“Enchanted” by Alethea Kontis is a YA fairy tale that follows Sunday, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and her romance with a prince-turned-frog. Set in a world where it seems possible for all of our classic fairy tales to be true, Enchanted focuses on the importance of family and friends, trust, and the truth that builds that trust. After all, when your godmother is powerful enough to turn you into a frog, family matters.
If you were to ask me which fairy tale Enchanted takes after, my gut response would be, “all of them”. What starts out as apparently innocent details in a Disney-esque tale culminate in a heart-stopping fairy tale geek-out which will have you whispering madly to yourself, “I should have known!” Alethea expertly knits references to fairy tales and folk tales in every stitch of Enchanted, but one of my favorite folktale aspect of the story is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter premise. Typically the legend goes that a seventh son of a seventh son will be born with magical powers, so extending this to the female equivalent is both mind blowing and as natural as breathing. From Sunday’s name to the Leprechaun that lives under a tree, you’ll recognize archetypes that tickle the fancy and reach deeply into the human soul.
Yet, Alethea Kontis spins from these details a story that is all her own, a tale like a fair summer day with hints of darkness breaking through the clouds, and at the center of that tale is Sunday. Sunday feels both joy and heartbreak on a profound level, and as such she is genuine and imperfect and very much sixteen, with a hint of that selfishness common to us all. Her personality drives the story, and, along with the personality of the prince, gives the story heart. The secondary characters complete the colorful selection like second, third, and fourth strands on Alethea’s knitting needles, leaving us with a work that feels as complete as it does warm and fuzzy. The grand conclusion of Enchanted is not one little girl saving the world, but the entire Woodcutter family and their friends sending evil scampering away.
This book is for readers who enjoy a realistic female protagonist and the power of friends and family. Enchanted is also for those who enjoy classics such as the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, yet yearn for more detail and breadth. Most of all, Alethea Kontis’ novel is for those who believe in the power of words.
Michelle writes short fiction of all speculative fiction genres in between chasing her toddler from tree to tree. The shorter the work, the better, because 200 words looks very long on her cellphone and that keypad is very, very small. You can find out more about her rabid love of Star Trek, podcasting, and raising future geeklings at her blog, wakingdreamsblog.blogspot.com