The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (Not What I Was Expecting)



As a rule, I avoid anything to do with prisons. I don't read books about prison, I don't watch movies or shows about prison (including Orange Is the New Black). They are places full of evil and despair.

I was tricked, TRICKED I tell you, into reading The Enchanted. It was a Kobo Daily Deal. I looked at the cover with the pretty horses and the title suggesting fairy tales and princesses and thought I might have a magical time. I was so wrooooong!

So not about princesses. About the Worst Prison Ever.

The plot is mostly about an investigator trying to keep a man from being executed. It's told from the omnipresent point of view of another prisoner on death row. There are some other plots but this is the main one.

Some of the things I liked:

  • It's beautifully written. If you want to read a soul crushing novel about death row, The Enchanted is it. 
  • The horrible crimes of the main prisoners, the protagonists, are mostly hinted at. There are no gory details about these specific crimes, which I think was on purpose. The reader would have a hard time sympathizing otherwise.
  • There is a kinda-sorta happyish ending.

Some of the things I didn't like:

  • The brutal childhoods of so many characters.
  • Not one character escapes having some terrible thing happen to them.

There is a lot of stuff here. The lives of the prisoners were bleak before they committed their crimes. They suffered from terrible childhoods, mental illness, and poverty. They were people who were the most vulnerable. Then they did the worst things a human could do which ended with them waiting for death in the prison, where more terrible things kept happening to them. The Enchanted asks a number of impossible to answer questions. It forces you to think about what you may not want to imagine.

The Enchanted will make you feel a lot of things, not all of them good. Luckily, it's short so you will not have to endure a Cutting for Stone situation. Would I recommend it? I would but with caveats: it is violent, children are harmed. Read at your own risk, and maybe have a funny book ready for later. 

The Enchanted

13 comments:

  1. The title and cover led me to believe this was fantasy as well.

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  2. Yeah, I started this once and I was like, um, what am I reading??? So, I totally expected something completely different and never finished it. lol

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  3. This is one of those books that I felt like everyone loved, but I did not. I think expectations played into it a little. The name and cover don't seem like a great fit.

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    1. I liked it but when I read all the rave reviews on Goodreads I was really surprised. A lot of people loved it.

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  4. Reading your review makes me even more impressed you read it as a readathon selection. And kept with it. Do you think you would have appreciated it more had you not read it all in one day?

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    1. I think if I hadn't picked it up during the Readathon I would have found excuses to put it down. I kept thinking, "It's short! I can do it!"

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  5. Hahahaha, if you don't read prison books, how come you didn't stop when you figured out this was a prison book? I don't read books with rape and I will just nope right on out of there as soon as someone starts getting raped on screen.

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    1. I don't know, Jenny! I thought it was suddenly going to become something else? By the time I figured out that wasn't going to happen, I was too far in and I wanted to finish something for Readathon. It is short!

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  6. "If you want to read a soul crushing novel about death row, The Enchanted is it." Now there's an endorsement! ;)

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  7. Books that make you think about hard questions are few and far between, this one sounds very challenging. thanks for your review.

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