Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl

Ah, the classics. More relevant to this is the idea of “classic with a twist.” This seems to steadily be growing more and more popular and, therefore, seems to have developed its very own subgenre. This particular novel expands upon the age old story of a monster ravaging a land, a princess in distress, a hero who rescues her through extraordinary means, and, finally, prevailing to win her heart and prove his bravery. This take is unique in that it melds two genres together. One of the two is science fiction; one that I’ve always felt can be very stiff when mishandled. The second is fantasy; a favorite of mine and a type that inspires the imagination and always proves to be an engrossing read.
In this case, the “monster” is a construction machine from invading aliens. The mystical enchantress is an extraterrestrial on a mission to keep this world on its rightful path in history. To truly accomplish, they cannot reveal themselves as not of this world. They manipulate and direct the heroes throughout the novel. It’s a fascinating concept that allows a different perspective in a classic fairy tale. There are moments when the pacing slows and the story becomes more deliberate, but it does a fine job of capturing the reader’s interest until the end. The characters are layered and the chapters switch from character to character. Normally, this technique can be disorienting and irritating when there is one character that is more interesting or the others are just acting as filler. Fortunately, this is not the case and it works very well. There is a love story involved which is no surprise, and not insufferable as some “forbidden love” stories can be. Overall, Enchantress from the Stars is a refreshing look on what’s already been established and is awarded four stars for its efforts. ****

Review by Alisa Heskin

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