Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis

I have an autographed copy of Alethea Kontis‘ book Enchanted [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. Why? Because I’m just that lucky, that’s why! The problem is that most of my pleasure reading has taken a back seat to research and work on the books I need to write, so I haven’t been able to actually read it. And then Alethea posted about the audio book of Enchanted being available, and I snatched it up. The timing was perfect, giving me something to listen to on the way to and from GenCon.

Here’s the official synopsis:

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

There’s a lot I liked about this story. Kontis blends elements from many different fairy tales into a new story. You’ve got pieces from Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe, The Princess and The Frog, and more. But Enchanted isn’t a fairy tale retelling. It’s its own story, one that could imaginably evolve into those familiar tales over generations.

Sunday Woodcutter and Prince Rumbold are the two main characters, both engaging and sympathetic, but the broader cast of characters was delightful as well. The Woodcutter sisters are great, each one strong and interesting, with her own voice and backstory. Trix, the Woodcutters’ changeling son, was just plain fun. Rumbold’s companions were equally engaging, and part of the book’s fun was simply watching these wonderful characters interact with one another.

The size of the cast meant I had a little trouble trying to keep track of everything on occasion, but it wasn’t a major problem. There were pieces of the story that felt like Kontis was trying a little too hard to make the different stories and backstories fit together. But again, this was just a minor bump, and nothing that threw me out of the story.

One of the best parts of the story is how well Kontis captures the feel of fairy tales, the dangers and the heroics and the characters who are simultaneously larger-than-life and also very human.

I also have to say that Katherine Kellgren did a marvelous job as the reader for the audio book.

Book two of the Woodcutter family’s story, Hero [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], comes out on October 1, and tells the story of Sunday’s axe-wielding sister Saturday. I’m looking forward to it. And it looks like a third book, Beloved, will be coming out in October of next year.

If you enjoy fairy tale mash-ups with wonderful female characters and action and romance and more, I definitely recommend you check this one out.

You can read an excerpt of Enchanted at Bookbrowse.