Read Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl Lois Lowry Leo Dillon Diane Dillon Online


The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerousThe Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back the invasion of Andrecia by an aggressive, space faring Youngling civilization. How can she possibly help the Andrecians who still believe in magic and superstition, against a force armed with advanced technology, without revealing her alien powers? Apprentice Medical Officer Jarel wishes that the planet the Imperial Exploration Corps have chosen to colonize didn't have a "humanoid" population already living on it. The invaders don't consider the Andrecians to be human and Jarel has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people. How can he make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction that is people bring? Georyn, the youngest son of a poor Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a terrible dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it. In his mind, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy of defeating the dragon and its powerful minions. Despite both Elana's and Jarel's inner turmoil, Georyn's burden is by far the heaviest. Ultimately, he must pit his innocent faith in the magic of his Enchantress from the Stars against foes who have come from a world beyond his comprehension....

Title : Enchantress from the Stars
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802787644
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Enchantress from the Stars Reviews

  • Sylvia
    2019-04-01 11:26

    This is my best-known novel. Though often given to children as young as the 6th grade because it was a Newbery Honor book, it is really intended for teens and is also enjoyed by many adults.

  • Brenda Clough
    2019-04-16 15:32

    When I was a young teen I found this book in the early 70s, in the shipboard library on the USS Woodrow Wilson. I was utterly enthralled, and saved up until I could buy my own copy -- my very first hardback fiction purchase! I still have that volume, which introduced me to SF and probably got me where I am today. Yes, it's that good!

  • Josiah
    2019-04-18 11:35

    "Your feelings for a person who has come to mean something to you colors all your memories, so that you can't describe them effectively." —Elana, "Enchantress from the Stars", PP. 68-69 "If we don't approach this with warmth and compassion and faith in these people as human beings, we haven't a chance of succeeding." —Elana's father, "Enchantress from the Stras", P. 72 I find myself stunned into near disbelief by just how enormously powerful and incredibly good is this book. "Enchantress from the Stars" builds slowly but with sure intent, melding together flawlessly into a taut, suspenseful story that had me leafing forward like crazy, going on for hundreds of pages without even the slightest break in my attention. The plot is completely immersing and fiercely gripping, keeping the reader on edge with almost intolerably suspenseful action and feeling. "But a light now waxed within him at the knowledge that such wonders as he had been shown could exist." —Enchantress from the Stars, P. 96 "Must a man then live as his fellows live, and never reach beyond?" —Georyn, "Enchantress from the Stars", P. 98 The first book I read that really gave me an exceedingly high view of the potentials in the science fiction genre was Nancy Farmer's "The House of the Scorpion", and I am saying an awful lot when I state that I would place "Enchantress from the Stars" in the same company. Sylvia Louise Engdahl broaches complicated and ethically challenging subjects with marvelous accessibility, pointing out very plainly in her writing that while circumstances might change, and with those circumstances the views of people, nevertheless the emotions and mentality and basic needs of people stay the same, which to me is the idea that makes terrific science fiction into what it is. The emotional consequences of the interaction between Elana, Georyn, Jarel, Evrek and still others is wrenching and starkly painful, painting pictures of such powerful resonance that the reader cannot help but be drawn in, and become a part of this future world. It has been a long time since I have read such a soul-stirringly striking novel. "The human mind is incredible. It can do nothing without belief, yet practically anything with it." —Elana's father, P. 101 "It would be a poor enchantment indeed that had no price". —Georyn, P. 105 "No one ever has all the facts. All a person can do is to choose a goal that seems worthwhile and commit himself to it." —Elana's father, PP. 110-111 "What is it, I wonder, that makes two people suddenly become important to each other? So important that everything else around them just fades away?" —Elana, P. 121 "Enchantress from the Stars" tackles issues of both ethical and emotional nature with equal skill, entwining the two important concepts into one narrative that flows forth as well as any story that I have ever read. Constructed along very realistic-feeling lines, the story thread weaves and turns unexpectedly and takes the reader into surprising places, never faltering in its drive. The result is one of the most amazing books of any kind that I have ever read, and one that I could not recommend highly enough. "Enchantress from the Stars" is one of THOSE books, the ones that add another dimension to one's life and affect one's thoughts and personal considerations forever. I cannot say enough good things about this book. "People who love each other can no more keep from communicating than from breathing". —Elana, P. 124 "It is the only happiness now possible to me, to know that all is well with you". —Georyn, P. 270

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-26 13:30

    I really enjoyed this older YA SF, and will again when it comes up in the Newbery club in the Children's Books group. Sure, there was an awful lot of discussion and not a whole heck of a lot of action, but that's fine by me because I do read SF for the 'what if' exploration of ideas. Definitely a good fit, as it happens, for fans of Star Trek, with its exploration of a 'prime directive' and for fans of Star Wars, with a mysterious 'force' (in this case, telepathy and psychokinesis). But more than that. Also, it's appropriate that Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, would write the intro. to the reprint - Engdahl's perspective & voice have much in common with Lowry's.... and fans of her Newbery winning SF would probably like this, too.Should generate a good discussion in the club... would probably lead to even richer conversations in a teen reading group.Only a couple of quotes, because most of the book isn't pithy. This first can be read as defense of faith, or of belief in magic, or even as encouragement to do science... what a context you will enjoy!"Why, if nobody believed anything except what they understood, how limited we'd be!"And consider, do you agree with Georyn?"For it is better to know of what exists than not to know. I would rather be helpless than blind...."

  • Valerie
    2019-04-06 09:47

    I actually have two editions of this. This book is one I like to reread. I like the language, and the raising of issues about who qualifies as 'human' (for example).But I often don't agree with the arguments. I don't accept that loyalty and adherence to 'irrevocable' commitments are good behavior. It's taken me a lot of wrestling with my conscience to get to this point. This book made me reconsider--and I came to the same conclusion, after seriously considering the arguments. Loyalty, by definition, is not sticking with ideas and people when you agree with them. If you agree with them, you don't NEED loyalty, since your own conscience and reason support you. It's when you DISagree with them that you need loyalty--and you can't afford it then. You can't give away your need to make independent decisions EVERY TIME. It's not acceptable to use the excuse of 'it's an emergency, and we have no other choice but between two evils--so we have to decide which is lesser'. No oath can absolve you of the responsibility to think things through, and not to do terrible things. Even if I could accept that the oath is just binding you to do what you'd decide to if you thought things through (and I can't), I can't accept the notion that you can make decisions ahead of time, or that you EVER have the right not to think things through. It's like the notion that, in the field, you can't take time for mourning. You MUST make time for mourning. Eating and sleeping can be sacrificed more easily than dealing with your emotional needs while on assignment. If you don't take the time to mourn, the questions raised by a loss don't get properly dealt with--and you'll make bad decisions about later matters.I don't agree that ANY suffering is 'necessary'. If people only advance through suffering, then progress is, in fact, an immoral thing. I don't WANT to believe that present suffering is the price of future benefits. I'd MUCH rather believe that suffering is pointless, and that all sacrifices are in vain--so that I'll feel free to help people in need. I recall Miep Gies commenting that the only way to decide to help people instead of abandoning them (or worse yet, helping hurt them) was never to believe that anyone deserves what happens to them.I don't agree that the Andrecians have no 'technology'. If the 'more advanced' societies don't regard the technical solutions the Andrecians have as technology, then they have a mistaken definition of technology. The Andrecians may not have such things as gunpowder (or they may, and it's not widespread). They certainly don't have spaceships. But they DO have technology, though we don't see much of it. We do see the products of it, however. They have looms (of some sort) because they wear cloth. They have wine-making technology. They have metalworking technology. They have woodcarving technology. They can almost certainly make charcoal. To define these things as not 'technology', because they don't involve 'science' in the way it's been (re)defined since the Enlightenment is perhaps not surprising for the Imperials--but the more 'advanced' Federation members should have escaped that pitfall at some point. Qualifying the term 'technology' with the adjective 'mechanized' doesn't really resolve anything. There were mechanized technologies in many ancient civilizations. It's not an accident that the early 'factories' were described as 'mills'. A mill is a mechanism, by definition. Adding an engine (steam or otherwise) to the works doesn't substantially change how it works.Furthermore, there's a tendency to argue that feudal systems are previous to 'civilized' ones, in a dependable and progressive history. It was not so in Europe on Earth, and it may not have been so anywhere on Earth. One of the exercises we had in archaeology class was to put artifacts in chronological order. We all made the same mistake. One society was considerably less 'advanced' that another (Mississippian and Hopewell, for those who are keeping score). On any standard of life (wide-ranging trade, health, food name it), the agricultural Mississippians were worse off than the hunting and gathering Hopewell--who preceded them chronologically.In Europe, feudal societies developed in areas where the preceding CIVILIZED societies had collapsed. Many later spread to other areas which had been inhabited by 'barbarians'--but many of the 'barbarian' societies had actually been incorporated into the empires that collapsed. Note, for example, that in most versions of Arthurian lore, the people of Camelot are trying to REestablish (or conserve the remains of) ROMAN Britain. They aren't harking back to pre-Roman times, but to a period when most places south of what's now the Danelaw were part of a client state of the Roman Empire.Whether a feudal state COULD be developed in the absence of the 'villas' for the villages to cluster around is not clear. It may be that the prior civilization is an essential prerequisite. At least one of my anthropology teachers argued that a main reason for the collapse of the Roman empire was actually a progressive technological development. A new type of plow was developed that made it possible to plow areas that were previously not cultivable. The local people thus became less dependent on the redistribution systems of the empire--and so were able to send the tax collectors away without starving the next bad year.Of course, the Roman Empire was quite long-lasting. Though it ebbed and flowed for centuries, it's unlikely that there was any one reason for its final collapse. So to test whether feudal societies would develop 'naturally' in the absence of the ruins of empire, it would be necessary to examine agricultural societies that never DID develop any sort of feudal society, and never had been incorporated in empires.The Domesday book demonstrates some of the processes by which a society that had been only semi-feudal (if that much so) developed into fully feudal societies, with few to no pockets of freeholders who could 'go where they would'. But, for example, Pueblo societies (which, after 'Anasazi' times, were mostly NOT agricultural, but rather horticultural) stubbornly resisted this sort of hierarchical structure--to such a degree that when the Conquistadores tried to impose it, the nonviolent Pueblos rose in revolt against them. You can argue that the Pueblos were an isolated case, and not typical of responses to feudalization. Perhaps. But too many people forget that the old expression that 'the exception proves the rule' uses an old sense of the word 'prove', which is the EXACT SAME word as the word 'probe'. The exception TESTS the rule, and often the rule fails the test.The Andrecian 'natives' in this book are not immature in any sense. The idea that societies go through stages similar to the development of human children is a fallacious one. It's also dangerous, because it leads to the notion that people who don't have 'technology' in the narrow sense that's used aren't fully human.It's a pity, really. The book is a good one, and the issues that are raised in it are important. A little more thought would make it a truly great book. But in its present state, the resolution doesn't live up to the youthful promise. It's not just that people's lives are ruined, and they don't get the rewards they have a 'right' to hope for. It's also that NO reward would repay the mischief that's inflicted--or ANY imposed or 'natural' suffering. And is suffering to 'deserve' happiness REALLY a model we want to encourage?Federation societies are essentially undescribed in this book. The Academy is explicitly distinguished from the ordinary societies--but it's not very thoroughly described, either. In a sense, there's mostly definition by exclusion. There's a lot more description of what the Federation is NOT than about what it IS.The Federation in James White's books is much more realistic. Very different peoples live and work together in a somewhat fractious Pax Galactica. But they don't pretend to be 'superior' to planet-bound cultures. And they're very far from having solved all their problems. They've tried to balance protection from dangers with maximal freedom--but they often fail--sometimes in silly ways. Why should you have to order a century's supply of nutmeg to avoid questions, for example? Still, their attempts are more concrete (and steel, and composites) and more individualistic than the nebulous 'Federation' sketched in this book.

  • Janet
    2019-04-01 17:43

    I first read this book when I was in the sixth grade, and it changed my life. Not only was this the first science fiction story I'd ever read, it was my introduction to the idea that where you come from shapes how you see and interpret the world.The story is presented as an intersection of fairy tale and sci-fi adventure, with the medieval residents of the planet Andrecia interpreting the high tech tools of an advanced civilization as a "dragon". Elana, the story's heroine, is a somewhat rash but deeply principled young woman who accepts the consequences for all her actions and who faces the conflicts between heart and duty with a clear vision. The two other two p.o.v. characters share her idealistic qualities, each expressing them through the lense of his own unique background.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-03-22 10:39

    This sci-fi book is simultaneously incredibly naïve and incredibly arrogant. It describes a clash of three cultures, each in a different stage of social and scientific development. The Federation is a highly evolved, space-faring civilization. They’re so evolved, they are telepathic. They don’t wage war or conquer the less-developed societies. Instead, they travel among the populated worlds and study them. The protagonist, a student Elana, belongs to this society of peaceful explorers. Their mandate dictates that they can’t interfere in the others’ progress, to the point of rather dying than disclosing information.The second on the scale of techno-development is the Empire. They are just starting to explore the stars and they are quite military, set on colonization of as many planets as possible. Everyone less developed than they are is considered sub-human. One of the characters, Jarel, is a young medical officer with the Empire expedition, launched onto the planet of Andrecia. He is the doubting type – he isn’t sure species less developed should be considered sub-human but he isn’t openly rebellious either. He is just brooding most of the pages dedicated to him And then there is Andrecia. Its society is feudal, with no technology. For them, the machines the Empire employs to clear the land for their colony are dragons, driven by evil. Perhaps their point of view is not too far off. Some Earth citizens think so too. One of the protagonists, Georyn, belongs to this civilization. He resolves to perform a heroic deed – kill the ‘dragon’ – and Elana and her crew are set on helping him to drive the dragon (aka the Empire colonists) off Andrecia – for the good of Andrecia, I presume.But what methods could they use without revealing themselves? They decide to utilize Georyn’s belief in magic to outwit the Empire, to hoax the new colonists into leaving this particular planet. The Federation explorers are also pretty willing to sacrifice anyone, from their own society or from any other, to achieve their goals. Lives are worthless to them compared to their lofty principles.They pull Georyn’s strings like experienced puppeteers, and even Elana, who is falling in love with the young man, obeys her captain’s decrees and plays the role of an ‘enchantress from the stars’, granting Georyn some ‘magical’ wishes and assigning him pretty harrying tasks. He is a pawn to her commands, but the poor schmuck believes in her magic anyway. There are no ‘nice’ persons in this story, except maybe Georyn, although he is described as a pretty dense yokel who accepts as absolute dictum anything his beloved enchantress tells him. He doesn’t question her pronouncements. He doesn’t try to discover the truth. His side of the story resembles an original fairy tale – the youngest son of a poor woodcutter, Disney style. The enchantress says ‘jump’ – he jumps.Elana does have doubts, kudos to her, but they are more growing pangs than a serious disagreement with her elders. Deep inside, she’s convinced that her Federation is the only one that’s right and good. She is ready to die for her society doctrines. I’m not sure I agree with the Federation and their haughty, idealistic views of the lesser civilizations. That’s why I don’t think I like Elana much. I think she is a silly girl, ready to become a martyr for silly reasons. The Empire representatives also act surprisingly silly, almost senseless. Why would they believe the Federation’s childish trickery, played by Georyn? It’s unexplainable to me. They shouldn’t have, and they wouldn’t in reality. Their behavior is illogical from start to end, playing to the author’s ideology instead of the realistic worldview.I know the book was written in 1970, but its year of publication doesn’t excuse its primitive political ideas or the simplicity of its characters. The writing is good though, beautiful. And the story is probably okay, if its readers are 13 or about. But for me, a jaded reader, it feels slightly out of whack.

  • Melissa McShane
    2019-04-13 12:18

    This was the first pick of my new book club, surprising me because I hadn't thought of it in years. I read and loved it as a teen because it was so different and challenged the notion of the separation between magic and science. Told from three different viewpoints, this story of members of an advanced civilization trying to protect a fledgling society from being conquered by another race of starfarers gets at the heart of what it means to be civilized.Each character comes from a race at different stages of development: Georyn's people are at what we'd call a medieval level of society, Elana is a member of an extremely advanced civilization that has moved past war and conquest, and Jarel's society is technologically advanced but still trying to conquer other worlds. Elana's people have developed psychic talents to go along with their technology, Jarel's people are advanced enough for space flight, and Georyn's are still fighting with swords and see the world through the lens of superstition. Elana is the main character, but Georyn's and Jarel's perspectives are used often enough that we see how each event becomes different when seen through their eyes. The scenes from Georyn's point of view also have a different narrative style that sounds semi-medieval and makes those sections feel like a quest story. It's an interesting approach that gives the book more emotional weight than the relatively simple story would otherwise have.The members of Elana's race take the Prime Directive a whole lot more seriously than Captain Kirk ever did, to the point that they're willing to die rather than reveal the truth of their existence to any civilization not far enough advanced to handle the knowledge. Elana, who is too young to have taken oath as one of her people's advance anthropological agents, is pressed into service when a member of the expedition is killed horribly for exactly that reason. Elana starts out as a relatively self-centered young woman, naïve despite her education, and the book is on one level about her growth through her role in saving the natives of Andrecia from the conquering forces, as well as through her relationship with Georyn, one of said natives. It's young love that's doomed from the start, since we know there's no way the two can stay together, but Elana doesn't realize the implications or the danger until it's too late.The plan Elana's expedition comes up with depends heavily on Clarke's law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, though in this case the "technology" is psychic ability. The way the plan plays out reminded me strongly of what Diana Wynne Jones did with Power of Three, though not as tightly limited in perspective. I can't say I was emotionally connected to this book so much as I admired what Engdahl attempted, but it was as enjoyable as I remembered despite its age. The copy I own is a battered first edition signed by the author, though not inscribed to me, and I found it in a little fantasy book store in Eugene, Oregon that's no longer there. That's the sort of thing I find memorable.

  • VeeDawn
    2019-03-30 12:43

    This is not the best science fiction ever, but I loved the idea of the three levels of development for civilizations and people too: First wonder and believing in the supernatural, second discarding superstition and revering science, and finally the discovery is made that what was termed "supernatural" (or faith) has been perfectly natural all along and is in reality a part of the very science that sought to reject it.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-04-16 09:47

    Ten to fifteen years after reading this book, I still remember the scene in which the anthropologist-from-the-stars gives the woodcutter-who-believes-in-magic orange soda, and he's like "magic elixer!" Hah! Loved this story of high technology and low meeting--it's kinda a Prime Directive parable.

  • Jo
    2019-04-07 13:21

    The well known story goes like this: a dragon begins to terrorize the land and the king sends forth his strongest warriors. When his warriors fail, he sets forth a decree that any who slays the dragon shall be rewarded. To take up this task is a poor woodcutter's youngest son, aided by a beautiful enchantress and a wise old man who give him three tasks and reward him with the magical gift needed to defeat the dragon."Enchantress from the Stars" retells this story from the point of view of Elana, the young "enchantress" who is, in fact, a member of a far more advanced race charged with watching over the young society of the Andrecians (the society to which the woodcutter's son belongs) and protecting them from a more advanced society which has invaded and is using their machines (read: dragon) to colonize Andrecia. Elana, her father, and her fiancee cannot expose themselves to either society, and thus assume the elf-like role of legend as they train Georyn, their chosen hero, to scare the invaders into leaving.Cleverly written, Enchantress combines fantasy and science fiction in a seemless exploration of society, mythology, and the limitless boundaries of human imagination.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-25 14:32

    ...I didn't like this.I really wanted to like it! I really did. I just couldn't.I can see why people like it, but for me, the negatives outweighed the positives. 1. I didn't particularly like any of the characters. I thought Elana herself was quite arrogant at times and none of the other characters were very fleshed-out.2. There was more telling than showing. I was told every single motivation for everything and, to be honest, it gets tiring after awhile.3. The rest of the writing was a bit...boring. The whole book itself moved really slowly and even at the climax, I didn't really want to see what happened next. I didn't really care about the characters or the story.4. That whole romantic subplot thing was kind of weird. I don't mind romantic subplots at all! This one just didn't work, because I felt like it was just there. I can see why it's there as a plot device, It just didn't seem right.It wasn't all bad, though! The characters brought up a lot of interesting moral views that were really cool to read about. I'm not sure if I agree with all of them, but they were interesting none-the-less.

  • Archy
    2019-03-28 16:45

    As someone who has watched way too much Star Trek, this book is basically an exposition on the Prime Directive. Elena is a trainee about to enter the service which protects "younger" civilizations from self-destruction or domination by other species. She becomes entangled in a tricky situation where she must teach Georyn to use his innate psychokinetic powers to fight off the "dragon" of another humanoid species without revealing her true nature. They of course fall in love, which is what gives Georyn the strength to finally complete his quest. At the end Elena must leave Georyn behind to protect his species.The story is good, and the book is well written. I've never liked books written in the first person, and the dominant story line is told in the first person. I might have given it 4 stars, if it weren't in the first person.

  • Kim
    2019-03-23 15:28

    I read about this young adult fiction in the Chinaberry catalog. It's a Newberry Honor Book that had been out of print. What a delightful book -- full of mythology and symbolism and right vs. wrong dilemmas. Elana is a stowaway on a Federation Anthropological Service mission headed by her father. They go to a "youngling" world to try to stop interference from another society invading the planet. Elana becomes the key to the mission, and it's fraught with dangers and difficult decisions. Elana's choices help her grow, and her courage when all seems lost is heartwrenching. What a WONDERFUL book for young and old alike.

  • Strona po stronie
    2019-04-08 16:21

    An old fashioned science fiction YA book with a bit of a Star Trek vibe (I love Star Trek!). I have to admit that it's obviously well-written and the plot and characters are interesting. Moreover, it has some of my favourite elements, like a clash of different cultures or a more or less believable romance. It also has an important message. It's definitely worth reading. Still, because of the writing style (some POVs are like memoirs, some like legends of the round table), it's just not really captivating. Mostly not atmospheric. Why? It could have been great...

  • Becky
    2019-03-29 16:46

    I'm so glad I decided to reread Sylvia Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars for my Newbery reading challenge. (It was a Newbery Honor book in 1971). I loved, loved, loved it the first time I read it. I loved it just as much the second time. (I love it when a book rereads well. Not all books do. That's one way you can distinguish between a good book and a great book.) I would definitely say it's a premise-driven book, but, that being said there is plenty of action and plenty of characterization. So it has many strengths. Enchantress from the Stars is narrated, primarily, by a young woman named Elana. The novel is reflective, in a way, because the novel is an account of her first 'adventure' on another planet. She's writing her report, giving her side of the story. But this novel is more than just her side of the story. It ventures to include the perspectives of two others--a young man, the woodcutter's youngest son, Georyn, and a young medical officer named Jarel. Both Georyn and Jarel are from Youngling cultures. Georyn is a native to Andrecia; Jarel is from another planet, a planet in a different stage than Georyn's, but a great deal less advanced than Elana's. (He is with the Imperial Exploration Corps). Jarel is just one of many in the first ship sent to "colonize" this planet.Elana is on a ship with several other agents--including her father--when they learn that Andrecia is being invaded, and a Youngling culture/civilization is being threatened. They can't directly intervene. And they definitely can't reveal themselves. But they can try to influence things subtly, indirectly. Elana is chosen--with some reluctance--to interact with the natives. Well, she's to interact with two brothers--Terwyn and Georyn. These two are on a quest--along with their older brothers--to KILL A DRAGON. Yes, they are on their way to get the king's blessing, the king's permission to enter the Enchanted Forest. They don't know what dangers they'll face, but they know the fiery dragon must be stopped. These brothers see Elana an an enchantress, a faery perhaps. They see her as having great power, great wisdom, great magic. So Enchantress from the Stars reads as a fantasy novel--a fantasy novel in the style of a fairy tale. But. Of course it also reads as a great science fiction novel with space ships, etc. What did I love about this one? Everything! I loved the premise. Just loved it! I loved the world-building, the setting, the atmosphere. I loved the storytelling. I loved the characterization!!! I loved Elana. I loved Georyn. I loved Jarel. I even cared a great deal about the Starwatcher and Evrek. I thought this book was just so well written.

  • Yve
    2019-03-23 14:21

    This book is, like, on the level where I can't even articulate the degree of wonderfulness that it achieves so I'm sitting here gaping and making indeterminate hand gestures. The review blurb on the back says "It is almost impossible to convey just how good this book is. Please just read it," and, yeah, I'm feeling that now.Enchantress From the Stars is the perfect blend of fantasy and sci-fi, and the expert positioning of magic and technology, along with the indefinite time setting (past? present? future?) has really interesting implications (philosophical, ethical) for the whole world. I loved the switching between Elana's conscientious and rational (but brilliantly conceived as a teenage girl, of course) personal narrative, and the archaic fairy tale view of Georyn's. It's a book that really makes you think and touches your heart, and gives you the immense pleasure of inhabiting this strange and intriguing and wonderful and often scary new planet for a little while. What more could you want?So basically if you like stories about magic, or aliens, or the politics of colonization, or romances, or finely drawn character studies... read this book.[Also, I must mention how gorgeous the cover art is. And it's not too fancy, but I love the inside text layout.]

  • Erin Reilly-Sanders
    2019-04-11 10:18

    I thought this book was very good theoretically, but somehow was missing something in actuality. The concepts about fairy tales, science, and how civilization moves from myth to science to something else beyond- in this particular story telepathic powers- were really fabulous as well as the rigor, rationalization, and practice of leaving less developed civilizations alone. Perhaps it is that the love story seems more of a literary fairy tale while the rest of the book could be a beautifully rendered science fiction tale. I liked the character of perspectives from characters within each level of civilization, but would have liked the language and thought processes to feel more distinct in comparison to the others. However, the author has chosen to make it a fictional account of what the others might have been thinking by the main character, rationalizing the homogenization, yet taking the easy way out. The themes of self sacrifice for the sake of

  • Tess Given
    2019-03-22 14:22

    A great sci-fi book in the same way that "The Giver" by Lois Lowry is. Philosophy, a great boook for pleasure reading or a book report. Some cheesy lines here and there, but it adds to the charm. Its a good book to think about, and dscuss with friends.

  • Leah
    2019-03-24 12:35

    I changed this rating from a 2 to a 4. I reread this book and I like it much better. So many concepts are amazing.

  • Rindis
    2019-04-04 16:18

    Enchantress From the Stars has a bit of an ambitious high concept, and pulls it off very well. The main 'problem' with the book is a galaxy full of inhabited planets where all the naturally-occurring intelligent life is human, or very nearly so; but paying attention to alien biology would be to miss the point of the book (and in 1970, it was still a somewhat acceptable idea).The book is a clash between three civilizations, with a viewpoint character from each one. The 'main' story is given by the most advanced civilization, which has a non-interference policy that makes the Prime Directive look fairly tame. They keep keep themselves hidden from 'younglings': civilizations at a less-developed stage than themselves, including several star-faring ones, letting them find their own way, and assert that trying to help only leads to problems and stunted development.But they do interfere on occasion. Such as here, where a less-developed Empire (I don't think any other name is given) is colonizing a planet with natives that are still at a medieval level of development. The Service sends a small team to scare the Empire off the planet, and leave both cultures to evolve on their own. There are plenty of problems of course, and it makes a good YA adventure, with a certain amount of philosophy and growing up.The main part that works is each of the three viewpoint character's sections are written differently. They're not announced or otherwise kept rigid enough to ordinarily keep it from being confusing, but the style changes between the three is so marked as to eliminate that problem. The native's point-of-view is by far the most striking, being written with the feel of a lot of medieval tales, and is very successful. The Empire's point-of-view conversely is the weakest, being in a conventional third-person, and being the least frequent, and least involved in the actual plot.It's a little too obvious with the points that it is making, but the novel does avoid feeling 'preachy', by virtue of the main character always being challenged to thing thinks out herself, so the philosophy is always a dialog. So it maintains a good flow and remains a fun read throughout, with the plot and characters always keeping center stage.

  • DeAnna Knippling
    2019-03-30 15:43

    This is one of those books that's perfectly fine but that hit my buttons all wrong. As far as I can tell, this is one of the earlier actual YA books in fantasy (as opposed to fantasy that was written for YA but that wasn't really labeled for it). It was published in 1970. It reads as surprisingly modern--a strong voice in first person, a love triangle, concerns about racism and cultural erasure. But...I hate love triangles, and I did NOT buy the ending.(view spoiler)[It also reads like an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Wesley goes planetside against orders, is forced to clean up his mess and does so mostly by luck, then gets unequivocally praised by Picard when he gets back. Whaaaa???!!!!??? And that's not even covering the craptastic way the main character treats the Love of Her Life--falling in love with someone else, emotionally ditching him even though he's telepathically aware of what's going on, and then assuming he'll fall in line after she's forced to ditch guy #2. My heart is too simple for this, and the ending made me dislike the main character. Blah. (hide spoiler)]On the other hand, other people are going to be just fine with it. Well written and a highly imaginative idea.

  • Taylor
    2019-03-27 11:45

    I love older science fiction novels. Firebird Publishing seems to put out a lot of pro-female/feminist science fiction, too, as I have read this and Firebird and enjoyed both immensely.Enchantress from the Starsis a book that takes place in "the future" (kind of) and on a third planet from the Sun, yet it is not Earth. The author, Sylvia Engdahl explicitly states that the planet and all of it's characters are not from Earth, but another planet that is third to the sun. (When one thinks about it, I immediately think of Fermi's paradox and The Drake Equation and how these work together to inspire thoughts of many, many planets that may exist like our own.)Elana is a part of a "more advanced" civilization that has peace keeping duties across the galaxy. The Federation works to aid Youngling ("primitive") populations that are negatively affected by other Younglings. They work quietly and covertly, however, and must not be known by the groups they are interfering with. On one particular mission, Elana is a stowaway on her father's ship. They land on Andrecia, a planet that is much like feudal Earth, in order to stop an Imperial colonization. This is a wonderful blend of "fantasy" and science fiction, as the explanation for the Federation's help is described in the way of magic (Enchantress, Starwatcher and their gifts) and the defeat of a "Dragon".This was a fun read and really deals with topics of colonialism and culture. Engdahl claims that this fiction was not written allegorically, but it is really hard not to read it as an active metaphor for human history, let alone an explanation for folklore and fable. I wonder is Engdahl was secretly a believer in the conspiracy that Aliens/other, more sophisticated lifeforms, actually aided in the advancement ofourcivilizations.

  • Luann
    2019-04-03 09:31

    This took quite a few pages to catch my interest, but once it did, I really enjoyed it. I liked knowing the story from the viewpoint of three different characters. The story as told from the "Youngling" planet native point-of-view felt like a fairy tale quest type of story, yet was more of a science fiction adventure story from the technologically advanced visitor-from-space "Enchantress" point-of-view. That made me think about other stories I've read that were fairy tale quest-types and how it would be interesting if there was also a science fiction adventure story to go along with them. What one character thinks of as magic might be thought of by another character as science or technology. Does that make sense? Anyhow, I liked thinking about the concept and how a familiar story could be very different when told from the point-of-view of another character who has a very different interpretation of events, objects, etc., because of their advanced knowledge.

  • Wendy Bousfield
    2019-04-08 09:19

    In this YA fantasy, humanoids in different stages of cultural/technological development are found throughout the cosmos. Culturally mature peoples belong to a Federation, which oversees the development and continued existence of “Youngling” races. Federation ships easily visit far-flung planets, and these civilizations have solved the social problems that drive less advances peoples to poverty and crime. Federation peoples also have developed the latent psi powers possessed by all humanoids: they communicate by both speech and telepathy, and they move objects through psychokinesis.A delegation of elite agents from the Federation Anthropological Service has just arrived at Andrecia, a planet whose inhabitants live in a pre-technological, feudal society. The Imperials, a technologically advanced Youngling race, have also recently landed and are clearing land for a base. The Imperials aggressively colonize other planets, inhabited and uninhabited. Though they have space flight, they have developed neither psi powers nor an enlightened (altruistic) social order. The Imperials plan to exploit Andrecia’s natural resources, confining native Andrecians, whom they consider sub-human, in reservations. The Federation anthropologists are bound by what Star Trek calls the Prime Directive: they pledge not to reveal their extra-planetary origins nor interfere with a primitive world’s social or technological development. Acting indirectly, the anthropologists plan to convince the Imperials that the Andrecians have dangerous, hitherto unrecognized psychic powers. Since the Andrecians believe in magic, the anthropologists plan to develop the psychokinetic powers of one Andrecian. If they observe an Andrecian moving objects with his mind, the anthropologists hope, the Imperialists will decide that the natives are too powerful to subdue.The ENCHANTRESS of the title is Elana, an impulsive adolescent who stowed away on the anthropologists’ ship. Though she has not completed her anthropological training, she passionately wants to visit a “Youngling” planet and to accompany her fiancé, Evreck, who is part of the delegation. Unlike Elana, Evreck has already finished his training. As leader of the mission, Elana’s father stage-manages a kind of morality play, designed to empower the Andrecians and frighten away the Imperials. When Kevan, a trigger-happy Imperial, vaporizes Ilura, the Federation anthropologist trained to impersonate an Andrecian, Elana’s father creates a new scenario, starring his daughter. Posing as an “Enchantress,” Elana’s will teach representatives from the Andrecians to develop psi powers under the pretense of initiating them into magic rituals. Elana’s pupils are two stalwart Andrecian brothers, Georyn and Terwyn. The Andrecian king has deputized the young men to slay the dragon laying waste the forest—the Inperials’ “rockchewer.” The Enchantress and her father (as the magician, Starwatcher) teach the brothers that a river stone is a magic talisman that can manipulate objects. Poignantly, Georyn and Elana fall in love, though both know that they cannot act on their feelings. When he believes it threatens the woman he loves, Georyn defeats the dragon/rockchewer .For me, the greatest charm of the book lies in the fairy tale voice used to convey Georyn’s interpretation of events. Here Georyn is introduced: “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” (5). Deliciously, Engdahl uses this voice to describe Georyn’s encounters with the Imperials’ unimaginable technologies. The climax, in which Georyn confronts and immobilizes the dragon/rockchewer, is a delight!When other characters report Elana’s words and actions, I admired her courage and idealism. I have to confess, however, that Elana’s voice is annoying. Here is the beginning of three paragraphs in which Elana dithers about her growing attraction to Georyn: “What is it, I wonder, that makes two people suddenly become important to each other? So important that everything else around them just fades away? People have been wondering that since the beginning of time, I guess. . . “ (125). Though Elana is a resourceful enchantress, her teen-age angst is wearisome! While I wish that she had squeezed the water out of Elana’s musings, I am excited to have discovered Engdahl as a writer. The friend who loaned me ENCHANTRESS FROM THE STARS has promised me a second Engdahl book: THE FAR SIDE OF EVIL. I look forward to reading it!

  • Juushika
    2019-03-27 15:44

    Elana is a member of an advanced interstellar civilization that studies and protects unadvanced "Youngling" civilizations. When space-faring Younglings called Imperials invade a medieval Youngling planet called Andrecia, Elana becomes involved in an attempt to rescue Andrecia—without endangering either culture, or revealing her own. Enchantress of the Stars is an ambitious book, but not always a successful one. There are three civiliazations, three points of view, two narrative styles, a wide-ranging plot and setting all couched within a framing narration, and with so much going on no one aspect is fully realized. Take for example the characters: Elana and her love interest Georgyn are admirable, realistically faulted, promising characters, but Elana's narration deadens her own character development by burdening it with excessive explanation; the interaction between these characters is satisfyingly complex—except for the crucial romantic element, which develops too easily and early, and shoulders too many plot points. These aspects are well-intended and the groundwork for their success is laid out in elements such as Elana's naivety and intelligence, Georyn's keen emotional insight, and the unique POVs which accompany each character, but they never quite come to life. This failure makes for an emotionally stunted novel—which is particularly regrettable in young adult literature.The plot has similar lofty goals and rocky execution. Its ambition and scope is what I loved best in the book, and it makes for a young adult novel that, rather than talking down to its audience, challenges them with difficult concepts of societal and personal maturation. The carefully constructed triple narrative also makes for some strong parallelism and clever plot developments, the sort of which would be unlikely in a traditionally narrated book. But the triple narrative also makes for unfortunate repetition, the plot's tension is destroyed by the framing narration, and in between the lovely parallels and plot points are some pinprick plot holes. Why, for example, do the Imperials consider colonized natives effectively nonhuman if they study—of all things!—their psychology, which is virtually identical to the Imperials's own? Because it makes for a convenient plot point later on, of course—but while such plot holes don't render things entirely improbable, they are enough to make the plot feel more like machination than natural progression, weakening its erstwhile strengths. I nitpick, of course, but that's just my point: I went through Enchantress from the Stars constantly distracted by nitpicking; I was never absorbed by characters or motivated by plot enough to overlook the various weaknesses. It's a laudably ambitious book, intriguing for its premise alone, and at times comes rewardingly close to its goals, but more often than not it made me wish, instead, that I were reading the book that it could have been. I recommend it only moderately, mostly on the basis of what it tries to be.

  • Lisa H.
    2019-04-17 15:29

    Enchantress from the Stars has the tone and depth of a young adult novel, but the treatment was so unusual it held my interest. It tells portions of the same story from the viewpoints, and in the voices, of three different races: As told by the natives of the unnamed planet setting, it's a fairy tale in which the several sons of a poor woodcutter each go out to defeat the "dragon" that lives on the far side of the Enchanted Wood; in the voice of a colonizing force of space-faring people, it's a simple space opera, pitting their mechanistic worldview against an untamed wilderness (including the ground-clearing equipment the natives believe is the dragon) and the aboriginal inhabitants of the land (who aren't viewed as human, and so will be confined to a reservation where they can be "managed" - remind anyone of Avatar?); and finally, from the viewpoint of a highly-advanced race of space travelers whose primary cause is preventing anyone from interfering with the normal development of "younger" races - and simultaneously avoiding such interference themselves - necessitating an elaborate performance to convince several natives that these visitors are actually powerful magicians who will help them defeat the dragon and win the king's rewards.Written in 1970, it was reissued in 2001 to accolades from many authors who remember the book fondly from its first publication. It's not, as one writer put it, "the best book ever", but it's a different way of handling a story, and a fun read overall.

  • Lisa Zigue
    2019-04-14 16:46

    Uma obra de ficção maravilhosa que me empolgou pela sua simplicidade no desenrolar da história, conseguindo apesar disso uma riqueza visionária e profundidade de reflexões e pensamentos através das personagens apaixonantes.Cada uma delas poderia explorar e ilustrar vários dos aspectos da consciência humana, em várias das suas perspectivas, unindo-se com grande sensibilidade numa cadeia de eventos, manifestos a seu tempo (e não antes), potenciando assim uma expansão de entendimento sobre a essência dos factos. Gerando acções e atitudes que moldam o avanço pelo caminho necessário ao cumprimento de um objectivo conjunto e bem maior.A história foi crescendo e ganhando espaço dentro de mim, sem qualquer tipo de falhas, libertando sempre pelo meio ideias como “mistério”, “fé” e “amor” na forma de um aroma suave e envolvente, sempre presente, à medida que ia vivendo com as personagens as suas experiências. Entendo-a e faz-me sentido até ao ponto de não a tomar como ficção, e de a sentir bastante real. Tenho a certeza que se tivesse lido este livro há muitos anos atrás, o teria incluído na minha lista de “life-changing books” pois desperta o questionar e a reflexão para certo tipo de paradigmas; mentais, emocionais e até mesmo espirituais.

  • Jenelle
    2019-03-27 16:23

    So I didn't realize till just now that this book was written in the 70's, which changes my opinion somewhat. First of all, I really like the idea of this story-- that ancient myths and legends could actually be the product of a more advanced alien race's interaction. It's clever and unique, and now that I know it's been around 30+ years, I'm kind of surprised no one has stolen it. However, Elana is a twit, and though she acts more like an authentic teenager than most other books, that also means she is annoying and foolish like an authentic teenager. Kind of a catch-22 there. Her dad is way too easy on her, her boyfriend calls her "darling" (!?!), and I have a hard time believing that the doctor is the one who thinks telepathy might be possible. The native guy is the only interesting one and he's almost underutilized. Up until a minute ago, I was ready to write this book off as a promising concept with mediocre execution, probably by some newbie writer. But again, given when this was written, my perspective is altered-- this is pretty mind-blowing for its time. It's akin to several recent books and entirely on trend. And 30 years-- there's been a lot of Star Trek and Star Wars in between then and now and it still holds its own. Totally impressive.

  • Neil
    2019-03-29 12:41

    I know a lot of people really liked this book, especially when they read it as youth - and I have to admit that the story was interesting - I just didn't love it. I did think it was neat that the story was told in turns from the eyes of the three main characters. I just couldn't forge a connection with any of those characters, so I had a hard time caring what happened to them. I found serious flaws with the idea that humanoid sentient life forms were all the universe could manage. (this was never explicitly stated, but we met at least 4 species of humans with absolutely no mention of any other kind of sentient creatures) I also wasn't impressed with the statement that all civilizations eventually follow the same developmental path to enlightenment. Perhaps it's just my nature to want to buck the system and forge my own path.