Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog Tour for The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Enchanted
Author: Rene Denfeld (website)(Facebook)
Rating: 4 of 5

Goodreads summary:

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

"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.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate. I loved the beautiful writing but left it thinking that I didn't quite "get it" as a whole. The line between the reality and fantasy was always blurred which left me feeling a bit off sometimes.

Denefeld does an excellent job with the writing and the characters are quite varied. I enjoyed the fact that only the killers on death row were named and the others were only spoken of by description. It made it feel even more harsh.

The setting is beyond harsh and it was awful to read about. As you learn more of the stories of the inmates, it is so difficult to hate them. You hate what they did but it seems like you can see more why they did it. I thought that this controversial plot line was pretty balanced. It never felt like it was preaching one way or the other which is a testament to her writing ability.

The one thing that I didn't like with the "love story" subplot because it didn't feel real to me and I wasn't rooting for it. It seemed more of a plot device to bring the story to a satisfying and more "beautiful" conclusion.

I'd like to revisit it and wish that I had a person to talk to about it in person as there were a couple of points that I'm just not sure about. Overall I enjoyed it - if "enjoying" a book about death row is possible. I'll definitely pick up another Denfeld book because of the writing.


  1. I've read a few pages of this one, and the writing style is awesome!!! Love the feel of it. Methinks it could be a great Readathon book.

  2. "You hate what they did but it seems like you can see more why they did it." I love it when an author can make me feel for unlikable characters and understand them better.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. This one sounds intense! Learning about inmates and seeing more into why they did things sounds like it could be upsetting but interesting. The writing sounds very nice though!


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