Friday, December 23, 2011

Tale of two castles by Gail Carson Levine

There's no future for Elodie on her small, isolated island and her parents have made the painful decision to send her to the mainland as apprentice to a weaver. But Elodie has her own plans. She's going to be a mansioner, an actor. She's going to apprentice herself to the  mansioners in the town of Two Castles and become famous.

But things don't work out the way she plans. Her naivety, inexperience, and poverty get her into endless problems and the homely wisdom from her parents is no help. Life in the town isn't at all what she expected and she sadly realizes that not only can she not apprentice to be a mansioner, she can't afford to apprentice to anyone.

Except the dragon. Elodie is frightened but intrigued by the eccentric dragon Meenore, who also dreams of something more interesting than her jobs as a street cook and fire starter. And then there's the ogre, Count Jonty Um, feared by all the townspeople.

Elodie will have to decide what she really wants out of life and who she can truly trust if she is going to make Two Castles her home and survive the intrigues and dangers in the city.

Elodie is a lively and interesting character and Two Castles is a well-drawn fairy tale town. But I didn't care for this story; probably because I read it immediately after reading a more conventional fantasy-adventure. It reads very much like a traditional folk or fairy tale, but it was hard for me to maintain interest in the odd characters throughout an entire novel. The royal family were especially unbelievable, as though they had stepped straight out of a fairy tale. It's been a while since I read Levine's other works, so I had forgotten what her style was like.

Verdict: While I didn't personally care for this story, kids who like characters they can relate to, like drama-loving Elodie who is constantly embarrassing herself, with a topping of fairy tale fantasy will love this. Levine's writing is funny and dramatic by turns, just like Elodie, and kids will like the unexpected turns of the plot and the odd characters. Try this one on kids who don't like conventional fantasy-adventures or are already fans of Levine.

ISBN: 9780061229657; Published May 2011 by HarperCollins; Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher; Purchased for the library

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Great minds! I was reading this yesterday as well. Didn't finish it. Loved Two Princesses of Bamarre, but not this one.