Set in Kyrria, where fairies, elves, ogres, unicorns, and giants live among nobles and commoners, Newbery honor author Gail Carson Levine’s newest book, Ogre Enchanted, tells the story of fifteen-year-old Evie.  Gifted in the arts of healing, Evie is the kind of healer that “knows when to just mention a remedy and when to pry open a jaw” (3).  She has also been accused by her best friend, Warwick—aka Wormy—as seeing people as patients and nothing more.

When the sensitive, sweet, and trustworthy Wormy proposes marriage to Evie and the lively, intelligent, single-minded healer with a sense of humor declines, the fairy Lucinda promptly turns Evie into an ogre.  Only finding love and accepting another proposal will release Evie from Lucinda’s enchantment.  As a hair-sprouting, fang-bearing, and stench-producing ogre with an insatiable appetite for meat, Evie is feared by humans.  Although the enchantment prevents Evie from telling anyone about her previous human form, she vows to kill no creature that speaks and to remain true to her healing arts.

Not wanting to put her mother in danger and hoping to learn the art of persuasion, Evie leaves her home in Jenn and travels to the Fens to live among the ogres.  From the Fens to a farmhouse and then to the castle in Frell, Evie experiences many life-threatening dangers.  She also encounters Master Peter—a travelling merchant who is clever, amusing, and mysterious—and Squire Jerrold, a noble, modest, and trustworthy gentleman with energy and resolve.  Hoping that one of them might propose, breaking the fairy’s enchantment, Evie assesses their characters, measuring them against Wormy’s loyalty, devotion, humor, and warmth.

Despite the obstacles she confronts, Evie continues to protect her various patients with tonics, physics, and advice.  A model of fortitude, courage, and humor, Evie inspires readers to imitate those who work hard and serve others, those who speak out even if we won’t be believed, and those who act with respect and courtesy regardless of another’s rank or status.

From this fairytale, readers also learn about the layers and variations of love, as well as the many ways we can be undone by love.  And along with Evie—because we pursue what we value, whether in hobbies or in companions—we learn that saving someone’s life is almost as good as drinking a love potion.

  • Posted by Donna

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