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Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl

Enchantress from the Stars (1970)

by Sylvia Engdahl

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9971913,161 (4.1)2 / 33



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English (18)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I got halfway through this before I gave up (I'm 53 now, life is too short to keep reading books one's not enjoying!)

It could have been titled "Ode to Mansplaining" as the all-knowing father goes on for pages, chapter after chapter, hectoring his daughter about stuff that she ought to know (to be fair, she doesn't seem to know the stuff she ought to know, but that's another issue!) The viewpoint is split for the most part between the characters who think they're in a fantasy, and the characters who know they're in a sci-fi novel, but you get nothing added from the other viewpoint--the SF characters know exactly what the fantasy characters are thinking, so reading their viewpoint is redundant.

Other nits: I'm sure a "higher" civilization (itself an outmoded concept) can come up with better ways to save a planet than this screwy plan, the main protagonist is apparently of marriageable/university age, but acts/thinks/feels about 10, nobody's actually interesting (apparently they find each other interesting, but for no clear reason), and an early death is dispensed with / accepted so casually as to put one off our supposed heroes right away (and was also stupid).

So mostly, I found it annoying, although I imagine it seemed radical in its day "Hey, kids, other people's cultures are valuable and you shouldn't colonize them!")

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s) ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
This is a SF book which explores different levels of civilization and the relationships between them. There is the Federation, which is so advanced that they try to watch over the other planets, the Empire, which is advanced enough to be spreading to new planets, but which looks at other less advanced civilizations as not being human, and the Andrecians, who live in a basically feudal society that has not yet discovered much in the way of advanced technology. And yet the main characters in the book often cross these boundaries, helping to advance their own ideas of civilization. I liked the anthropological aspects of it, and the ideas of science vs magic. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
  GretchenLynn | Jan 31, 2018 |
I was young when I read this, I had not had training as a critical theorist or on postcolonialism and I still picked up on all the problematic issues this book chooses to romanticize.

A young woman defies the rules of her space travelling culture to help the people of a world they are visiting (as far as I remember for "benevolent" observation). She does this because she falls in love with one of the locals. Not this young man or any other of the natives are presented as intelligent capable human beings, since their level of technology does not allow them to participate in what is really going on and even the brave lady does not think she should treat her beloved as an equal and let him know what is going on. Instead she wisens up and decides to paternalistically protect his little head from the shock of an advanced civilization, also abandoning him in the process. Not like you can EXPLAIN interstellar travel!

So... all in all, left a terrible taste in my brain and it's been more than a decade since I read it. ( )
  askajnaiman | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is a good example of a science fiction novel because it has some parts of the human race, from a different planet, much more advanced than where we are now and most of the rest of the universe. When the Imperials arrive on a youngling planet three service members must stop their destruction of the natives. By training two young native men they teach them how to use mind tricks by convincing them it's sorcery.
I would use this book when teaching about the point of view, this changes three times in the book and is a great example.
I would use this book also when teaching students about conflict.
Genre: Science Fiction
Media: None
  Jazmyn96 | Apr 15, 2016 |
Ten to fifteen years after reading this book, I still remember the scene in which the anthropologist-from-the-stars gives the woodcutter-who-believes-in-magic orange soda, and he's like "magic elixer!" Hah! Loved this story of high technology and low meeting--it's kinda a Prime Directive parable. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
"This is a wonderfully complex story that weaves together three different narratives, exposing three different levels of cultural development. Walker’s new edition of this long out-of-print title now has a gorgeous cover by Leo and Diane Dillon."
added by SylviaE | editBook Sense 76: Science Fiction and Fantasy Rediscoveries (Nov 1, 2001)
"Now reissued in an elegant new edition ... this novel is science fantasy at its best, using the setting of an imagined world to challenge our thinking about our own world. Both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining."
added by SylviaE | editHorn Book, Terri Schmitz (Sep 1, 2001)
"Not just a novel for young adults but also one of the finest sf novels ever written--a classic of the genre. The only possible complaint one can make is that, after finishing it, you will likely find yourself disinclined for a while to pick up anything else in the genre for fear it will, as it were, taste of ashes. In sum, it is almost impossible to convey how good this book is. Please just read it."
added by SylviaE | editInfinityPlus, John Grant (May 1, 2001)
"Engdahl's thoughtful and enjoyable story has been republished for a whole new generation to discover. The story has a subtle allegorical premise that is still valid even after all this time. Engdahl successfully weaves a beautiful story from the perspectives of three distinct civilizations at three different levels of technological maturity.... Both an enchanting coming-of-age story and a compelling moral lesson that teaches respect for other cultures."
added by SylviaE | editBarnes and Noble Review, Sierra Phillips (Mar 1, 2001)
"Sylvia Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars is a much more sophisticated book: a book about people, not gadgets or lizardoids.... The huge themes of love, respect for individuals and for cultures in all their diversity, colonialism, the responsibilities of power, and the effect of self-confidence on our ability to do things, are subtly embodied in the action. This is a fascinating novel, likely to appeal to a thoughtful 14 or 15 year old rather than to younger readers."
added by SylviaE | editThe Teacher (London) (Apr 4, 1975)

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sylvia Engdahlprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowry, LoisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shackell, RodneyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother
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The planet shines below us, cloud-flecked, dazzling against the dark backdrop of space.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142500372, Paperback)

Elana, a member of an interstellar civilization on a mission to a medieval planet, becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back an invasion. How can she help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, without revealing her own alien powers? At the same time, Georyn, the son of an Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a dragon in the enchanted forest, and he must defeat it. He sees Elana as the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy. One of the few science fiction books to win a Newbery Honor, this novel will enthrall teenage and adult readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When young Elana unexpectedly joins the team leaving the spaceship to study the planet Andrecia, she becomes an integral part of an adventure involving three very different civilizations, each one centered on the third planet from the star in its own solar system.

» see all 3 descriptions

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Average: (4.1)
1 4
2 9
2.5 5
3 17
3.5 6
4 49
4.5 10
5 70

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