If you loved Ella Enchanted as a kid, then you don’t need me to tell you how excited I was for this prequel! While Ogre Enchanted can stand on its own, I definitely loved reading it having already read Ella Enchanted.
Returning to the land and many of the characters from her beloved Newbery Honor–winning Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine has written a delightful tale about a clever and endearing heroine who is determined to defy expectations.
Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.
But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Ogre Enchanted brings you back to curses and fairy godmothers. We’re reminded about how fickle and self-absorbed some fairies can be. In Ogre Enchanted Evie is a healer who is the victim of a fairy who loves proposals and weddings. Turning down her best friends ends up in Evie being cursed as an ogre who now needs to receive a proposal to be turned back into a human. Except now as an ogre Evie people only see Evie as an ogre and don’t bother trying to get to know Evie. They are full of prejudices and Evie has to fight against people’s expectations to be seen as herself.
Ogre Enchanted is a story about looking past our appearances. Throughout the book we are confronted with characters who are not what they seem. Looks can be deceiving and Levine uses Evie’s transformation as an ogre to demonstrate people’s fear of things they do not know. Evie is clever and always trying to do what’s best even if it doesn’t help her. But while Ogre Enchanted is a story about appearances, it’s also a story about agency.
Evie has to be able to make the decision herself about who she should marry, if anyone. While Lucinda puts her in a situation where she has to be proposed to in order to regain her human form, she shouldn’t have to marry. It’s up to Evie to not only figure out how she feels about those around her, but also about herself. It’s great to be back in the world of ogres and fairies and I think younger readers will enjoy this prequel.