Cinderella is my favourite fairy tale. Ella Enchanted is one of my favourite movies. Fairytale Retellings is my favourite genre of book. Therefore, the only conclusion I could come to was: I must read Ella Enchanted, the novel and It. Was. Beautiful.
Published in 1997 (the year of my birth!!) Ella Enchanted was difficult to track down. Unlike GCL’s other books, there wasn’t a Kindle edition. Any new version of the book was kind of expensive. So, I did the next best thing: used and new, and let me tell you, that is a hidden source of excellence.
If you aren’t acquainted with Ella’s tale, she is cursed to be obedient. She must follow direct orders. When under the rule of her stepmother and evil step sisters, this could be, and is, dangerous.
She meets with the Prince many times throughout the novel, and exchanges cute letters with him too. I loved their relationship and the discourse between them. The prince genuinely cared for Ella. Unlike the movie, where they have a sort of love-hate relationship, Ella and Char are friends from the beginning and then fall in love. Oooh, it was so lovely. You could say it was like a fairytale. (Ahaha, I crack myself up.)
Hattie and Olive were even more hideous characters than the film, because they were fake-nice to Ella as well as horribly demanding. I admired Ella’s gumption against the two and how she failed to crumble underneath their abuse.
The mixture of fairy tale characters was very original. Ella Enchanted has it all. Ogres who eat people, elves that make pottery, and giants who sure can throw a good wedding. It was interesting for the centaurs of the book not to be given speech or intelligence and kept more as pets, too. Frell and the surrounding world seems like a great place to live, and adventure.
Overall, I loved the message behind Ella Enchanted. To be cursed with obedience is tough, and Ella deals with her struggles in the best way possible. She isn’t afraid to ask for help, but she also knows that she must work hard herself and not just rely on others. As a role model, Ella is pretty great.
As for a fairy tale retelling, the story was perfect. It was different enough so not to be predictable, but similar enough so not to be unrecognisable. I loved it, so give it 4 stars!