Set in the world of the Newbery Honor-winning Ella Enchanted, this tale by beloved author Gail Carson Levine stars a clever heroine who is determined to defy expectations—and outwit a fairy’s curse.
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!
Stuck in this new and confusing form, Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.
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Gail Carson Levine
Gail Carson Levine
Gail Carson Levine‘s first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine‘s other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
I found out about this companion book to Ella Enchanted only a few months ago (I’m still mad at myself for not knowing when it first came out!) and was ecstatic that she had written it! Ella Enchanted is my all time favorite book (if you haven’t already read my review for the Newbery Honor winning book, you can do so here) and having a prequel to it is so exciting! I was over the moon when Wunderkind PR contacted me and offered to send me a copy to review. I cannot sing their praises enough! Go check them out!
As for the book, Gail Carson Levine did not disappoint! I refrained from reading anything about the book before I started, so I wouldn’t spoil it, but I wish I had realized it was a prequel to start out with. However, you don’t get too far into the book without recognizing characters you met in Ella are now younger and therefore, this takes place before that book. It was fun to meet the characters (again) the way Evie did though.
I absolutely loved reacquainting myself with all these characters again, on a deeper level this time, not just as side characters. Eleanor and Daria were delightful, Jerrold was a dear and Peter was as conniving as ever. I loved the backstory she gave to each of them, it felt so right, and gave their history some more excitement than we knew about in Ella. The main characters, Evie and Wormy were fun to get to know, and I of course was rooting for them both the whole time! And though she was cursed by Lucinda, as was Ella, the difference in curses, along with the various characters old and new, was enough to make the story fresh with a hint of the familiar.
This is going on my shelf, right next to my tattered and torn second copy of Ella Enchanted and will be read probably just as often as it’s predecessor. You can enjoy this book in paperback, hardback, audio and kindle formats on amazon! It’s well worth the cost!
Age Group: 14+
Content Concerns: Violence, manipulation, stereotyping, general fear and mistrust of a species (for a very good reason mind you, seeing as they like to eat all the other species)
Language: 0/10 None, the only part that I found that might be one to talk about is near the end p 291-293 where a character is dealing with a form of emotional abuse from their fiancé. This is fairly mild, but still a good talking point with younger and older readers.
Violence: 3/10 Throughout the book a character thinks about how delicious the others would be to eat, however, they never eat a human character.
p. 20 A character is shot with an arrow, a little blood (mild)
p. 31-32 A mob tries to attack a character but are scared away (mild)
p. 54-55, 58 small skirmish with Ogres (mild)
p. 105-110 Ogres attempt to eat a giant but a character prevents it by killing the ogres. The giant’s wounds are tended to by the main character (moderate)
p. 151-152 Mentions severed heads of ogres (mild)
p. 189-190 Brief mention of severed heads on spikes (mild)
p. 190-197 A disease has caused many deaths. Characters save some but are too late for others. Not descriptive, just mentions corpses and people who have died. (mild)
p. 234-235 Rumor of corpses being half eaten, no description as there is no proof of the rumor (mild)
p. 304-320 Small wrestling matches. One ends in injury. Talk of execution, self inflicted wounds. (mild)
Sexual Content: 1/10 Small romantic moments scattered throughout the book. Lots of mention about love, or being in love, with characters. This is more to do with the main character discovering the difference between familial/friendship love and romantic love and how she can tell which is which in her Ogre form.