By: Orson Scott Card
I’ve been collecting fairy tale retellings recently and yeah for me for actually reading one! I was drawn to Enchantment (despite not being the biggest fan of Card) for one reason: the time element.
For Sleeping Beauty is out of time and Ivan (circa early 90’s) first goes back in time with her to her world and then she travels forward to ours. Getting a bit ahead of myself though.
Ivan is a scholar who as a child had a weird incident in the woods. Now a grown man returned to Russia to research he travels back to the area and finds he didn’t dream it up. There is a sleeping Princess. There is a chasm. And there is a curse.
Once he wakes her up part of actually breaking the curse is agreeing to marry said Princess (which talk about getting all your ducks in a row.) She was cursed by Baba Yaga whose looking to take over her land back in the 1200’s. Ivan is the fish out of water who must play Prince/Warrior. I did appreciate that didn’t go well for him and he’d much rather have been off studying manuscripts and trying to figure out how to preserve them to benefit his research.
The historical aspect of this is what intrigued me and worked best for me. There’s also a hefty bit of Gods, folklore, and religion worked into the story in this area.
Ivan is a bit of an ass in both time periods .
Things happen and we get the reverse Katerina in our world which she does take too much faster. Here we also touch on a more modern look at witchcraft.
Baba Yaga is the best character in the book period which may not be a surprise.
All in all Enchantment was a really interesting plot that suffers most on its characters- often not sounding realistic and other things bugged me as well (like the handling of Ivan’s poor fiancée- she’s not treated well at all) and it gets very out there toward the end of the story. It also feels a bit dated at times and not just when Ivan is back a thousand years.
Recommend: Yes– if you have an interest in any of the subjects mentioned or just love to read retellings period. Otherwise I’m more 50/50 on recommending.