene the characters are practically chatting. And the writing is less than usual Card. Read morePublished 1 month ago by The Ron
Many people may disagree with what words/situations are offensive to them, but as a Christian woman wanting to read uplifting books, I was dismayed to read several passages in this... Read morePublished 2 months ago by KLD2003
It felt more like Orson Scott Card was forcing a story than telling a story. I like a lot of his other books, but this one fell flat for me.Published 2 months ago by Alicia
ENCHANTMENT is a unique take on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty plus various other fairy tale tropes by Orson Scott Card. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chip Hunter
I always enjoy Card's writing, but this one is special. It ties together every theme worth writing or reading about, in a way that rings true despite all the mythical elements. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Boston/Buffalo Gal
This has been my favorite book for 15 years! My mother gave me her paperback copy during a visit. I devoured it and would re-read it whenever I a chance. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sara N.