About My Book Reviews

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Enchanted

Author: Rene Denfeld

Published: 2014

Genre: Literary Fiction

Grade Level: Adult

-Trigger Warning: violence, sexual violence, child abuse... Just plan on being emotionally scarred while reading.

-Movie Rating: R

Blurb (from goodreads):

This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it, but I do.

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Top Notch

Is you’re looking for something different, something a bit experimental and off the beat and path, this would be it. It’s one of those books that will never be popular because not everyone is going to get it. But for those who do, they’re not going to understand why it isn’t more popular.

It’s written in a very abstract way. So, I would definitely read a few sample pages first to see if this is the kind of thing that you would enjoy.

Personally, I love it. Absolutely love it. Each sentence is given an extreme amount of care and attention in its creation, and it is noticeable from the start.

For example: You can sense the gentle caress of rain on your face and how laughter sounds in the open air, all the things those of us in this dungeon can never feel.

However, because I’m a very black and white sort of person, there were several times throughout the book that had me wondering whether the MC was being literal or figurative. There were also times that I couldn’t quite make out what the MC was trying to say...

For example: We know that kindness rules with the fist and chains rule with a turn of the sky, that all seek punishment, over and over again, until the body and mind are satisfied and we die.

Characters: Memorable

Most of the characters were never really given a name. It was mostly ‘the lady’ or ‘the priest.’ And, at first, I thought that meant they were supposed to be symbols of some sort, but the characterization was too detailed for them to be symbols instead of actual characters.

I feel like I got to know them, but not in the intimate way that I’m used to. I think that was the whole point behind her characters, that they don’t know how to show you who they truly are because of their traumatic childhoods. And I think it's genius the way it was done.

Plot: Slow Burn

Pros: There was a massive amount of suspense built into this novel. There were several story lines going on at the same time and it was written in such a way that you never quite knew which plot line was going to progress no matter which character was in the foreground.

Cons: I’m just not a fan of the method used to build it. It’s not a book you can pick up, set back down, and pick back up again. Reading it in huge chunks is the only way to go. It almost felt like the plot lines were put into a jar, shaken up, and slapped back down onto the table. I don’t mind if things are presented in a slightly different order, but constantly going back and forth in time between several characters was taxing to me instead of enjoyable.

Nonetheless, I simply had to know the ending.

Overall: Enjoyable

Overall, I think this is the strangest book I’ve ever read. I thought this was going to be about prison in a fantasy world, but it is definitely not in a fantasy world no matter how many times it talks about golden horses. I loved the way it was written, I just wish the messaging was spread throughout the book rather than just on the very last page. I felt the plot was taxing to follow, but engaging nonetheless.

Nurture over nature
Love conquers all

Goodreads Rating: 3 out of 5 stars