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The Two Princesses of Bamarre Paperback – April 24, 2012
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After stealing the hearts of middle-grade girls with her delightful Newbery Honor-winning Cinderella retelling, Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine here creates a fairy tale of her own and gives it a characteristic grrrl-power twist. Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys--along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending. Young fans of princess stories will gobble this one up. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The robust voice of esteemed British actress Lynn Redgrave escorts listeners on an adventurous journey in Levine's (Ella Enchanted) latest fantasy novel. Princess Addie and her older (by one year) sister Princess Meryl are the best of friends, even though their personalities appear to be totally different: Addie is fearful and shy while Meryl favors swordplay and entertains thoughts of slaying monsters and dragons. But when Meryl is stricken by an ancient, fatal illness known as the Gray Death, Addie must overcome her fears and embark on a dangerous quest to find a cure. Addie's search leads her through forests filled with ogres and specters and even to a dragon's lair, where she learns the secret of what will heal Meryl. Along the way, Addie is bolstered by magical gifts and occasional visits from Rhys, the young sorcerer she has come to love. However, finding an antidote for the Gray Death does not save Meryl in a way that anyone would expect. Redgrave energetically characterizes a colorful line-up of characters and beasts, from the stern busybody of a governess, Bella, to Rhys, whose accent falls somewhere between Scottish and Indian. But Redgrave most convincingly portrays Addie's shift from trepidation to courage. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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If you like well-written fantasy, I think you'll like this story. I think that young, shy adults will find validation. It is certainly a book I won't mind revisiting.
Just as a matter of personal preference, I enjoyed Lerine's "Ella" more than I did this book (couldn't tell you why), but my daughter (9) tells me she liked them both the same. Loved, I should say. Looks like we'll be collecting all the Gail Carson Levine books we can get our hands on for a while.
That said, I *loved* Addie. She may not have been the plucky brave princess, but that made her all the more relatable. I would happily read another book about her.