Title: Ogre Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Rating: 3/5 stars
When the fairy Lucinda turns Evora, a young healer, into an ogre after she rejects her apprentice’s proposal of marriage, she has 62 days to accept another proposal or forever be an ogre. Evie leaves her home to meet other ogres and learn their method of persuasion so that she can force somebody to propose to her. As days pass, she finds her way to the king’s castle, where she helps stop a plague and makes friends and enemies and gets thrust into the middle of political tension.
This book had several aspects I did enjoy. It was a very clever reverse Beauty and the Beast retelling, and fans of Ella Enchanted will be delighted to return to its world in this prequel. It addresses themes of good versus bad, and the writing is excellent, detailed and imaginative, and the characters were unique.
However, I didn’t really like this book for several reasons. The pacing seemed off. I didn’t feel an urgency as Evie’s deadline approached, and I felt like several portions of the book were overly wordy and used as filler, not contributing as much to the plot as they could.
The characters, while unique, were not as relatable and grabbing as other characters Levine has written. I think there were quite simply too many characters in the book. With a group of ogres, the fairy Lucinda, Evie’s family and friends, many people at the castle, several different traders, and other characters just filling up space, the author didn’t have space in her story to develop the characters and make us care about them.
There were groups of characters that weren’t even that vital to the story. I would have preferred if Gail Carson Levine had condensed her character list and focused on just a few characters, and made those characters sparkle with charm and personality.
Ogre Enchanted book covered 62 days during which Evie traveled from place to place extensively, and the scenes didn’t feel anchored in time and place. Several times I was confused as to where the story was and when, and with Evie bouncing from place to place, I didn’t get a feel most of the places.
Gail Carson Levine certainly has a wonderful imagination and writing talent, but this book was not her best. This book was still interesting, and not a complete waste of time, but I enjoyed Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and even The Two Princesses of Bamarre much more.
Have you read Ogre Enchanted or other of Gail Carson Levine’s books? What do you think about fairy tale retellings?