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Enchantment - Orson Scott Card I had some doubts prior to reading Enchantment. I have read a few other Orson Scott Card, and didn't especially care for them. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised to read Enchantment. Our story's hero, Ivan, is a Ukranian living in the United States, where he is a grad student. He is mysteriously transported to ninth century Russia while going through the forest and finds a sleeping princess. The story becomes a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The princess has been bewitched by Baba Yaga, and is guarded by Bear, who is a Russian deity. Although Ivan is immediately taken by Princess Katarina's beauty, they don't mix well at all initially. Ivan and the princess return to her people, where everybody looks down upon him despite his act of heroism. I really enjoyed how Card mixed in the modern day Ivan into the old settings. It was done is a very realistic manner. As a writer, I appreciate the thought process that went into this integration.

Ivan must prove his worth in a society where almost everyone doubts him, and some are plotting against him. I also thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of Baba Yaga, a seldomly used character of legend. All of the main characters in this story resonate. They are very well drawn and likeable, even the villainous ones. Ivan is a thinking man's character. Although athletic and intelligent, he doesn't possess the characteristics that are valued in ninth century Russia. Still, he uses his smarts and his talents to really make himself an important person to the people. He proves his heroism. The relationship between him and Katrina came alive as well, and was quite believable. The storytelling was strong. This was a good novel, well worth reading.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street