The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Levine, Gail Carson. The Two Princesses of Bamarre. New York: Harper Collins, 2001. ISBN 0060293152, hc, 256 pp., $15.95.

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(This review originally appeared in Mythprint 39:7 (#244) in July 2002.

Reviewed by Laura Krentz

Princess Addie is timid and shy. She’s afraid of just about everything. Her older sister Meryl is confident and brave. She wants to go out and fight the ogres, specters, and gryphons that have been plaguing the kingdom, and find the cure for the Gray Death, a mysterious disease that killed their mother. But when the Gray Death strikes Meryl, it is up to Addie to save her sister. A prophecy said that the cure would be found “when cowards found courage and rain fell over all Bamarre.” It is also rumored that dragons and fairies know of a cure — but the fairies have deserted the kingdom. Before Addie leaves on her quest, her elf nurse gives her two gifts from the girls’ mother — a pair of seven league boots and a spyglass that can show distant places.

Rhys, a sorcerer who likes Addie, gives her a magic tablecloth and a cloak of near-invisibility. She uses these gifts and her own wits to overcome many dangers. When she is held captive by the wily dragon Vollys, she bargains with her for the cure, knowing she may never leave the cave alive. Meanwhile Meryl’s time is running out. This book has everything — fantasy, adventure, humor, and even a touch of romance, and will appeal to fans of Levine’s Ella Enchanted.

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