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Enchantment A Classic Fantasy with a Modern Twist

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Enchantment is the story of a Ukraine-born, American grad student who finds himself transported to the ninth century to play the prince in a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty. Early in the story, he muses that in a French or English retelling of the tale, the prince and princess would live happily ever after. But, "only a fool would want to live through the Russian versio Enchantment is the story of a Ukraine-born, American grad student who finds himself transported to the ninth century to play the prince in a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty. Early in the story, he muses that in a French or English retelling of the tale, the prince and princess would live happily ever after. But, "only a fool would want to live through the Russian version of any fairy tale." 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.


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Enchantment is the story of a Ukraine-born, American grad student who finds himself transported to the ninth century to play the prince in a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty. Early in the story, he muses that in a French or English retelling of the tale, the prince and princess would live happily ever after. But, "only a fool would want to live through the Russian versio Enchantment is the story of a Ukraine-born, American grad student who finds himself transported to the ninth century to play the prince in a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty. Early in the story, he muses that in a French or English retelling of the tale, the prince and princess would live happily ever after. But, "only a fool would want to live through the Russian version of any fairy tale." 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.

30 review for Enchantment A Classic Fantasy with a Modern Twist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Warning, I'm being totally honest. You may not agree. This book is awful! If it were a movie, I should have walked out hours ago. Instead, I just wanted to know what happens. And when I actually got to the end of the book about 3 minutes ago, it wasn't even a very good ending!! It took 350 pages to build up to an anti-climactic ending. Why is it awful? The author uses every opportunity to throw in a foul word or sexual comment. It's like he's a 14-year-old boy who thinks it's fun to talk about be Warning, I'm being totally honest. You may not agree. This book is awful! If it were a movie, I should have walked out hours ago. Instead, I just wanted to know what happens. And when I actually got to the end of the book about 3 minutes ago, it wasn't even a very good ending!! It took 350 pages to build up to an anti-climactic ending. Why is it awful? The author uses every opportunity to throw in a foul word or sexual comment. It's like he's a 14-year-old boy who thinks it's fun to talk about being naked or private parts, etc. I got so tired of reading cuss words and the nakedness was such a ridiculous element of the story - so forced! Also, it had, in my estimation, sexually explicit scenes that I don't need to be reading. I won't be reading anything by Orson Scott Card again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I almost really loved this book. However, for me it suffers from the same problem that other Orson Scott Card books do...the characters (not the Ender's series but his other books). The plot of this book is truly brilliant. It is very creative and fun and imaginative. It is a great story but the characters...oh, help us. They just aren't all that great. I mean they say the things they should say and do the things they should do but I think the author is lacking in his ability to tap into the sub I almost really loved this book. However, for me it suffers from the same problem that other Orson Scott Card books do...the characters (not the Ender's series but his other books). The plot of this book is truly brilliant. It is very creative and fun and imaginative. It is a great story but the characters...oh, help us. They just aren't all that great. I mean they say the things they should say and do the things they should do but I think the author is lacking in his ability to tap into the subtle and amazing things that make us human. He is especially bad with the characterization of women. This book is no different. I just never really liked Ivan or Katerina and had a hard time believing they could be in love or even real people for that matter because they lack depth. Also, this book had a few less dignified moments. They are just dumb. It's like those Disney movies that add in burps or the letting of gas to appeal to the nine year old boys. Really, I don't even think grown-up men find that stuff funny unless they are talking about when they were young and did it to someone else.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    Days before young Ivan's family moved out of Russia, he stumbled upon something terrifying and magical during a walk in the forest. Frightened, he ran. Years later, while visiting his childhood home, he finds himself drawn to the same clearing, only this time, he stumbles unwillingly into the midst of an unfolding drama for events that happened--are happening--hundreds of years earlier. Readers of fairy tales and Russian mythology will appreciate how Card carefully yet effortlessly works familiar Days before young Ivan's family moved out of Russia, he stumbled upon something terrifying and magical during a walk in the forest. Frightened, he ran. Years later, while visiting his childhood home, he finds himself drawn to the same clearing, only this time, he stumbles unwillingly into the midst of an unfolding drama for events that happened--are happening--hundreds of years earlier. Readers of fairy tales and Russian mythology will appreciate how Card carefully yet effortlessly works familiar names and creatures into the story, tying the medieval world to the present day, and imbuing both with magic. However, the tropes common to the fairy tales we're familiar with don't exactly apply here. The fair princess awakens, not to love at first sight of her hero, but to disappointment and disdain. The hero does not charge into danger out of a sense of duty, but rather falls into another world, flailing to recover his sense of self and find his way home. Flawed and interesting characters, echoes of familiar stories, and a strong sense of the fantastical make this a book worth picking up.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alysia

    This is one book that my husband and I both enjoy and love to read together over and over. One of our favorites. It is a modern day Sleeping Beauty story, but it doesn't end when he wakes her up. Instead, the couple goes through the struggles of getting to know and understand eachother, including trying understand eachother's cultures, which are hundreds of years apart. They must learn how to love eachother and support eachother in trials and danger (which includes being chased through time and This is one book that my husband and I both enjoy and love to read together over and over. One of our favorites. It is a modern day Sleeping Beauty story, but it doesn't end when he wakes her up. Instead, the couple goes through the struggles of getting to know and understand eachother, including trying understand eachother's cultures, which are hundreds of years apart. They must learn how to love eachother and support eachother in trials and danger (which includes being chased through time and space by the witch that put the spell on her), finding their place in their new families, and learning how to make marriage work. Please note: I would not give this book to teens or kids, because of a brief scene and references to married sexuality, but those were not offensive to us as a married couple as they are tastefully done and important to the story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lindsy

    On the surface this book sounds great. Fairytales, fantasy, basis in actual folklore type stuff; it's even decently written. However I found the characters so unlikable that the story was ruined for me. The main character abandons a fiancee that he was very happy with...*until* he met the princess. How..quaint and realistic. I hope you can detect the sarcasm. The mother is bordering on cruel to the previous fiancee. I do think the personalities and relationship, for the most part, were interprete On the surface this book sounds great. Fairytales, fantasy, basis in actual folklore type stuff; it's even decently written. However I found the characters so unlikable that the story was ruined for me. The main character abandons a fiancee that he was very happy with...*until* he met the princess. How..quaint and realistic. I hope you can detect the sarcasm. The mother is bordering on cruel to the previous fiancee. I do think the personalities and relationship, for the most part, were interpreted well and resembled realism. I just didn't care. The early events in the book made it nearly impossible for me to appreciate any of the remaining story, because the characters were so reprehensible to me, I didn't really care what happened to them. As most other reviewers have said it is a wonderful fantasy/fairytale romance and I would not have even minded the less appealing qualities of the characters if they had been used to show dynamics and growth. Instead I was asked to accept those faults as traits to be admired. In the end, despite the sweet, though simple narrative and the broad range of topics explored, the story just fell flat.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    As we outgrow our childhood, we say goodbye to many fun traditions. No longer do we believe in the Easter Bunny or hope that the Tooth Fairy will bring us gifts in the night (although some financial assistance for crowns and wisdom teeth extractions would be nice). With adulthood, we stop reading books that begin with “Once upon a time… ”. But, some days, when work is, well work, and newspapers are filled with stories about the bad economy, a fairy tale seems like the perfect escape from the rea As we outgrow our childhood, we say goodbye to many fun traditions. No longer do we believe in the Easter Bunny or hope that the Tooth Fairy will bring us gifts in the night (although some financial assistance for crowns and wisdom teeth extractions would be nice). With adulthood, we stop reading books that begin with “Once upon a time… ”. But, some days, when work is, well work, and newspapers are filled with stories about the bad economy, a fairy tale seems like the perfect escape from the real world. And better than anything that Calgon has to offer, listening to the audio version of Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment, can really take your mind away. Running through the forest in Russia, 10-year old Ivan finds a beautiful sleeping woman who is magically frozen in time. Not fully believing what he sees, but still sensing danger, Ivan flees the clearing. Soon after, his family moves to the United States. Over a decade later, Ivan, now fully Westernized, returns to Russia to complete his research of Russian folklore for his graduate thesis. Although he has never mentioned it to anyone, the scene in the forest has haunted him and he returns to banish this hopefully imaginary event from his mind. Instead, he discovers the beautiful Princess Katerina, who has been asleep under a spell for hundreds of years. Ivan breaks the spell and awakens the princess with a kiss. Now all of us recognize this as the end of that classic, Sleeping Beauty, but where Disney’s story ends, Enchantment is just beginning to take off. This magical fairy tale transports Ivan to 9th century Russia where Ivan must save Katerina and her kingdom from the evil Russian witch, Baba Yaga. In Enchantment, Orson Scott Card has created an unusual meld of fairy tale and Russian mythology with modern day action and suspense. Part of the humor and fun in the story is the combination of medieval culture with present day society. Ivan’s advanced education, intelligence and lean physique might be a magnet for women in the 20th century, but do not impress Princess Katerina, who expects men to be brawny and able to wield a broad sword, not a quill and parchment. Unlike the traditional fairy tale, the princess does not wake from her thousand year slumber in love with the man who has broken the spell. Her disdain for Ivan and the tension and sparring between the two heroes of this story add romance and humor to this charming fairy tale. Throw in some exciting and clever plot twists and you have a performance that appeals to both romance lovers and adventure addicts – the perfect audio book for a long car trip with someone special. .Although the book originally published in print in 1999, the audio version was recently released in 2010 by Blackstone. The combination of magical fantasy and fast paced suspense make this a superb story to enjoy in audio. Orson Scott Card shifts the point of view several times during the book, giving the reader the opportunity to hear the story from eight different people including Ivan, the princess, and even the wicked Baba Yaga. This Blackstone production features two award winning narrators, Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, who make the transition between the various points of view seamless. Both narrators give stellar performances, switching often between American, Russian and Yiddish accents. The audio book is lengthy – over 17 hours – but Rudnicki’s soothing bass voice and de Cuir’s incredible performance as both the young heroine Katerina and the old crone Baba Yaga will have you savoring every moment. So, if life gets too hectic and you need to escape in a fairy tale, or if you are just in the mood for a well told story filled with magic, romance, and adventure, pamper yourself with this beautiful story – you’ll be enchanted!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book was unbelievably clever, A professional runner studying dead languages - happens to take an internship... being about the only person in the entire world who could survive what happens to him. The thought of reading ancient stories and having them be about your mom, or dad, or something that's happening to you right now... The politics and religion of the ancient world were genius - and critical to suck a reader in to believe the situation is plausible. The thought of ancient Gods coming This book was unbelievably clever, A professional runner studying dead languages - happens to take an internship... being about the only person in the entire world who could survive what happens to him. The thought of reading ancient stories and having them be about your mom, or dad, or something that's happening to you right now... The politics and religion of the ancient world were genius - and critical to suck a reader in to believe the situation is plausible. The thought of ancient Gods coming to our time and manipulating our technology to track down people - was priceless. Even the lesser characters had realistic troubles and agendas... Well woven.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This one's hard for me because every single time I look at the title, I hear this in my mind and it gets tiresome after awhile. Gabe knows what I'm talking about. Kat probably does, too, come to think of it. March 12: I've made it to the halfway mark. There's a chance this gets better, there's a chance that all the characters stop being little puppet people cut outs, there's a chance everything stops sounding so confused - is it light-hearted silliness? Is it fairy tale fantasy? Is it intellectual h This one's hard for me because every single time I look at the title, I hear this in my mind and it gets tiresome after awhile. Gabe knows what I'm talking about. Kat probably does, too, come to think of it. March 12: I've made it to the halfway mark. There's a chance this gets better, there's a chance that all the characters stop being little puppet people cut outs, there's a chance everything stops sounding so confused - is it light-hearted silliness? Is it fairy tale fantasy? Is it intellectual historical fiction? Is it a brilliant look into storytelling and how revisionist history can be traced back to early Christianity, the move to written words over an oral knowledge-base, and how regardless of another culture's take on a tale, the essence of the tale remains the same as does its purpose? Can it be all at the same time? (Answer: no, not successfully, not in this case) So, yeah, there's a chance this completely turns around but at this point, I hate this book so much that I do not want to take that chance. My one star reflects the fact that this book is so loathesome to me that I cannot even slog through the next half to see where it goes (I have a good inkling, though, and it's been fairly predictable, though ridiculous, thus far, so I suspect my inkling is close enough to what I'd find if I continued to seethe while listening to this) My biggest (of many) peeve: Ivan's arrogance. It's overwhelming and oppressive. I mean, come on, he's a supposed scholar (of sorts) all entrenched in olden tymes Russia and when he gets a chance to go see what he's studied, first hand, he ARGUES with the people living in that culture about their culture! Holy hell on a stick, who does that? Why does this guy make assumptions about how this place works when he can clearly see he was wrong about how he thought this place worked? Why does he argue and present his superior contemporary logic to anyone and everyone? I cannot get over his belief that his university education gave him more insight about the time period than being in the actual time period. PS: thank goodness he chose to study proto-Cyrillic languages in college! (view spoiler)[You know what really irked me? When he decided the kingdomtown of Tyna was to be subsumed by a larger power because he had never heard of it! Because there's no way information from 1,000 years ago could simply not make it through to the modern day. And everything that is to be known about history is already known and there are no new discoveries. Ever. So of course this towndom was completely taken over in a small, non-mentionable fashion. Had it not, had it been able to remain a Christian town among the rest of the heathens, had it done anything of note, Ivan would have read about it in a history textbook. But don't worry, he can change all that! And again, maybe this all changes in the second half, maybe Ivan realizes he's an asshole who doesn't know what he doesn't know, but I'm not willing to go there and find out because I worry I'll stab my own ears out if I have to listen to this a minute more. (hide spoiler)] Katerina. Never mind her. She's dumb. She can only have power if she's married, despite what her father tries to make her think. And she makes no sense, ever, with her arguing about one thing then about the opposite and then about what Ivan thinks of her. What? Yes. Moving on. Esther. Yay, Esther. I loved her in the beginning. I don't love her anymore. Baba Yaga. I'll take the revisionist history fairy tales of this witch over the cartoonish version of her in this story. Everything else. Just...no. I'm done.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    So generally I don't read science fiction. But, I had two friends highly recommend this book. "My favorite book," one of them said. So I read it. Not easily at first because I don't read a lot of fiction these days. But, you know what....it was a delightful book. I really did enjoy it. A little romance. And not the normal science fiction that I was expecting. Good stuff all around.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... 2.5/5 Stars Ivan is a Russian scholar who moves to America with his family when he is a young boy. He decides to visit Russia in order to work on his thesis. When he returns, he stumbles across a magical valley where a beautiful girl lays asleep on a raised platform guarded by a bear. After freeing the princess with a kiss Ivan finds himself transported back hundreds of years where the Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... 2.5/5 Stars Ivan is a Russian scholar who moves to America with his family when he is a young boy. He decides to visit Russia in order to work on his thesis. When he returns, he stumbles across a magical valley where a beautiful girl lays asleep on a raised platform guarded by a bear. After freeing the princess with a kiss Ivan finds himself transported back hundreds of years where the evil witch, Babba Yaga, tries everything in her power to stop their happily ever after. Honestly, this book was so boring for the first 300 pages. The only thing I liked was Babba Yaga and Bear. I found all the other characters to be dull and boring and I didn't really care for any of them. There was a lot of religious talk and since I am not religious, it got boring to me very quickly. Overall, definitely not for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    3.5 stars. Another quality effort by Orson Scott Card. Right between "I like it" and "I really like it" (hence the 3.5 stars), this is a smart, well written re-telling of Sleeping Beauty with a Russian twist. Would have been a 4 star effort from most other writers, but having read some of OSC's superior work (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead andHart's Hope), I hold him to a higher standard. Definitely worth reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A neat take on a Russian Sleeping Beauty story that goes beyond 'happily ever after' & the kiss. There are gods, but they're not all-powerful. There's a wonderful wicked witch & a lot of good people along the way. A really interesting sojourn in 900AD life, too. It sagged a bit half way to 3/4 of the way through. Too much internal dialogue that was repetitive. It's worth getting through as the end is quite good. Very well narrated, my preferred way to read OSC's novels now. He writes the A neat take on a Russian Sleeping Beauty story that goes beyond 'happily ever after' & the kiss. There are gods, but they're not all-powerful. There's a wonderful wicked witch & a lot of good people along the way. A really interesting sojourn in 900AD life, too. It sagged a bit half way to 3/4 of the way through. Too much internal dialogue that was repetitive. It's worth getting through as the end is quite good. Very well narrated, my preferred way to read OSC's novels now. He writes them to be read aloud. Rudnicki & de Cuir (Skyboat Media) take turns. Both are fantastic & really made the story pop.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Kotar

    It's ok. a bit uneven in tone, and I didn't particularly like the forays of the fairy tale princess into the modern world. The stuff in old Rus was far more interesting. This could just be a personal thing, but I don't really like deconstructions of legends. This veers a bit close to that by offering some "cute" explanations for the some of the staples of Russian fairy tales like the hut on chicken feet and Ivan the Idiot. I prefer to have a sense of mystery around my legends. Still, it was enjo It's ok. a bit uneven in tone, and I didn't particularly like the forays of the fairy tale princess into the modern world. The stuff in old Rus was far more interesting. This could just be a personal thing, but I don't really like deconstructions of legends. This veers a bit close to that by offering some "cute" explanations for the some of the staples of Russian fairy tales like the hut on chicken feet and Ivan the Idiot. I prefer to have a sense of mystery around my legends. Still, it was enjoyable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    I started this retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” immediately after finishing City of Thieves , and I was fully expecting to be transported to a radically different world. Imagine my surprise when this book picked up more or less where the last had left off – in the Soviet Union (albeit the 1970’s, not post-war). I got to the enchanted forest eventually, but it took a couple of chapters. The book is a fusion of the fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty and Baba Yaga, the baby-eating witch of Russian folklo I started this retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” immediately after finishing City of Thieves , and I was fully expecting to be transported to a radically different world. Imagine my surprise when this book picked up more or less where the last had left off – in the Soviet Union (albeit the 1970’s, not post-war). I got to the enchanted forest eventually, but it took a couple of chapters. The book is a fusion of the fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty and Baba Yaga, the baby-eating witch of Russian folklore. Our handsome prince is Ivan, a Jewish boy born in the Soviet Union who defects to America with his family at age ten and returns to the Ukraine as a grad student after the fall of communism. The sleeping beauty he awakens from her millennium-long dream is Princess Katerina, but before they can live happily ever after, they have to go back to the 9th century and defeat Baba Yaga. The book is action-packed, romantic, and thoroughly addictive, but from the point of view of a religious Jew, it’s absolutely worth skipping. The main problem with the book – surprise, surprise – are it’s inaccuracies in its portrayal of Jews. Princess Katerina lives in the period when Christianity was first gaining a foothold in Europe, and I have no trouble believing that she and her subjects pray and confess like Christians yet still dabble in witchcraft and occasionally invoke the names of pagan gods. Old habits die hard. But Jews were never pagans. Tanach is full of warnings to the Jews to stop their idol worship, but that was in the ancient period. When Prince Casmir invited the Jews to Poland, he allowed them religious freedom, and thus grew the very insular communities of Eastern European Jewry. The pagan beliefs of their neighbors were no temptation for Jews, so all plot twists with Ivan and his family simply did not ring true. Orson Scott Card, himself a Mormon, probably doesn’t know the difference, but any religious Jew would, and most would find the Jewish characters offensive. I think I’m going to create a new shelf called “Regrettable Reads.” The addictively good writing of this book deserves at least a 4, but for the portrayal of the Jews, it loses one, and even that may be too little. Frum friends who love fantasy, don’t read this. You won’t be missing anything you can’t get elsewhere, sans the anti-Semitism.

  15. 4 out of 5

    rivka

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (2.5 stars) I first read this shortly after it was published. Unlike most other OSC books, I had not reread it . . . until now. The problem is, that even though it is a marvelously written book, and I usually enjoy retellings/retoolings of old fairy tales, I find Enchantment very disturbing. I know perfectly well why Ivan is Jewish: in 1970s Russia, it was certainly the easiest way to end up a refusenik! And what other non-Christian would make any sense in pre-1000 Russia? I get all of that. It mak (2.5 stars) I first read this shortly after it was published. Unlike most other OSC books, I had not reread it . . . until now. The problem is, that even though it is a marvelously written book, and I usually enjoy retellings/retoolings of old fairy tales, I find Enchantment very disturbing. I know perfectly well why Ivan is Jewish: in 1970s Russia, it was certainly the easiest way to end up a refusenik! And what other non-Christian would make any sense in pre-1000 Russia? I get all of that. It makes perfect sense in the book's context. But it means that I am meant to root for Ivan's marriage to Katerina, and against poor Ruthie. To root for a marriage that makes all his children non-Jews, completely lost to the Jewish people. (Not to mention be ok with his conversion to Christianity.) Somehow, I can't imagine OSC ever making a character Mormon as a plot point. So on the one hand, I would give this book 4 stars; and on the other point, I would give it 1. My actual rating is a compromise.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jess Penhallow

    Books like this are why I love fantasy. Card makes the wise choice of splitting the action equally between the past/fantasy world and the present/real world so that the book never loses momentum. The characters are fun and interesting and everything is constantly moving at lightning speed. I also enjoyed the audiobook and the fact that it was full cast which really added to the multiple perspectives presented including many female perspectives which is always refreshing to see particularly in ol Books like this are why I love fantasy. Card makes the wise choice of splitting the action equally between the past/fantasy world and the present/real world so that the book never loses momentum. The characters are fun and interesting and everything is constantly moving at lightning speed. I also enjoyed the audiobook and the fact that it was full cast which really added to the multiple perspectives presented including many female perspectives which is always refreshing to see particularly in older fantasy. The only thing that brings this book down was the author's weird fixation on cross-dressing which I found anachronistic (I find it hard to believe that medieval peasants would be scandalised by a man wearing women's clothing. Surely they would just wear what is available) and distracting. I try to put aside the author's personal views from their work but knowing that Card has a history of homophobia put a nasty spin on this plot point and definitely soured what would have otherwise been a favourite read of the year. However, this is a small nigggle which is compensated by the rest of the story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luke Zwanziger

    As a fan of Orson Scott Card, I absolutely hated this book. A mediocre retelling of fairy and folk tales (mostly from Russia) this book was cliche, drawn out, and often boring. Where intrigue and drama was trying to be built by the use of modern magic, it felt trite and forced. A mix of A Connecticut Yankee in King Authors Court with Sleeping Beauty. Complete with crashing a jetplane in the past (explaining Baba Yaga folk tale with her flying chicken legged house.) While the retelling of folk tal As a fan of Orson Scott Card, I absolutely hated this book. A mediocre retelling of fairy and folk tales (mostly from Russia) this book was cliche, drawn out, and often boring. Where intrigue and drama was trying to be built by the use of modern magic, it felt trite and forced. A mix of A Connecticut Yankee in King Authors Court with Sleeping Beauty. Complete with crashing a jetplane in the past (explaining Baba Yaga folk tale with her flying chicken legged house.) While the retelling of folk tales in this book are interesting and arguably well woven, the overall book just didn't work. An absolute do not read. Find another Scott Card book or something worth while, because this one isn't.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tandie

    I just realized that I've never written a review for this wonderful thing! I'll just copy what I wrote in a rec to a friend for now. I'll write a more detailed review after a reread. DO IT! Favorite Russian fairy tale of my heart. There is Baba Yaga. A talking scary bear. A sleeping beauty. Time travel that doesn't suck. I've never loved anything else OSC has written, this is a major departure. Loved both the book & the audio. NOTE ABOUT AUTHOR-MY PERSONAL BELIEFS I'd also like to add that I re I just realized that I've never written a review for this wonderful thing! I'll just copy what I wrote in a rec to a friend for now. I'll write a more detailed review after a reread. DO IT! Favorite Russian fairy tale of my heart. There is Baba Yaga. A talking scary bear. A sleeping beauty. Time travel that doesn't suck. I've never loved anything else OSC has written, this is a major departure. Loved both the book & the audio. NOTE ABOUT AUTHOR-MY PERSONAL BELIEFS I'd also like to add that I realize OSC has made some homophobic public statements and certainly doesn't come across as very tolerant. #1 - while the author is LDS (Mormon), his harsh words do not reflect what our church leaders teach us about kindness and love towards others. Pointed council has been given to members about treatment of LGBT, so OSC is not an example to look to for acceptable Mormon behavior. #2 - read this book, despite the fact that OSC said mean things. Borrow it from the library if you don't feel good about supporting the author, but reading it doesn't = agreeing with him. It makes no sense to deprive yourself of the supreme pleasure of this story just because a cranky guy created it - if OSC offered me a twenty dollar bill, I'd like take it in a heartbeat. Doesn't mean he purchased my allegiance or that I owe him anything.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Flannery

    This was a great retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I love anything that has to do with Russia so that was an added bonus! When I was learning Russian my teacher told me about Baba Yaga (this scary witch woman from old Russian folk tales) and she is in this book as a character so that was pretty interesting. Also, there are a lot of times I was pissed at Katarina for the shit she put Ivan through. If I were him I would've just kicked her in the shin and freaking booked it back to the future. Neverthel This was a great retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I love anything that has to do with Russia so that was an added bonus! When I was learning Russian my teacher told me about Baba Yaga (this scary witch woman from old Russian folk tales) and she is in this book as a character so that was pretty interesting. Also, there are a lot of times I was pissed at Katarina for the shit she put Ivan through. If I were him I would've just kicked her in the shin and freaking booked it back to the future. Nevertheless, I still liked the book and would recommend it to most people. There's a lot of crude jokes in it (which I though was funny considering I assumed(wrongly) that this was an Ender's Game-type young adult book of Card's) but you can overlook most of them. Audiobook caveats: I dozed off a couple times during the Baba Yaga sections of the book-->The woman reading her sections was good at the narrative voice and the witch but her voice as the bear was ridiculous. It sounded like what my mom would sound like if she tried to talk like a bear...ridiculous.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    This book was worth reading. There were elements I loved - the slight skewing of fairy tale, and the contrast between the modern world and the ancient world makes for unlimited writing fodder. As always, Card's use of enchantment and sorcery is charming. The anthropologist in me loved the discovery of ancient language and early writing. The story was definitely good. What I didn't like is that in many areas it read like a romance novel. The are sections of the book where the constant inner dialog This book was worth reading. There were elements I loved - the slight skewing of fairy tale, and the contrast between the modern world and the ancient world makes for unlimited writing fodder. As always, Card's use of enchantment and sorcery is charming. The anthropologist in me loved the discovery of ancient language and early writing. The story was definitely good. What I didn't like is that in many areas it read like a romance novel. The are sections of the book where the constant inner dialog of the angst of love was quite wearisome. She despises me... Can I ever love him... blah, blah, blah. It got old fast. It's why I don't read romances. Again, perhaps the editor should have been more involved. The novel would be better with some judicious cuts. But still, worth the read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Arisawe Hampton

    Good, but I would say it falls short from the rest of his body of work. I find myself rather disappointed to be sure. I would if it comes with trying to 'update' or 'retell' a fable that has been rewritten endlessly through the ages. My suggestion would have been to firstly choose other character names. I found them to be the most distracting element overall. If one's names don't seem to 'fit' the person/character I feel like they are 'fictional' and I have a difficult time investing myself into Good, but I would say it falls short from the rest of his body of work. I find myself rather disappointed to be sure. I would if it comes with trying to 'update' or 'retell' a fable that has been rewritten endlessly through the ages. My suggestion would have been to firstly choose other character names. I found them to be the most distracting element overall. If one's names don't seem to 'fit' the person/character I feel like they are 'fictional' and I have a difficult time investing myself into the world. I want to be drawn in- to feel myself lost and no longer realize that I am, in fact, reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    OMG that was just so freaking cool! :D My last book for 2011, which I couldn't finish because it's kind of enormous, and so my first for 2012 as well. A nice end AND start to the years :D And I was hooked in straight away, there was no gradual warming up - I loved it from the start. The writing is just so delicious, and the tale itself so rich and wonderful... the perfect mix of fairy-tale fantasy and darkness. I LOVED the language geekery so much as well, that was utter brilliance. And the snap OMG that was just so freaking cool! :D My last book for 2011, which I couldn't finish because it's kind of enormous, and so my first for 2012 as well. A nice end AND start to the years :D And I was hooked in straight away, there was no gradual warming up - I loved it from the start. The writing is just so delicious, and the tale itself so rich and wonderful... the perfect mix of fairy-tale fantasy and darkness. I LOVED the language geekery so much as well, that was utter brilliance. And the snappy banter between Bear and Baba Yaga often made me laugh out loud... such enjoyable villains! Although you really can't help but like Bear, he's just been suckered into one of her spells. Baba Yaga is bloody terrifying. But so awesome. Dude, she HIJACKED A PLANE AND FLEW IT BACK TO THE NINTH CENTURY. I mean, who even DOES that?! And Katerina freaking rocked as well. She was so much better than Ruth... there was just no contest. You can't even really feel sorry for Ruth, losing Ivan so abruptly. She's got nothing on Katerina. I adored her - she's a princess, the sleeping beauty whom Ivan awakens... but she's not a simpering, fragile little thing. Oh hell no! She's feisty and strong and stubborn and a little bit snarky and arrogant. So much fun :D I loved the romance between her and Ivan. You know it's going to happen eventually, but it's all done so nicely and at such a gentle pace that it doesn't feel forced or sudden or anything. Just natural. I loved both times in this book equally - Katerina in the 20th century, Ivan in the 9th. Usually I much favour one over the other, but these were both done so brilliantly. The gorgeous historicalness of the 9th and the language geekery, contrasted so nicely to that fun culture-clash which happens when someone is shifted forward in time. And it was fun to have all of the recent day Russian politics in the background as well, an interesting touch. Uncle Marek's true identity came as a huge surprise. I love how everything wove together like that. :) I loved how Ivan managed to beat Bear to get to the princess. I loved the humour that was always there. I loved the author snarking about JFK airport twice within the space of like five pages: "...and the six-mile walk down tubes and ramps before they got to the airplanes, which apparently parked in Sag Harbour." "Some of the same clerks were on duty, watching Ivan and Katerina very carefully, but treating them with more politeness than usual, which, at Kennedy, isn't a hard standard to surpass." LOL BURN. Totally can't fault this in any way... only that it had to finish at all :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book came highly recommended, but for the life of me I can't remember who recommended it. Based on my friends' reviews, not someone on Goodreads. Enchantment certainly had potential. I was bored by the beginning but intrigued by the idea of the plot, so I kept reading. I enjoyed the middle but grew bored again and tired of the characters. Finally I reached the end where I conclude...it wasn't bad. But it wasn't a book I needed to read. This isn't one of those classics you force yourself thr This book came highly recommended, but for the life of me I can't remember who recommended it. Based on my friends' reviews, not someone on Goodreads. Enchantment certainly had potential. I was bored by the beginning but intrigued by the idea of the plot, so I kept reading. I enjoyed the middle but grew bored again and tired of the characters. Finally I reached the end where I conclude...it wasn't bad. But it wasn't a book I needed to read. This isn't one of those classics you force yourself through and then feel like a better person for reading. It was a creative fairy-tale that blends history and culture but never quite rises to the level of being really interesting. The switching POVs helped but the hero and heroine remain rather bland and perfect. I liked Esther and I appreciate that the story doesn't reveal all of its secrets...but in not revealing them, it also leaves a lot of conveniently timed things unexplained. At 415 pages, I think this book is too long and not interesting enough to even be worth recommending. I'm also confused why my library shelved this as science fiction.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angie Taylor

    I just read this again. It was fun to delve again into the minds of Katarina and Ivan and recognize the beautiful difference between men and woman. I found myself thinking of my marriage and how I use words to heal or hurt those I care about. I love this story. Not only is it a fabulous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but it is beautiful commentary on the power and magic that can exist in marriage between a man and a woman. So I love returning to some of my favorite stories, and just like the firs I just read this again. It was fun to delve again into the minds of Katarina and Ivan and recognize the beautiful difference between men and woman. I found myself thinking of my marriage and how I use words to heal or hurt those I care about. I love this story. Not only is it a fabulous retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but it is beautiful commentary on the power and magic that can exist in marriage between a man and a woman. So I love returning to some of my favorite stories, and just like the first time, this story did not disappoint. I haven't read a lot of Card's stories, but the ones that I have, I love. Like I said in my earlier review, this is a modern/fantasy/in the past mix of Sleeping Beauty. Card's writing is beautiful and unique from beginnig to end. I loved all the funny details about the differences of men and women, and especially loved the process of falling in love. It doesn't just begin with waking up from a kiss. Loved it! This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but so originally told that the story stands alone by itself. It is influenced by Jewish and Russian folktales. The ninth century and 19th century are contrasted and the two main characters come from these differing centuries. It was such a good book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I totally recommend this to anyone that enjoys fairytales.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    Orson Scott Card is of course best known for Ender's Game, an sf classic to be sure but he has written several other books which to my mind are equally good. Unfortunately these tend to be overlooked as readers are so enamored of the Ender series. Consequently Enchantment is unjustly less than famous. As the title suggest, this is a fantasy novel. The story is based on the original Russian version of Sleeping Beauty, folk tales, and some Slavic history. Card's writing is always crystal clear and Orson Scott Card is of course best known for Ender's Game, an sf classic to be sure but he has written several other books which to my mind are equally good. Unfortunately these tend to be overlooked as readers are so enamored of the Ender series. Consequently Enchantment is unjustly less than famous. As the title suggest, this is a fantasy novel. The story is based on the original Russian version of Sleeping Beauty, folk tales, and some Slavic history. Card's writing is always crystal clear and elegant, none of the chopped up sentences so beloved by William Gibson fans. The characterization, the pace, the use of magic and spells is first rate. Most of the book takes place in our world, but is no less magical for that. I love it when the magical world intrudes upon our world, the sort of thing you get in urban fantasy. While the story is less than epic in scope I still had an absolute blast with this book. This book is pure joy and a must read, you may even learn something about Slavic history which will undoubtedly come in handy at parties and such.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberlee Isaacson

    Tracy, please don't hate me. I tried really hard to like this book, especially since you like it so much, but I just couldn't get into it. I think I have something against Orson Scott Card. This is about the 3rd book of his that I've started and couldn't finish. Ender's Game was one of those, but I'm going to dig deep and get through it eventually since everyone loves it. I got in about 150 pages on this one, and just couldn't keep going. Am I reading too much lately that I'm just getting too pi Tracy, please don't hate me. I tried really hard to like this book, especially since you like it so much, but I just couldn't get into it. I think I have something against Orson Scott Card. This is about the 3rd book of his that I've started and couldn't finish. Ender's Game was one of those, but I'm going to dig deep and get through it eventually since everyone loves it. I got in about 150 pages on this one, and just couldn't keep going. Am I reading too much lately that I'm just getting too picky?

  27. 4 out of 5

    radiovalkyrie

    I have always been interested in Russian folklore, and it was fun to see it come to life in an extremely engrossing and epic way. Wonderful book. However, Orson Scott Card is still a homophobic bastard and he'll never see a penny of my money.

  28. 4 out of 5

    asra

    Sleeping Beauty is awakened not by Prince Charming, but a Jewish-American graduate student with a penchant for Slavic languages and long distance running. Ivan Smetski returns to his childhood home of Ukraine for some research and relaxation. While on a run, he seeks out a meadow in a forest he once came upon as a child. To his surprise, the woman he saw lying asleep on a pedestal all those years ago was not a figment of his imagination. After defeating a bear that guards "sleeping beauty," Ivan Sleeping Beauty is awakened not by Prince Charming, but a Jewish-American graduate student with a penchant for Slavic languages and long distance running. Ivan Smetski returns to his childhood home of Ukraine for some research and relaxation. While on a run, he seeks out a meadow in a forest he once came upon as a child. To his surprise, the woman he saw lying asleep on a pedestal all those years ago was not a figment of his imagination. After defeating a bear that guards "sleeping beauty," Ivan kisses her and she awakens. From there on out, the looming threat of a wicked witch forces Ivan and Princess Katerina to cross between the 1990s and the 9th Century. Their hope is to defeat the witch and bring safety to Katerina’s village, but stating that their task is difficult is an understatement -- let's just say that Ivan and Katerina don’t exactly hit it off when she awakens from his kiss. I can’t say that all fantasy fiction is for me, but this book can be credited with my newfound appreciation for the genre. What drew me to the novel was Card’s ability to merge modern, non-fantastical elements with fantasy themes. He presents both a scholarly dialogue on Russian fairytales from Ivan’s perspective as a graduate student, and seamlessly blends this into the storyline taking place within Katerina’s world. This balance between "real" and "fantasy" keeps the novel from being too much for my taste. Clever and sarcastic dialogue also adds to the appeal making the book a pretty funny read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abeer Hoque

    I listened to Enchantment by Orson Scott Card (of Ender's Game fame - still one of my favourite books) on audiobook, because I had some long trips coming up. It wasn't a book I had been wanting to read (random pick from the library), but it filled the time quite easily, and I found out that I like to listen to audiobooks while running - yay for multitasking! Enchantment had a promising premise - a modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty saga. However, it quickly becomes an ordinary but well rese I listened to Enchantment by Orson Scott Card (of Ender's Game fame - still one of my favourite books) on audiobook, because I had some long trips coming up. It wasn't a book I had been wanting to read (random pick from the library), but it filled the time quite easily, and I found out that I like to listen to audiobooks while running - yay for multitasking! Enchantment had a promising premise - a modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty saga. However, it quickly becomes an ordinary but well researched, structured, and paced story about magic and witches in an otherwise muggle world. I will never forget the deep forest with its leaf-filled chasm in the Ukraine where our runner scholar hero, Ivan, finds his 9th century princess Katerina. For that gorgeous magical place alone, I'm grateful. Otherwise, the characters were flat and often stereotypical, and the story not as inventive as I had hoped.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I started this book on the recommendation of a friend, who commented that the author's biases were rather restrained here. I cannot agree with this statement. I gave up on this book on a plane when my next book was out of reach. I couldn't take any more of the Madonna/whore view of women or the unlikeable characters (hero, heroine, minor characters...). When I gave up, frustrated with all of them, it was because I realized that the character I empathized with most and the one I wanted to succeed I started this book on the recommendation of a friend, who commented that the author's biases were rather restrained here. I cannot agree with this statement. I gave up on this book on a plane when my next book was out of reach. I couldn't take any more of the Madonna/whore view of women or the unlikeable characters (hero, heroine, minor characters...). When I gave up, frustrated with all of them, it was because I realized that the character I empathized with most and the one I wanted to succeed was the villain. You know, the one committing bestiality. The author set her up as a survivor early on, and... somehow all the other major characters were less empathetic and less interesting. Esther may get to be a stronger character in the second half, but I am not sticking around to find out.

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