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The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre Paperback – May 8, 2018
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“In her usual witty, magical style, Gail Carson Levine has built a tale of resilience and rebellion that feels more timely than ever... Readers both familiar and new to Levine’s storytelling will devour this tale and cheer its stunning conclusion.” (Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series)
★ “Levine riffs gently on “Rapunzel” and delivers an arch appraisal of discrimination and bigotry, cloaked in a magical, medieval, vaguely European fairy-tale setting. A captivating and charming adventure sure to please young readers and longtime fans.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Perry’s struggle to reconcile her father’s love for her with his deep hatred of the Bamarre resonates, as does her burgeoning and nuanced definition of strength. Her growing awareness of prejudice and ethnocentrism is insightful and believable; readers will easily connect her journey to their own experiences.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Levine slips seamlessly back into the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre (2001)... This balances elements of Rapunzel and a smart, timely exploration of the prejudices that exist between people, and fans of Levine will rejoice to watch the journey of another strong, flawed heroine.” (Booklist)
“With its relevant commentary on race and prejudice and its strong female lead, this newest addition to Levine’s oeuvre will appeal to the author’s followers and fantasy fans.” (School Library Journal)
“A clear set up of rights and wrongs, a sympathetic protagonist, and a sweeping magical setting—there’s a lot that existing Levine fans will recognize and appreciate here, and new readers will be pleased to learn that the author has plenty more for them to enjoy.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
About the Author
Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
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Maybe some would like it, but if you liked the romantic, lighthearted elements of some of Levine's previous creations, you won't find the Lost Kingdom of Bamarre very interesting. (Note: just so you know from which point of view this was looked at, I am a 12-year-old girl, and a very dedicated fantasy writer myself.)
I read this book in one sitting. It was a very enjoyable read and I enjoyed the little throw-backs. The end seemed a bit dull to me, though. It may just be because I found myself wanting more. The story ended, but it ended at the beginning of a new adventure. I want at least some insight into that adventure! Even just a few pages would have been sufficient.
I’m glad I read it, and I’ll read it again, but I’ll always find myself wanting more. :)
The name Gail Carson Levine evokes strong memories - my first discovery of her beautiful stories, an eternal love for her wonderful characters, sharing her books with other readers, and rereading the tales many, many times over. Of all her books, The Two Princesses of Bamarre was always my favourite, so let's just say I was completely thrilled that there was to be a new book, a prequel to this wonderful story. Starting The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre I was both excited and cautious - could this story possibly live up to the wonder I feel when reading The Two Princesses? At first, no, it could never have that sparkle of first discovery, but this new story shares all the same wonder, vibrant character, clever storytelling, and magic as the original, and by the end I was just as in love with this book as I am with The Two Princesses of Bamarre.
Perry is the daughter of Lord and Lady Tove - a true Lakti in strength and ability and courage. She can run and fight better than all of her peers. But when she discovers that she is actually Bamarre, stolen from her true family, her eyes are opened to the treatment of the Bamarre and how, with a little courage, freedom could be theirs.
How wonderful it is to return to the world of Bamarre - magic, dangerous monster, and fierce bravery. But it wasn't until a third of the way into this book that it truly became such a tale.
The first portion of the book is almost told in hindsight, with Perry narrating and offering little tidbits to explain both her current childhood belief of being Lakti and her latter discover of her true Bamarre heritage. The reader learns of her childhood in Lord Tove's manor, her training, and her desperate attempt to please her parents. I thought this first part of the story a little slow, but it is necessary to set the scene for the remainder of the book. It isn't until Perry discovers her heritage and acts upon it that the story really starts to become interesting. It is then that magic enters the story along with some familiar items, including a tablecloth and a pair of large, grubby boots....
And then, suddenly, at almost halfway through the book there appears a familiar name... I won't spoil the surprise, but consider me wildly pleased!!! It was in that moment that I fell in love with this book.
Perry is a true heroine. Brave, strong, unafraid to speak her mind, but aware that she has never been loved unconditionally. She strives to please those around her until she discovers that her quest means using both her strengths and her weaknesses to save her people.
This truly is a beautiful story. I loved the poetry spread throughout. I adored the way it so perfectly fits into the story I have always loved from The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I loved meeting a new range of wonderful characters and learning a little more about some old ones. I loved the danger, the romance, and the hint of fairytale. I can't wait to share this with my young (and older) readers - hopefully sparking love for both this new and the old original story.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.