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“When I rejoined humanity, I might save someone whose gratitude would progress to love. Then, if I could set aside the memory of Master Peter, I might return the feeling, because saving someone’s life was almost as good as drinking a love potion,” Evie. –Ogre Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine
Evie is content when she is treating people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her dedicated friend, Wormy. So, when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly declines his offer. She has too much to do as a healer. And besides, she doesn’t think of him as anything more than a friend.
However, a fairy named Lucinda had been listening in on their conversation, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself changed from a girl into an ugly, hungry ogre. Evie now has sixty-two days to accept another proposal, or else she will be stuck as an ogre forever. But Evie doesn’t forget her human side.
The close first-person style narrative allows the reader to better empathize with Evie and see how Evie navigates being an ogre. On her travels, Evie deals with the prejudices that humans have towards ogres. Out of fear, most humans attack her or run away from her, unaware that she is a human. For instance, when she returned from treating a patient, the villagers in her hometown attacked her. But Evie also meets people that accept her for who she is on the inside and do not care about her looks. These experiences remind Evie that she needs to take more consideration for people’s thoughts and not evaluate them solely on their physical appearance, afflictions, or first impressions.
Ogre Enchanted is a fun, delightful book that takes inspiration from the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. The story explores love, particularly romantic love. Several times, Evie thinks someone makes her “tingle” due to her inexperience with romantic feelings. Equally as important is Evie’s time spent with her potential suitors. For example, the merchant Peter wants to marry a noblewoman and isn’t romantically interested in her. He confesses that he “was fond of her family’s position and [her family’s] money” and “[he] made her love [him].” This example teaches that there are people who would choose their romantic partner based on attributes such as social status or wealth and then undervalue the romance in their relationship. Interactions such as these will help readers not only understand the concept of falling in love but also to see what people think about romantic relationships in general.
If you like fairy tales and stories about romance, then grab a copy of Ogre Enchanted. The story has an interesting take on different views of romantic relationships. Readers will learn lessons about love and compassion as well as the difference between romantic love and platonic love. The story’s romantic aspects lean more towards puppy love than ardor, making the story good for middle-grade readers.
The implementation of aspects of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, such as Evie’s transformation into a beastly, hideous creature, help highlight many characters’ tendency to judge others based on appearances. Readers will be eagerly flipping the pages to see how Evie finds the one person that accepts her for who she is and proposes to her. Evie quickly becomes comfortable with falling in love, despite her staunch opposition to romance. The external pressure of a proposal makes it hard to believe that Evie would have loved someone romantically had it not been for Lucinda’s intervention. Nonetheless, the topics of love and romance as well as the implementation of a well-known fairy tale makes this story a good introduction to relationships and the fantasy genre.
- Evie looks at a sleeping, young man. She thinks that he is handsome, his cheekbones are high enough “to speed [her] heart . . .”
- There are many instances where someone would make Evie “tingle.” She feels a tingle whenever she sees the merchant Peter because she is charmed by his intelligence and humor.
- The citizens in Evie’s village shoot arrows at her when she is an ogre. “An arrow bored into the right arm just below my elbow.” A mob of people go into the streets and chase after her. Evie runs away and yanks the arrow out of her arm; she doesn’t feel any pain from her injury.
- A band of six ogres attack a giant and start to eat her. One ogre hypnotizes the giant so she will relax and then another ogre “bit into her leg.”
- To help the giant, Evie distracts the ogres with sticks of meat and then attacks two of the ogres. “With a healer’s certainty of where to thrust the sword, I stabbed the base of [an ogre’s] skull.” The ogre slumps forward. Then, Evie pierced one of the eyes of another ogre. “[The ogre] fell on his side.”
- Another ogre grabs Evie, but Evie slashes him. The remaining ogres rush at her. Evie closes her eyes, then opens her eyes. Two of the ogres are “sprawled on the ground near me, their faces blue.” The last two ogres are eating the giant, when Evie yells at the ogres. The giant grabs the ogres by the throat, “squeezed, then tossed them aside.” The giant sustained many injuries over the course of the fight. This lasts two pages.
- Evie, Squire Jerrold, and Peter fight in a joust. Squire Jerrold hurled himself at Evie. “The squire and [Evie] went down, rolling over and over, trying to pin each other.” Peter kicks Evie’s head, but Evie counters. With her “brain reeling, [Evie] grabbed his ankle, pulling him to the ground.”
- Both Squire Jerrold and Peter were on top of Evie, so she rolled over them and “rained punches on Squire Jerrold.” In the confusion, someone stabs Peter. “A rapier lay on the ground. Blood spurted from Prince Peter’s thigh.” Peter is injured; Peter had injured himself on purpose, attempting to frame Evie or Squire Jerrold as his attacker. The scene lasts for two pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Evie uses a liquid called purpine—also known as dragon urine—to cure illnesses and diseases.
- Evie also uses a variety of herbs and poultices to cure people. For example, she uses a “paste of galingale, zedoary, and ginger” to treat an elf boy’s rash.
- Evie thinks “Fie!” once.
- Evie calls Wormy an idiot.
- Fool is used many times.
- Lucinda transforms Evie into an ogre. Evie’s “mind emptied. The kitchen tiles no longer seemed to be beneath me. Somewhere, fabric ripped. My mind filled again.” Evie has been transformed into an ogre and has sixty-two days to find a suitor and accept his marriage proposal. The side effect is that Evie feels more comfortable as an ogre as time goes on.
- Ogres are hideous creatures that are known for their voracious appetite and odiferous smell. They can charm humans by hypnotizing them with their words. When hypnotized, humans are compelled to obey an ogre’s every word and command. It is impossible for a human to break out of a hypnosis. Ogres cannot hypnotize each other.