Friday, July 1, 2011

Enchantment: Sleeping Beauty Take 2

I just finished reading (and by reading I mean listening to) Enchantment. All I knew about it before I started was that it was a new take on Sleeping Beauty. However, it's so much more than that.

Enchantment starts with a young 10 year old boy name Ivan Smetski and his parents who are from Ukraine trying to find a way out of the country. It's a little confusing to understand why, because Ivan's parents don't give him all the details. But you get the sense that it's all for Ivan. They manage to make it to Kiev where they stay with their cousin, Marek and his wife on their farm. Ivan and his parents stay with Marek while they wait for their paperwork to come through so they can leave the country. Ivan loves to run and spends his time running through the countryside. While on a run he comes across a strange meadow. It's perfectly round and he swears he can see a woman sleeping in the center under a pile of leaves. Before he can get close enough to tell for sure something menacing scares him off. They soon after get their papers and leave the farm for the US, never giving him a chance to work up the nerve to go back to the meadow.

Ivan grows up in the US, walking in his father's footsteps to become a college professor, or at least something in that direction. He's now a graduate student who's working on researching Russian fairy tale origins. Just before he plans to leave for his homeland he meets a girl named Ruth and gets engaged. Lucky for him she's willing to wait for him to finish his research. So he flies away, leaving his parents and fiance behind him to the land that gave him a memory he's never been able to forget.

After months of research he's drawn back to cousin Marek's farm where he can't help but investigate the meadow again. He's convinced that time has distorted his memories, and that there can't possibly be a woman held captive by sleep in the meadow he sets off to find the meadow. He's shocked to find that there is, in fact, a beautiful woman sleeping in the center. Not only that, but she's raised on a island of land in the center of a large crater where a humongous bear lies guarding her. This is just the beginning of Ivan's troubles. He manages to best the bear and make it to the beautiful woman, but when she wakes up she informs him the only way to get rid of the bear is to propose to her! Willing to do anything to get away from the large bear he poses the question, and with that sets himself on a journey that literally changes history. Since this beautiful young woman is actually a princess from a time a thousand years ago, and he's got to help her save her kingdom from the witch Baba Yaga. Who knew Sleeping Beauty had so many problems!

I really like this book, and not just because the person who narrated it on the audio book has a great Russian accent. It's creative, witty, thoughtful, and down right funny. Ivan has a rather dry sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud. I would for sure recommend this book, although I will add a disclaimer for the younger crowd. There are a few parts that wouldn't be appropriate for young adults. However, as a whole the book is great.

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