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Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson

Evaluation of Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson




Katie Chandler is 26, and just about as normal as people come. Katie, the protagonist of Enchanted Inc by Shanna Swendson, decided one day to move from her one street town in Texas to New York. People had always told her that New York is filled with strange and wonderful things, but when she starts seeing talking gargoyles, fairies flying around Grand Central Station, and Elves that look like they walked straight out of Middle Earth she begins to wonder just how strange New York really is. One day she receives a mysterious job offer and before she knows it, Katie is thrown into the middle of the magical world-just days after finding out that it exists. Enchanted Inc is thrilling, with its well developed world, enchanting characters, and humor. Rated four and a half stars by Barnes and Noble, it is a quality book appealing to lots of crowds.

The magical world that Swendson creates is fresh and yet familiar. Magic is the common theme throughout much of the world’s literature, and people love it. Katie Chandler is no different when she discovers that magic exists, and is all too real sometimes. Katie is immune to magic; she doesn’t have a single drop of magical blood in her. This makes it impossible for magic to affect her in anyway, letting her see past illusions set up to hide magic, magical creatures, and magical locations from the general public. Setting up the world like this (magic being very real, but un-noticeable by everyone save those in the magical community) makes the book accessible. The Harry Potter series is the same way. J.K. Rowling set up the magical world so that it is easy to put yourself in the characters places because they are so similar to ones that we would experience daily. Katie’s world is believable, and we find ourselves wanting to stand next to her, seeing the things that she does. You can easily imagine yourself walking down the streets of New York City and having magic right there in front of you, prevalent in your life.

Something risky that Swendson gets away with is mentioning other fantasy books and worlds. The book has references to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter several times, and while I think that in other cases it might not work and would just end up seeming like cheating, it works wonderfully in Enchanted Inc. The references are few enough, and far between that they aren’t obnoxious and in your face, but are present enough for the occasional joke or image. And in the book’s world where there is so much of the outside world is included, it seems only natural that the two biggest fantasy pop culture books make an appearance a few times.

The characters in Enchanted Inc are brilliant, captivating, and fun. Katie, the beloved Texan, is charming and witty, but not a Mary-Sue*. She is a real character who acts just like a normal person. When you read her thoughts you can easily connect them to something you or a friend would say. That’s how all of the characters in this book are: real. You feel like they exist in the people you know; your stylish best friend is Gemma, you know a guy who tries to be something he isn’t like Rod, or the annoying science nerd is the ever scheming Phelan Idris. And I found myself wishing that a particular character was real; the attractive wizard, Owen Palmer who befriends Katie when she starts working at MSI (Magic, Spells, and Incantations Inc.). His black hair, fair skin, and dark blue eyes aren’t the only things that make him a more than interesting character. Owen is a kind person, caring and genuine, with power beyond what Katie can imagine. She thinks he’s almost too good to be true. However, as the book progresses, Owen becomes more human; he can’t talk to people very easily-save those closest to him-and he doesn’t seem to have the knack of falling for the heroin in the obvious way that so many obnoxious book characters do these days. All in all, Swendson does a grand job of creating good, well rounded characters that please the readers and satisfy their need for a touch on reality.

The humor in this book is fantastic. If you aren’t laughing at one point or another while reading it then you need to lighten up and enjoy life. Swendson has a way to bring a joke into any part of her story, but she also knows the importance of description and building up to the climax. The pictures that run through my mind as I read are vivid and bona fide. I can clearly picture each character and setting, without the descriptions getting in the way of smooth reading. And throughout the whole book you can feel the importance of the details that flow right along with the build of intensity. The rise to the climax is exciting, with different attacks, surprises, and dialogue that leaves you pondering the events as if they truly were happening. Though, for all the hype built previous to the climax, it didn’t seem quite as satisfying as I had hoped. Not to say that it was bad, for it was still captivating, but it lasted a mere 8 and a ½ pages out of the 308 total. I was looking forward to a huge showdown between the good guys and bad guys, but instead there was a small skirmish, some paper signing, and short-but nasty-farewells.

The resolution Swendson presents is happy, satisfying, but not so much so that we’re satisfied without reading the next book. As the first book in the series it does its job of setting up the world and characters, and then leading us onto the path of wanting more.



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