Enchantress from the Stars

Enchantress from the Stars

4.1 21
by Sylvia Engdahl
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Enchantress from the Stars was originally published in 1970 and became a Newbery Honor Book. Luckily for me, 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.

Elana's family are members of the Federation Anthropological Service. Federation members have a lifelong obligation to not let themselves be discovered as aliens on the worlds they visit. Elana is a stowaway during her father's mission to stop a space-faring civilization from colonizing the planet on which the primitive Andrecian live. When a field agent is killed in the line of duty, young Elana takes her vows into the Federation and joins her father in the field. What follows is the young girl's realization that her actions could have drastic effects on the other two civilizations.

Other perspectives come from Jarel, a sensitive medic who joined the Imperial Exploration Corps that plans on colonizing Andrecia. He was excited to help his people expand their glorious civilization, until he saw that his people treated the natives like animals. Georyn is a native Andrecian whose people view the Imperial colonists as evil trespassers.

Elana comes to learn that, even though these people are more primitive than she is, they need to be dealt with on their own terms. This novel is both an enchanting coming-of-age story and a compelling moral lesson that teaches respect for other cultures. (Sierra Phillips)

Madeleine L'Engle
I'm delighted to see Sylvia Louise Engdahl's marvelous science fantasy Enchantress From the Stars back in print.
Nancy Farmer
I found it a thoroughly entertaining read.
Ursula LeGuin
An original and charming exercise of one of fiction's finest prerogatives, getting into other skins and seeing through (literally) alien eyes.
Children's Literature
This is an updated version of a classic book that has not lost anything over the years. An advanced civilization has sent a spaceship on what amounts to a quest—to find a planet whose inhabitants are "primitive," and without revealing themselves as star voyagers, to keep the planet safe from the less-advanced Empire whose society seeks to dominate the universe. Then the plot gets more interesting and a good deal more complicated. The Empire has already sent a ship of colonists who plan to establish an outpost of their civilization. To its military commander, as well as the colonists, the natives aren't even human. The Empire's mechanical expertise has made its people unwilling to accept the peaceful magic¾advanced abilities¾of the most advanced group. There is a teenage heroine from the advanced civilization and a young primitive man she meets by chance. Somehow the story comes together. A good guy from the Empire realizes the natives are actually people. The heroine and her father bend their rules, the doctor expands his mind and all ends well. Questions are posed for the reader, such as, what do we really think about civilization, peace, education, promises to friends, vows to society? When can a society of primitive "people" begin to claim to be human? Is wiping out subhuman groups ever right? By whose standards? The book's rather old-fashioned style brings good grammar and pleasant manners to modern readers who are used to casual profanity and sexual encounters. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, in the Dillons' inimitable style, are just hints of what is going on. Highly recommended. 2001 (orig. 1976), Walker and Company, $18.95. Ages 10 to 15.Reviewer: Judy Silverman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142500378
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/24/2003
Series:
Firebird Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
321,943
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

Enchantress from the Stars


By Sylvia Engdahl

Puffin Books

Copyright © 2003 Sylvia Engdahl
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0142500372


Chapter One



The Mission


At the edge of the Enchanted Forest there lived a poor woodcutter who had four sons, the youngest of whom was named Georyn. They were able to earn a meager living by selling wood to the folk of the village, and although there was seldom more than dry bread or thin gruel on their table, they were not miserable.

    Yet the brothers, as they grew to manhood, found little satisfaction in their lot. Often, as they toiled at the hewing of a tree on the outskirts of the wood, they stopped to watch the huntsmen of the King ride by to hunt in the Enchanted Forest, which their father had forbidden them to enter. And the eldest son would say, "Ah, if I but had the power of the King and a hundred servants to do my bidding!" And the next brother would laugh and reply, "Myself, I would settle for the King's treasure, for gold buys all that a man could wish for." And the next would tell them, "You are both fools, but if a man could win a fair bride such as the King's daughter, he would be well content."

    Georyn, the youngest, would say nothing; yet in his own heart he would whisper, "Had I the wisdom of the King and his councillors, I would not be merely a woodcutter, and indeed I would not be hungry, nor would the villagers. And I would know the secret of the Enchanted Forest and be free to hunt there, and someday I might go even beyond it!"

    Now to that country there came a time of great sorrow, for on the far side of the Enchanted Forest there appeared a monstrous Dragon that breathed fire, and its roaring could be heard far and wide over the land; and many folk fled in terror, fearing that their homes would be laid waste. Many of the King's huntsmen went to fight the Dragon, yet the Dragon remained and no men returned.

    At last the King sent forth a decree, and in every village it was proclaimed: whosoever should free the land of the terrible Dragon would be given whatever reward his heart should desire, even to a half of the kingdom. Yet the people were afraid. If the King's own huntsmen had failed, how could mere villagers face the monster and kill it? And few men entertained thoughts of the King's reward.

    But the woodcutter's sons had dreamed long of possessing such as the King could give, and they begged their father for permission to travel to the King and ask his blessing in the quest. The woodcutter himself, however, opposed them. "Even to enter the Enchanted Forest is death for such as you!" he cried. "Yet you talk of dragons! I forbid it; you shall not go."

    The three elder brothers went angrily to their beds and whispered far into the night, making plans to disobey their father and set out together at first light, for they believed their valor equal to that of nobles and huntsmen. But Georyn talked further with the woodcutter, asking, "Why should it be death to enter the Forest, when the King and his followers have hunted there since before I was born?"

    "As I have often told you," replied the woodcutter, "the Enchanted Forest is the home of evil spirits, who have laid a curse on all who go there, though they dare not touch the King's companions, This was true even before the Dragon appeared to ravage our land."

    "Then if the King should send us, they would not touch us either."

    "Perhaps not. But how could you hope to slay the Dragon, you who have never before held a sword? It is impossible, Georyn."

    Now Georyn knew this, for though he was quite as brave as his brothers, he was not so foolish as to consider himself abler than the King's huntsmen at killing. But these men had failed, and if they had failed then perhaps the Dragon could not be killed with a sword at all. "There may be a way to overcome the monster, Father," he said. "But it will not be found by those who fear it! I can have no happiness until I have at least tried."

    And so at last, seeing that he could not dissuade them, the woodcutter allowed his sons to seek the aid of the King. They set forth the next morning, following the river that circled the wood. When they had gone but a short distance, they came to a fork in the path: one way kept to the course of the stream, while the other led to the King's castle by a shorter route, through the forest.

    "Let us take the quickest way," said the eldest brother.

    "That would not be wise," protested Georyn. "That way leads directly into the Enchanted Forest."

    His brothers laughed, saying, "What, do you believe such foolishness? Do you fear that we will be bewitched?"

    "Not all tales of enchantment are foolish ones," replied Georyn. "There will be a time when we must challenge that which lies within the Forest, but to do so now, unnecessarily, would be no better than folly. We have no knowledge of what we face."

    Thereupon the brothers stopped and debated; for they remembered that they had indeed heard fearsome tales of the Enchanted Forest, and they were not anxious to test the truth of them. So at length they were persuaded to take the familiar way, and for the rest of that day they continued along the river bank. It was a bright, springtime morning; the leaves were young and green, the water sparkled in the sunlight, and as the young men walked, they whistled.

    When the sun had sunk low behind the dark profiles of the fir trees, however, the Forest beyond the river loomed larger, both in the brothers' eyes and in their thoughts. The foaming roar of the water seemed less cheering, and upon the opposite shore a faint trace of mist began to form. And then it was that the brothers came upon a small stone hut, which surprised them greatly, for it had not been there in the past when they had cut wood near that place. As they were wondering at this, a tall, dark-haired maiden stepped forth from the hut; and the woodcutter's sons stood silent in amazement and awe, for she was unlike any mortal maiden they had ever seen, and they knew at once that she was an enchantress.


I was not supposed to be in the landing party at all—I was supposed to be studying. That was part of the bargain when Father decided we should go in the first place; I agreed to prepare for First Phase exams on shipboard, to make up for the time I would be missing at the Academy. For that matter, the Academy itself wouldn't have granted me leave on any other basis. Father's wish was enough to get us passage, since the starship was to make a stop at the world on which our family reunion's to be held, but even that wouldn't have carried much weight with the Dean.

    A Service starship is a good place to study; you have lots of free time at your disposal, especially if you are neither part of a survey team nor a member of the crew. But who wants to study all the time? I had never been off my home world before; since I'm from a Service family, even entering the Academy hadn't meant a trip for me. And I was dying to see something! I knew that I would not be permitted to accompany any regular team for a long time. So when the Andrecian situation came up and Father was appointed Senior Agent to handle it, I begged him to take me with him.

    "It's out of the question, Elana," he said gravely. "We are not going on a sightseeing trip. You know that."

    "Evrek's going!"

    "Evrek has completed Third Phase; he has taken the Oath. He's ready for a field assignment, and while I wouldn't have chosen a thing like this for his first one, it's his job."

    It was true enough that Evrek and I were not really in the same category any more. The Oath makes a difference, personally as well as officially; since Evrek was sworn, I'd hardly known him. Practically from the moment of his investiture, which had taken place only a few days before we left home, he had seemed changed in some subtle way that I couldn't quite define. One thing was sure: it wasn't only the new white uniform. Agents don't wear their uniforms anyway, except on dress occasions.



Continues...


Excerpted from Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl Copyright © 2003 by Sylvia Engdahl. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Sylvia Louise Engdahl is the author of the Newbery Honor book Enchantress from the Stars. She currently lives in Oregon. You can visit Sylvia online at www.sylviaengdahl.com.

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Enchantress from the Stars 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
savedbythecross More than 1 year ago
Enchantress From the Stars Book Review Think about all of the fairy tales that you have ever read. Most of the fairy tales that I know about involve a hero who slays an evil dragon that is endangering someone or something. Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl is an intriguing story about three very different people and how they put a twist on the traditional fairy tale. Elana, Georyn, and Jarel, are all from different planets and are all at different levels of advancement. Jarel is more advanced than Georyn (Georyn is the least advanced) but less advanced than Elana (Elana is the most advanced. Jarel's planet is trying to take over Georyn's planet. Elana is working with a group who are trying to find a diplomatic solution to the battle going on between Georyn's and Jarel's planets. Georyn thinks that Jarel and his people are taking over his planet (Andrecia) using a dragon. The "dragon" is actually a giant machine that is being used to destroy the forest of Andrecia. Georyn leaves his home and his life to go "slay" the dragon* "When Georyn at last beheld the dragon, the sight was more fearful than anything of which he had ever dreamt." Page 252. Along the way he meets Elana who teaches him how to use telepathy to defeat the "dragon". Georyn thinks that this telepathy is magic and that Elana is an "enchantress" that gets her magic from an pendant she wears* "The Enchantress, following his gaze, raised her hand to the pendant and touched it; both Georyn and Terwyn (Georyn's brother) stepped back in awe. Lady, I see now the source of your power," said Georyn respectfully." page 69 and 70. When Georyn's training is finally complete, it is time for him to finally face the dragon. However, during his training he and Elana fell in love. So, Elana accompanied him on his journey to defeat the dragon and restore peace to Andrecia. While they are traveling however, they get captured and turned into the "dragon owners" (Jarel's people). While Jarel is guarding Elana, she tries to persuade him into freeing her and Georyn so that they can defeat the dragon. Jarel sincerely wants to help Andrecia (even though he would be considered a traitor to his people) but he never had an opportunity, now he does. I rated Enchantress from the Stars three out of five planets because this book's ending was a bit long and drawn out. It also wasn't very action packed or adventurous. However, this book is very romantic and interesting so it was definitely worth reading. I would recommend this book to more advanced readers, such as teens in junior high or even high school. Enchantress from the Stars is a very complex story involving many different plots and characters. So, to sum this all up Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl is a wonderful story full of love and ideas. Look for it now in a library near you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a year ago and ever since I've been trying to find it. It's not very often that you come across a story that can combine fantasy and science fiction so well, and I have never read a book that combines three different societies and could happen in any time or place. I absolutely loved it and will read it over and over again. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a story that will change the way you think of the world around you. Amazing story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. At first I was confused if I was reading Science Fiction or Fantasy, but then it began to make sense as I read on. This book really made me think about the human race and our effect on the planet/universe. How would we react if there are other habital planets out there?
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a good book as whole about keeping secrets and sacred codes. It was also very intellectual as well, but I found myself bored at bits. It didn't have enough reall action. Also I didn't find myself as connected to the characters as I usually am. Great for Science Fiction fans and less for fantastical and action fans like myself. But one definite plus about it is it's cover art. It is simply a stunning peice of work. An overall good book but needs a little more spice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is my favorite it has been ever since I got it, which was years ago. It's just so. . . dreamy, fantastic, but both the eight-year-old and the teenager in me love it. It's hard to read twice in a row, but ever few months I rediscover it in my neverending pile of books and read straight through it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really makes you think about how all the myths of these times evolved. Really great book, I'm reading it the 2nd time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is so enchanting. You like stories that have suspense in them....this is your story. It is written beautifully, and I shall cherish this book 4ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! the only thing wrong with it is it was a very tiny bit slow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book! I just read it for the first time. It's hard to belive that it was first published so long ago. The story is full of life and meaning that is very real for our world today. I look forward to reading more of her books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This captivating and beautifully written story is as delightful read. I simply couldn't put it down! The perfect mix of magical quests, fire-breathing mechanical beasts and advanced civilizations leaves reader wanting to find out more about Elana, Georyn and Jarel. The characters are so real, their thoughts and emotions are portrayed so vividly! A great book, a must read for any fantasy and scince fiction fan! I would give it six stars, if it were possible: a super outstanding book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the first SCI-FI I ever read when I was in Elementary school in the late 70's and is greatly responsible for a life long addiction to, I mean habit of reading SCI-FI. I last tried to find information about it in the early 90's and didn't find much. I'm really excited to stumble across it being back in print.
Yay-D More than 1 year ago
Think of this as the perfect explanation to fairy tales! This book was so original and intriguing I could not stop reading it! The characters were spot-on and the plot was flawless. The twists of the books were perhaps somewhat predictable but still amazing! I recommend it to anybody who loves sci-fi and fantasy and the rare times that they are combined in a feast for the eyes!
Readinista More than 1 year ago
Although originally published in 1970, Enchantress from the Stars has a surprisingly modern feel to it. Aside for the book cover, it would fit right in with today¿s books. Enchantress from the Stars is a unique mix of science fiction meets fantasy. Engdahl seamlessly combines a technologically advanced alien race with a world set in a medieval era while creating a story that is timeless and appealing to all ages. A destructive alien race called the Imperials have settled on the planet of Andrecia to exploit it¿s resources and displace it¿s less advanced people. This isn¿t the first time this race has invaded other planets and their actions have attracted the attention of another alien race even more advanced than they are. To stop the Imperials, a team of agents from this advanced race is sent to Andrecia to reverse the Imperials¿ invasion without harm to all sides. Only the team cannot stop the Imperials themselves, they have to work with the natives to stop save Andrecia. The book alternates perspectives giving you an understanding of all sides; Andrecian, Imperial, and the team of Agents. The main character and primary narrator is Elana, a current student at the Academy learning about Youngling planets. She naively stows away on a spaceship to be apart of her father¿s mission to save the planet of Andrecia. Her lack of training is a problem and against the rules but the team has to make the mission work with Elana. Along with her father and her boyfriend, Evrick, the team works together to find a native or natives suited for the job of stopping the Imperials. Georwyn, Terwyn, and their brothers are young native men walking through the enchanted forest on a mission to slay the dragon (which is actually an Imperial machine that mines the planet¿s resources). They seek the reward that the King offers in return for slaying the dragon. While hunting the dragon, they encounter an old man with magical abilities and an enchantress who offers advice in slaying the dragon. Of all the brothers, Georwyn proves himself to be wise beyond his years and well suited for the challenge of slaying the dragon. Jeral is a medic for the Imperials and after his coworkers kill and imprison natives, he starts to second guess his mission. He¿s been told that the natives of Andrecia are not really human and therefore their actions to take over the planet are justified. As the mission goes on, he sees more in more that the people of this planet are human and he no longer wants anything to do with the mission. Enchantress from the Stars is a well written, original, and heartwarming story. In addition, the audiobook narrator told this story beautifully. It¿s even a won a few awards. With that said, I have to say that I didn¿t love it but also I didn¿t hate it. It isn¿t a book that pulls you in and never lets you go but more so an enjoyable read that you can easily put down and pick up again later. Overall, I really to do recommend others give Enchantress from the Stars a try. Engdahl went on to write a second book featuring Elana called The Far Side of Evil, which takes places on a completely different planet and has a completely different feel.
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This book is one of my favorites. I just bought it and read it for the first time because Lois Lowry wrote a foreword to it so I knew I would enjoy it. This is a great science-fantasy book!
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MusicGirl320 More than 1 year ago
Enchantress from the Stars I'm reading Enchantress from the Stars. I chose this book because it looked like a high-level read and it looked like it had a fantasy-science fiction genre. Usually I don't like science fiction genre books, but this book also throws in a little fantasy. Enchantress from the Stars is about three worlds. Each world has their own level of technology. For instance, the highest level world can travel through the galaxy and use psycho kinesis, or move things with their minds. Conversely, the lowest level world, the Youngling world, is still in medieval times and believes in dragons. The intermediate level world is taking over the Youngling world. The highest level world is helping the Youngling world take back their planet. There are four people from the highest level world helping the Youngling world. The four people are Everk, Ilura, Elana, and Elana's father. In the story, Elana is not supposed to be on the Youngling planet, but when Ilura dies Elana must take her place on the mission. While defeating the intermediate planet, Elana falls in love with a boy from the Youngling planet. As their love for each other blossoms, they must put their feelings a side to defeat the dragon. The conclusion to this novel will take your breath away. I give three out of five stars because this book uses high level ideas but, tended to drag on in descriptive parts and start to bore me. I recommend has their Enchantress from the Stars for middle school readers interested.