Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: March 3, 2009 from Bloomsbury
Best Enjoyed by: Females, 10 - 14
-In this Cinderella-like story, Lucinda Chapdelaine, once rich and surrounded with happiness, is living with her Uncle and [evil] Aunt in a jewelry shop, now an orphan. Everything changes dramatically when the Amaranth Witch and her precious gem enter Lucinda's life. Her Aunt believes it is cursed, although Lucinda plans on keeping the gem for her Uncle to fix so they get money. But another twist leads to Lucinda alone and making a dangerous deal with the Witch. If she succeeds, she gets her house and wealth. If she doesn't, she will live her life on the streets. Along the way Lucinda will encounter a master at thieving, a handsome prince, and the terrible truth of what happened to her parents.
-While the Cinderella roots are noticeable, what I really liked about The Amaranth Enchantment was that it had its own spin on the story and added quite a few twists.
For the most part, the characters were well developed, Lucinda more so than the others. The only character I thought who was done poorly was Gregor. To me, he had no personality or appeal whatsoever. I had no idea why he did what he did. His motives were thoroughly blocked from Lucinda's perspective.
Lucinda, however, I liked. I will be honest. I couldn't stand Cinderella ― or most of the Disney princesses for that matter ― as a child. They were all so two-dimensional (I'm not talking literally here). But Lucinda wasn't. She had personality and voice and emotions. She was adventurous and daring, emanating girl power. (Which is why I think she shouldn't have ended up with Mr. No Personality.) Julie Berry's writing – another thing I really, really liked – was perfect for her.
Overall I enjoyed The Amaranth Enchantment. It had its own spin on the Cinderella tale, which was nice. Lucinda is definitely a well developed character and you'll be surprised by the various twists the story takes. Anyone who likes fairy-tale retellings should pick up this book and, while this was categorized under Young Adult, I think it will also appear to "tween" girls as well.