Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Copyright 2009, First Edition
Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
New York, NY
The Amaranth Enchantment is Julie Berry's debut novel. It was released in March of this year and has already attracted quite a bit of attention amongst readers and bloggers. I first learned of the book through Noel's blog Never Jam Today. The title intrigued me and after a little research (reading the story's description) I quickly added it to my TBR list.
The Amaranth Enchantment is a sort of coming-of-age story that follows the adventures of Lucinda, a 15-year-old orphan, who in her short life has gone from riches to rags and from being an adored daughter to being a servant in her uncle's goldsmith/jewelry repair shop. Life is very lonely and bleak for Lucinda, especially under the oppression of her aunt, a mean-spirited woman who seems to hate everyone, especially Lucinda.
And then one evening everything begins to change... It all starts when a handsome stranger appears in her uncle's shop, followed by a mysterious woman with a likewise mysterious and very beautiful gem, and then later in the evening a fleeing individual begs refuge in Lucinda's bedroom. What follows is a tale of romance and adventure woven together in a fantasy and fairytale setting.
The Amaranth Enchantment is a clever, entertaining, and fast-paced read with a somewhat surprising ending. Intended for young readers (ages 9-12) there is no inappropriate language or love scenes, making it a clean and fun read for readers of all ages.
I really enjoyed the The Amaranth Enchantment and I think Berry's unique twist to this Cinderella-story is part of why I liked it so well. It wasn't just another rags to riches story. That said, I must admit there were certain elements or aspects that reminded me of a few pre-existing fantasies such as Enchanted and Stardust. So if you have enjoyed either of those movies it is likely you'll enjoy this story. Likewise, if you are a fan of The White Horse, The Goose Girl, or Ella Enchanted, you are likely to also enjoy The Amaranth Enchantment.
On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate The Amaranth Enchantment a 4. This is one novel that readers of fantasy and fairytales should check out of their local public library and for certain readers may even warrant the price to add it to their personal library.