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The Two Princesses of Bamarre


The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Do you have a sister who is nothing like you? Adelina does; her older sister Meryl is her opposite in every way. Adelina, called "Addie" by everyone, is fair of hair and face, a petite blonde who is quiet and shy. She likes to spend her time sketching in the garden or working on her embroidery. She is hyper phobic, afraid of everything from shadows to spiders to blood. Meryl, on the other hand, is dark haired and tall. The older sister loves attention --- she is a drama queen, happy to recite lengthy epic poems at parties. She also is athletic and strong, an accomplished horsewoman who dreams of being a knight. The only thing they have in common, besides their parents, is a huge crush on the hero Drualt --- but Meryl wants to be him while Addie wants to marry him. Meryl is convinced that she will one day lead the people of Bamarre to victory against the invading monsters.

I bet you are thinking, my sister and I are really different because she likes Korn and I like J. Lo, what is all this knights and monsters stuff? Well, you see, Addie and Meryl are princesses of Bamarre, which is both the name of the kingdom as a whole and the castle that has been the whole world for the two princesses. The girls are rarely allowed to go outside the thick defensive walls because the farms and lakes of the kingdom are overrun by monsters. Their father, the king, is supposed to be protecting his subjects but he is emotionally distant and a weak politician. He consults a book of proverbs whenever he needs to make a decision, but in truth, this doubtfulness keeps him from acting at all. People are getting eaten by dragons and crops are being destroyed, but the king does nothing. The girls' mother, Queen Daria, is dead, victim of a plague known only as The Grey Death. As the book opens, there is no cure for the disease, it is highly contagious...and someone in the castle is infected.

Through a disastrous twist of fate, Addie must leave the safe confines of the castle and venture out to find a solution to the problems of the kingdom. During her journeys, she encounters many different magical creatures. Ogres, specters, and griffins have flooded into the countryside and are attacking people at will. And then there are the dragons. These are remarkable, highly intelligent and beautiful animals who speak and understand the human language. Dragons are also merciless and deadly, preferring to capture their human prey and play mind games with them before devouring them. Addie herself becomes the prisoner of a dragon named Vollys. This adventure is a terrifying one, but it may lead Addie to the answers she so desperately needs.

I don't want to give away any more of the story but I will mention two more parts of the story, briefly. One is the character Rhys, a young sorcerer. He is glowy white, immortal and can fly --- in other words a complete magic hottie. He also is just what Addie needs in terms of emotional support as well as magical guidance on her quest. The other thing to note is that by the end of the book, there is only one princess of Bamarre --- but both Addie and Meryl will have many more adventures. Throughout THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE, author Levine keeps the twists and turns coming. The story of the two sisters is totally engrossing, and they are believable teenage characters --- even if they live in a fantasy world.

Reviewed by Lucy Burns on March 1, 2001

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
by Gail Carson Levine

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2001
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060293152
  • ISBN-13: 9780060293154