Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mini Reviews (7)

Mini Reviews

Ella Enchanted- Gail Carson Levine.
Ella Enchanted the movie built my preconceptions and beliefs for the plot, a movie I love for all it's corny lines and awkward moments, but the translation from book to movie (or rather for me, from movie to book)? Not so smooth.

There are many, many changes between the two, including the fact that Ella's mother is alive for the first maybe quarter of the story, Ella is much younger, excellent at imitating things and goes to manners school. Also, her father is rotten.

I found these things hard to settle with, at least until (after another surprise, probably relating to Char and Ella's friendship) I decided to just enjoy it and not try to scout for the similararities (of which there are few, and notably less singing scenes.

Rating: Excellent-
It is a riproaring read, perfect for winter nights before a fire or heater. There are moments of magic and emotion and adventue and joy, and it's a fulfilling, wonderful story, even if everyone says wench a little too often for my liking.

Image Credit: Bloomsbury.

Winter's Tales- Lari Don.
I've read two of Lari Don's books so far, both similar in content to this (myths, tales, legends and fairytales retold, adapted for the current generation) and though I enjoyed both of those, I had faults with certain aspects of how they were retold, and when I read Winter's Tales it felt like those issues were collected into one book, which made for a pretty unhappy reading experience.

The stories felt starkly modernised and phrases came off as being unsuited to the story, and my main problem is probably that it all felt very rushed. I didn't have time to care for the plot or characters in any of the stories and all I got was a headache and no wish to read the last 60 pages.
I did, surprising myself, and found perhaps my favourite thing in the whole of the book- the little paragraphs by the author on how she found each story. Those were really interesting.
Unhappily, they didn't make me forget the other 100 or so pages that had been less than enjoyable.

Rating: Oh nooo...
There are elements and huge originality to these stories that really work, but this time to modernisation just didn't sit well with me at all.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy of Winter's Tales!


  1. It's interesting seeing Ella Enchanted from the point of view of someone who saw the movie first. Everyone I know who has held Ella Enchanted as one of their most precious childhood books and then saw the movie absolutely HATED it (myself included). The book is just SO wonderful and that movie was just horrid and ruined it. But perhaps I would have felt differently had I seen the movie first!

    1. I can imagine feeling incredibly let down by the film, and if I'd read the book growing up I think I'd have been really frustrated by how comedic it is, how much it misses, but not having that background experience/attachment I've been able to detach the two. They're basically two completely different stories, to me, and whilst I adore the book and only like the film, I'd watch/read both many more times.

  2. I haven't really seen Ella Enchanted (I think just bits and pieces) and never read the book, but I feel like I might enjoy the movie more. At least it will be quicker to get through! But I'm glad you enjoyed the book much more after you tried to forget the film - I find that very hard to do, which is why I try to read the book first whenever I can!

    I haven't heard of Lari Don and her fairy tale retellings - I am a bit curious about her stories, though I find I don't really like fairy tale retellings that are too modern or too gritty. Hopefully I can check out something by her soon and see how I like it!

    1. Oh, well the book is pretty quick reading, too, even though it's close on 300 pages- it's one of those intensely readable books, or it was for me. I don't think I could recommend you go to one more than the other, since I like both a lot.

      These are very short retellings, not bringing them into the 21st centuary or anything like the modern retellings often do. These just get textual changes, different wording and the like. I enjoy finding new stories through them, though!

  3. I've watched Ella Enchanted but I've forgotten what it was all about (silly me!) so I'm looking forward to reading the book version this time. I'm pretty certain I'll be able to enjoy it fully without any bias to the movie at all :D Nice mini reviews, romi :)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. I'm glad to hear you're planning on reading it and that having seen the film won't affect the experience- it can be frustrating when it does, though recently I've been able to set aside opinions on one or the other, which has been really fortunate. xx

  4. Haven't read Winter's Tales but I have read and seen the movie of Ella Enchanted. I used to love watching that movie over and over, haha. Awkward moments, indeed ;) I thought her mother being alive was an interesting difference as well.

    1. Very awkward! I think it would be interestingfor you to read the book and see how you thought the two measured up- they're unbelievably different I can practically think of them as two unique stories.


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