Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it. Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching. -(summary from Goodreads.com)
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
My Thoughts: Oh! Alex Flinn is so much fun! She has such a knack for taking stories we’ve heard bunches of times, throwing them in a pot, mixing in a few of her own details, and pouring out something new and wonderful entirely. And that is exactly what has happened with Bewitching.
I first met Kendra Hilferty when I read Beastly and I have to admit that while she wasn’t the main character, she held my attention and drew me in…I wanted to know more about her. So when I found out that she was going to be able to tell her story, I think I actually squealed a little…because her story deserves to be told.
Why should you read Bewitching (aka Kendra’s story)?
1. The Characters. There are bazillion characters in this book because of how it is written. They are not all good guys. They are not all bad guys. They are pretty much all flawed. They are all part of the story. Take them as you will…but it would be best if you just enjoyed them. Seriously.
- Kendra. Kendra found out she was a witch during a plague in the 1600-1700’s and was the sole survivor of her family (along with her younger brother, which you will read about early in the book). Since then, she has lived lonely and isolated – simply because it is very hard to be friends with people who age and die – over and over and over. I mean, there’s nothing one can do about that. Kendra tries her hardest to be a good witch – to help other people – but it doesn’t always come to pass. Sometimes her interference actually makes things worse rather than better. Still, she has a good heart. A very likable character, Kendra tells her story in a most unique way, and I find that the character that I liked a great deal in Beastly grew on me even more in Bewitching.
- Emma & Lisette. The stars of Kendra’s modern-day Cinderella re-telling. Kendra tells us Emma’s story because she wants to show how she tried to help Emma once Lisette came into her life. Emma is just a regular teenage girl – smart, kinda pretty, definitely bookish, and not very cool. Lisette is the exact total opposite – not very bright, absolutely gorgeous, and wildly popular. Lisette harbors a grudge against Emma for something that isn’t even Emma’s fault, and decides that she’ll do anything and everything to ruin Emma’s life. And she does a darn good job of it, for the most part. Eventually Emma befriends Kendra, a fellow student who is an outcast just like her, and as luck would have it – or as Kendra might would have it – things start to take a turn for the better again in Emma’s life.
I realize that I’m being a little vague in telling about Emma and Lisette. Their story is long and a little bit complex and a whole lot wonderful. The basic thing you need to know is that they are opposites: one is good and one is pretty much bad, and that Kendra steps in and tries to help out. Does it work? Does it backfire? That, I suppose, is all in how you interpret how everything ends…
2. The Structure. The story starts out telling how Kendra became a witch. Once we have covered that base, Kendra decides to start telling us the story of Emma & Lisette, which jumps us to modern-day times. Weaved into the story of Emma & Lisette, however, are re-tellings of fairy-tales that we know and love. They’re thrown in there to not only support Emma’s story but also to show examples of some of Kendra’s successes and failures at helping others. So…
…this means that we have multiple points-of-view/narrators, multiple settings (place and time), and multiple plots. Some people do not like this, but when done well, I love it. Folks, this is done very well. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a story structured quite in this way. This author built this story so brilliantly it was as much a pleasure to see it built as it was to read it. The flow is easy to follow and seamless, the transitions are smooth, and I can’t imagine that most people would have a difficult time with it in part because the language is so easy, beautiful, and simplistic. In short, the structure is marvelous.
3. The Fairy Tales. This girl loves retellings, be they fairy tales or myths. In this story, I was rewarded with several fairy tale retellings, and their spin was fresh and new and different and very “Alex Flinn.” I recognized, of course, the Cinderella plot that was the umbrella of the entire book as well as versions of The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, and Hansel & Gretel.
Incorporated into the retellings were nods to real events in history and also bits of classic literature. Alex Flinn did us well this time, you guys. So well.
4. Romance. As with most fairy tales, there is romance involved. The romance in the Emma & Lisette story is not a roll-your-eyes romance – it is fun to read. It takes twists and turns, and I found myself changing my mind on which guy and girl should end up together more than once. I admittedly didn’t see the end coming, and I actually think I may have liked being surprised. In my opinion – this time – the insta-love vs. slow-burn and love triangle questions just don’t apply because this is not one of those types of stories.
There are also small blips of romance in the fairy tale vignettes that occur throughout the breaks in the story of Emma & Lisette. As they are part of fairy tale retellings, they just need to be read as they are. They’re different than we’re used to, and they’re very entertaining, so I don’t see anyone hating on them.
As I said earlier, I loved Kendra’s character in Beastly, but I loved her even more in this book. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I cracked this one open, but Bewitching surpassed my expectations and then some. It is crafted well and written beautifully. It doesn’t sit like other series-books do – this ending is final. So if you choose to not read the next installment in the Kendra Chronicles, you will not be missing anything but a good time.
Bewitching is also written to a broad audience. I think that readers of all ages from young YA readers up to adults will enjoy this story and I found nothing objectionable on the inside. It’s just a great fairy tale story for everybody. I loved it.
Bewitching will appeal to fans of:
Fairy Tales/Fairy Tale Re-Tellings
Romance: no love triangles, no insta-love, no slow-burn
Stories with nods to Classic Literature & History
(aka Complex but Well-Crafted Story Structure)
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
is currently available for purchase.
*I borrowed this book as part of Around The World Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I received no compensation for my review.