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Orson Scott Card
Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 16.7 hours

Orson Scott Card
Born in Richland, Washington, Orson Scott Card grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as an unpaid Mormon Church missionary, and received degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine, and five children.

In an unprecedented fashion, Card won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row for Ender's Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, in 1986 and 1987.

Orson Scott Card Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Stonefather
SF Site Review: A War of Gifts
SF Site Review: Space Boy
SF Site Review: Shadow of the Giant
SF Site Review: The Crystal City
SF Site Review: Wyrms
SF Site Review: Songmaster
SF Site Review: Ender's Shadow
SF Site Review: Ender's Shadow
SF Site Review: Enchantment
SF Site Review: Heartfire
SF Site Review: Homebody

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Julie Moncton

As we outgrow our childhood, we say goodbye to many fun traditions. No longer do we believe in the Easter Bunny or hope that the Tooth Fairy will bring us gifts in the night (although some financial assistance for crowns and wisdom teeth extractions would be nice). With adulthood, we stop reading books that begin with "Once upon a time… " But, some days, when work is, well... work, and newspapers are filled with stories about the bad economy, a fairy tale seems like the perfect escape from the real world. And better than anything that Calgon has to offer, listening to the audio version of Orson Scott Card's Enchantment can really take your mind away.

Running through the forest in Russia, 10-year-old Ivan finds a beautiful sleeping woman who is magically frozen in time. Not fully believing what he sees, but still sensing danger, Ivan flees the clearing. Soon after, his family moves to the United States. Over a decade later, Ivan, now fully Westernized, returns to Russia to complete his research of Russian folklore for his graduate thesis. Although he has never mentioned it to anyone, the scene in the forest has haunted him and he returns to banish this hopefully imaginary event from his mind. Instead, he discovers the beautiful Princess Katerina, who has been asleep under a spell for hundreds of years. Ivan breaks the spell and awakens the princess with a kiss. Now all of us recognize this as the end of that classic, Sleeping Beauty, but where Disney's story ends, Enchantment is just beginning to take off. This magical fairy tale transports Ivan to 9th century Russia where Ivan must save Katerina and her kingdom from the evil Russian witch, Baba Yaga.

In Enchantment, the author has created an unusual meld of fairy tale and Russian mythology with modern day action and suspense. Part of the humor and fun in the story is the combination of medieval culture with present day society. Ivan's advanced education, intelligence and lean physique might be a magnet for women in the 20th century, but do not impress Princess Katerina, who expects men to be brawny and able to wield a broad sword, not a quill and parchment. Unlike the traditional fairy tale, the princess does not wake from her thousand year slumber in love with the man who has broken the spell. Her disdain for Ivan and the tension and sparring between the two heroes of this story add romance and humor to the charming fairy tale. Throw in some exciting and clever plot twists and you have a performance that appeals to both romance lovers and adventure addicts -- the perfect audiobook for a long car trip with someone special.

Although the book was originally published in print in 1999, the audio version was recently released in 2010 by Blackstone Audio. The combination of magical fantasy and fast paced suspense make this a superb story to enjoy in audio. The point of view shifts several times during the book, giving the reader the opportunity to hear the story from eight different people including Ivan, the princess, and even the wicked Baba Yaga. This Blackstone production features two award winning narrators, Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, who make the transition between the various points of view seamless. Both narrators give stellar performances, switching often between American, Russian and Yiddish accents. The audio book is lengthy -- over 17 hours -- but Rudnicki's soothing bass voice and de Cuir's incredible performance as both the young heroine Katerina and the old crone Baba Yaga will have you savoring every moment.

So, if life gets too hectic and you need to escape in a fairy tale, or if you are just in the mood for a well told story filled with magic, romance, and adventure, then pamper yourself with this beautiful story -- you'll be enchanted!

Copyright © 2010 Julie Moncton

Julie Moncton is one of the owners of an audio book store in San Jose, California -- a good thing since it keeps her well stocked in books to both read and listen to. You can see what books are on her shelf (or iPod) on her goodreads page.

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