Review: Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Title: Ogre Enchanted
Series: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 352

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In this prequel to Ella Enchanted, which can stand on its own, young healer Evie is transformed into an ogre by the meddling fairy Lucinda. She’ll turn back only if someone proposes and she accepts!

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.

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A prequel to Ella Enchanted – my most beloved childhood book? Sign me up!

I read Ella Enchanted so many times. I own two copies because my first one started to fall apart from all the reading. And, I’m one of those rare people that enjoyed the movie too. Something I love about Ella Enchanted is how much life is contained within the pages. Ogre Enchanted lacked all of that.

The characters were flat and one dimensional. Evie’s two main, and only, defining traits were that she’s a healer and, for the majority of the story, hangry. These two things are reinforced over and over again. Wormy’s only trait is that he has an unrequited love for Evie and the only thing about Peter is he’s evil. The characters are just there and bland and they were missing any type of development or growth.

When it comes to the story, the first half was boring and repetitive. Most of it probably could have been cut as it’s mostly Evie running around, accidentally scaring people, and complaining about how hangry she is. The second half did get better and had more actually going on which made me want to know how it ended, but it still wasn’t great since the characters didn’t have any depth.

And, yes, I know this is a book intended for middle graders and that I’m far from that intended age range, but I really can’t see myself having enjoyed this when I was younger either. Maybe I was comparing it to Ella Enchanted too much and for me, nothing will ever live up to it. Mostly, this just seems like a classic case of continuing things unnecessarily. Just let the good things stay good without having to continue them years later.

I did enjoy seeing some of the characters from Ella Enchanted pop up and learning their origin a little more – especially Mandy and Eleanor. I just wish this story had focused more on them instead of Evie. Also, this book could have easily been so gay and I’m salty that it wasn’t even though having read Ella Enchanted I knew it wasn’t going to end like that. At the end of the day, I say that if you’re really curious, then give the book a try. And if you’re going to get Ella Enchanted for the little reader in your life then throwing a copy of this in wouldn’t be the worst thing.

A finished copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Ella Enchanted? If so, are you interested in giving this prequel a try? Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Review: Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine”

  1. I didn’t even know this book was coming out! I’ve enjoyed Levine’s other fairy tale stories, The Two Princesses of Bamarre and Fairest, mostly because they did have the depth Ella Enchanted had without repeating the same type of story. It’s disappointing that this book sounds like an attempt to recapture the magic that was powerful because it was so unique. Also, I too would be salty about a missed opportunity for something gay. I think my love of Ella Enchanted and your thoughts coming from a place of love for the original as well are turning me away from reading this prequel. I’m not much of a middle grade reader anyways, so I’d rather just reread Ella Enchanted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It actually came out last October which I was shocked to see because I don’t remember hearing anything about it last year? And oh yes! I have such a strong love for The Two Princesses of Bamarre as well. I remember reading Fairest but I can’t remember if I enjoyed it or not. Your idea to reread Ella Enchanted instead of reading Ogre Enchanted sounds like the perfect idea!

      Liked by 1 person

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