Author: Gail Carson Levine
Back-of-the-Book Description: 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.
My Description: It was nice reading a book where two sisters actually love each other!!! In so many stories these days sisters have this weird "I absolutely hate you and wish you had never been born, I still love you but can never be happy when I'm around you" relationship that drives me MAD. My sister and I have wonderful relationship, so it was nice to read about sisters like that in a book.
Now, about the story....
I felt a little resentful of our heroine, Addie, at first for trying to keep Meryl from going off on her adventures, but as I read on and learned more about Bamarre and the characters that resentment disappeared. Addie was like-able (even with that short bit of resentment), and though it could be said that more development was necessary for her and Rhys' relationship, their love wasn't the main story of the book, so I personally think that Ms. Levine spent just enough time with it as a side story--and a sweet one at that.
Addie's emotions when she was running off to save her sister I found incredibly easy to relate to... Her fears and her wishes for some reason not to have to go, but still knowing she must and not letting anything get in her way, her need to be there for Meryl's last days conflicting with the need to have more days with her sister, her gazing through her magic telescope just to glimpse poor Meryl... I think that Ms. Levine did a fantastic job with that, and would be quite surprised if she didn't have a sister of her own.
Meryl and Addie's father is not a good one, and I was hoping for either him to change somehow, or for SOMETHING to happen with that... But, just to warn you, that was left unchanged and unexplained, so poor Addie and Meryl are still stuck without a decent father at the end of the book.
The story relies heavily on a certain poem known as Drualt about a hero of Bamarre's past... the verses sounded odd when spoken poem-like, and didn't rhyme. Though I understand the difficulty, I think a little more time spent on making Drualt rhyme, or at least flow would have made the book a bit better.
Anyways, to sum it all up, I really enjoyed The Two Princesses of Bamarre... it was fun and I had a wonderful time traveling with Addie as she found her courage to save her sister.
Recommendations: Girls 10-14 who enjoy fantasy-adventures with a bit of romance... but I'd say this book is great for anyone who has a sister they'd die for.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7 3/4
Book #2 of '09, Book #52 of all
P.S. There was this one dramatic moment at the end that I just can't give away that I could so see happening between Dear Sister and me... it was almost scary!