Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
From the description:
The moment young Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay as still as death–while a malevolent presence stirred in the hidden depths below.
Now, years later, Ivan is compelled to return. He finds the clearing just as he left it. This time he does not run . . .
Found this book at a half-price bookstore on their dollar rack. Only reason I picked it up was the bf was telling me about his favorite author’s “Ender” series, Orson Scott Card. The mystery, mythology and old childhood themes in Enchantment caught my eye (it didn’t hurt that the book was a dollar, right up my cheapskate little heart’s alley.)
Card does an exceptionally good job weaving childhood themes, stories like Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, a King and kingdom, witches, warlocks/wizards and so forth. He describes action in and around the Ukraine, the United States, whipping the readers around while the early century wicked witch learns about flight, credit cards and so forth.
The characters are well-developed, from the title character’s studying ancient ukrainian mythology (!) to his father’s lifelong teaching at college, his mother’s hidden white magic both from the old country to their followed land. His mother’s side has a long line of white witches and a kind of coven.
He travels to the ancient magic land courtesy of a sleeping beauty, cursed by baba yaga and a huge black bear, enchanted by said witch. Past and present intertwine into a beautifully told story.
I would recommend Enchantment to anyone into mythology, old tales, witchcraft stories and so forth. There is literally, something for everyone.
Card’s Enchantment certainly deserves 5 stars.