Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nostalgia Review:: Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card

Title: Enchantment
Author: Orson Scott Card
Format: Kindle
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Still good?
No. Just... no. no. no. no.

Considering reading this? Go read Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente instead. Just trust me on it. Or don't.

Who would have guessed that a (Russian, for some reason) retelling of Sleeping Beauty written by Orson Scott Card of all people would be sexist? I did! But I had fond childhood memories of the book, so I decided I'd reread it. Oh, past me. What do you have against future me?

Where to start...? I'm so angry at this book that the review is actually difficult to write.

So, there's this weird obsession with marriage because it's Sleeping Beauty and when you wake up the princess, you have to marry her. But he's a modern man and wants to have a proper wedding where she loves you. Which is fine and good... if there weren't this recurring idea that marriage is about children.

Which might be fine, if a bit gross, if we didn't know that a character was bad, evil, and wrong because she might not want children. There's a line that I failed to highlight that basically is the mother lamenting that it used to be so sad when a woman was barren, but now women could choose to be barren.

Here, have some a quote:
Sophia was not going to have a man doing women's work in her house. It was against nature.
No, this isn't set in the past. This is a quote from a modern day portion of the book. There is no past involved yet. A man doing chores is against nature.

You can't make the past too bad:
Apparently women were not so oppressed as they would become in later centuries.
It just makes writing it so awkward.

There's also a weird subplot about religion where as a kid his parents converted to Judaism for visas, although his mom was kind of a Jew already but actually practiced magic, and then he had to convert to Christianity in order to marry the princess and there's a lot of just really weird and uncomfortable fixation on it for no point. There's also the ancient Christianity bit that just feels weird.

It's kind of hard to put into words why this book rubbed me the wrong way so often except that the prose just had all this sexism built into it. "Protecting an uncorrupted woman on a pedestal." "A woman could lie there and get the job done." "Ruth asserted her female power."

There are also a lot of discussions about rape and what constitutes it, but the male protag just decides he knows the answer, rather than talking this over with her. Consent is not built on falling in love. It's built on actually talking about this shit.

Oh, and there's a character with a withered leg. That's handled well, as one might expect.

Anyway, this book is awful and made me angry and angrier and angry. Again, go read Deathless. You'll have a better time.

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