by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
In the mood for more fantasy after finishing Daughters of the Sunstone, I simply picked up the next fantasy book off my TBR, and I was surprised to find it had a few similar themes, albeit presented in an entirely different way. Enchantress from the Stars is set in the future, when humankind has populated many different planets. Each world is in a different stage of development, some civilizations far more advanced than others. The most highly evolved peoples form the Federation, and are sworn to keep their presence secret from more primitive worlds, for fear of influencing their development in unforseen ways.
On the small green planet of Andrecia, some unenlightened space colonists have invaded, intending to wipe out the native inhabitants in order to use the planet's resources. At the same time, the Federation sends down a team of intergalactic anthropologists, who decide to intervene and save the native population- but they must do so without revealing their identity to either the natives or the colonists. What ensues is a fantastic story, as members of each group come into contact with ways of thinking and knowledge far different from their own. It is told in alternating viewpoints of the three main characters. Georyn, a native villager, is on a quest to slay the dragon that is ravaging his countryside (clearing land for the colony). Jarel, a doctor among the colonists, struggles with his conscience as he comes to realize the natives are people with real potential, not just primitives devoid of feelings as his companions think. And Elana, a teenager who snuck onto the rescue team, finds herself involved far more than she'd expected, as she must play the role of a magical enchantress to guide Georyn against a peril he cannot hope to face alone. What I really enjoyed was that each viewpoint is written in a different style- Georyn's formal and stylized like a fairytale, Elana's in the voice of a questioning teenager, Jarel straightforward in his growing outrage. It's a story about perspectives and new awareness. There's adventure, magic, philosophy, and even a love story. I wish I'd come across this book when I was younger, it would have blown me away.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 288 pages, 1970
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