Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters, book one)
By Alethea Kontis
Published 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books
Sunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, a position that pretty much guarantees heartbreak and mischief. What exactly it means, though, even Sunday does not fully know - but a fateful turn of events will lead her to self-discovery.
So, here is a funny story about my experience with this book. When I started hearing all these great reviews about it (this was sometime last year), I thought, "really? I read that book and thought it was pretty terrible." Then, one of my friends, who has pretty similar taste to me, read it and loved it and I thought to myself, "well, I guess we can't agree on everything" (and we definitely don't, COUGH ENDER'S GAME COUGH). Then, it was named a Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adult book and I thought, "But wait, that book wasn't published last year." When I signed up for The Hub Reading Challenge, I starred it as a book I might read, to give it a second shot and see what I might have missed that everyone else loved. When it finally came time to read it, I realized that it is a completely different book than the one I had been thinking of this entire time (the book I was thinking of was Entwined).
So, now that I got my title confusion out of the way, how did this book fare? Well, I loved it. I will admit that it has flaws - there is a lot going on here and pretty much every fairy tale you've ever heard of makes an appearance at some point, so if that isn't really your thing, then maybe don't read this one. However, for someone like me, who really likes nothing better than fairy-tale retellings, this book was an absolute joy. Even things that normally annoy me in books (the insta-love between Sunday and Rumbold, for example) did not bother me here, mainly because they follow in the tradition of fairy tales (isn't that pretty much where insta-love originated from?). Similarly, I'm not bothered by the possible lack of characterization, because that's also pretty typical of a fairy tale. And I love that Kontis apparently tried to cram every possible tale into this one book - for me, it's the more, the merrier. I find it difficult to imagine a fairy tale fan who wouldn't enjoy this book - it's written to fit right into the canon of traditional literature and it reads exactly as a fairy tale should. It's full of charm and whimsy, but also dark and foreboding. It's magical, sweet, and sinister. I absolutely loved the tales of the Woodcutter family - I want to know more about all of them! As you can imagine, I'm thrilled to discover this is the first in a series of the Woodcutter sisters - but I hope Kontis is planning on telling me more about the brothers as well! I thoroughly enjoyed this and definitely recommend it. So glad I figured out that it wasn't the book I thought it was!