30 September 2005

Enchantment (Del Rey, 2001)

Orson Scott Card is well-known for writing science fiction (e.g. the Ender series) and fantasy (e.g. the Alvin Maker series); Enchantment falls in the latter category. As a young man, Ivan lived in Russia but was later uprooted, ultimately moving to America. He studied ancient Russian languages like his father but felt little connection to his roots. So when Ivan decides to return to his homeland, most people are surprised.

During a run, Ivan finds himself staring at what appears to be Sleeping Beauty and he finds himself drawn back to the spot time and again though he feels it must be his imagination. What follows is an imaginitive look at how Medieval Russia differed from the history books; how easy it would be for Ivan to change the course of history; and how two people forced together must make the best of the situation. The villain in the story is none other than Baba Yaga, famous throughout Russian folklore. Eventually, the time-crossed pair must escape to Ivan's time and the reader is able to see the modern world through Medieval eyes.

The story works on many levels -- it is a romance, it is a fantasy, it has comic moments and tragic. It is one of those stories which takes a while to get into but is difficult to put down once the action starts. I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested -- even slightly -- in folklore, time travel, or good old-fashioned storytelling.

Buy Enchantment in paperback.

No comments: