Jami's Reviews > The Two Princesses of Bamarre

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
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's review
Feb 12, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: middle-grades, young-adult
Recommended to Jami by: Shandi
Read in February, 2012

I liked this book. It was a fairly fast-paced, fun adventure. Two sisters, the princesses of the kingdom of Bamarre, at first glance appear to be very different. Meryl is brave and desperate for adventure. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful of everything, particularly of losing her sister.

What transpires is that Addie must embark on an adventure to save her sister. She discovers her own courage, and in the end works with a small group of brave Bamarrians to save the day.

I liked the descriptions of the monsters of Bamarre: the dragons, gryphons, spectres, and ogres. And Addie herself was good and clever, loyal and kind. She even gets up a bit of romance in the end.

Somehow, though, this book was missing something for me. Maybe it just read a little too young. Or maybe it was that, other than her proposed fears (which she quickly overcame), Addie just had no flaws. She didn't seem to have a lot of depth to her character. She was very much a fairy-tale character, as were most of the characters in the book -- all good or all bad.

That doesn't make this a bad book. I enjoyed reading it, and I thought it was sweet, but it lacked the character development and strength of Levine's Ella Enchanted.

And one other issue I had trouble figuring out: is Addie really only 12?? The story starts out with her at this age, and no significant time appears to have passed before her adventure begins. (view spoiler) I wasn't sure what to make of that.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Courtney No, she was 16 I believe. A small part near the beginning shows when she was 12 or 13. That's when she met Rhys.

Jami I know that I want her to be 16, but I looked back to the beginning of the book after I had finished it, and it truly appears that she was still 12! The part at the beginning was continuous with the rest of the book (with no real large chunks of time passing) when it explains that Rhys would only stay at the castle for 2 years before leaving for good. Since he was still there, and never talked about leaving soon, I can only assume that she was still 12 or 13! Crazy, huh?

Courtney Well, on page 23 (of the hardcover edition) it says, "When I was sixteen...", and then continues on.

Jami Good to know! I guess I must have missed that! Although, I am confused about the reason Rhys is still hanging around if Addie meets him when he first comes to the castle when she is 12. Maybe Levine decided not to stick to her setup of sorcerers only staying at the castle for a couple of years.

Courtney On page 14 it says that sorcerers' training include five years in the service of a king, is that what you mean? So, if he arrived recently when she was twelve, he'd still be around until she's about 17. Also, thank goodness she's not a 12 year old when she gets married. 16 is still pretty young, though.

Jami Agreed, but at least 16 is a much more reasonable age to be getting married! I would have liked to have seen both sisters act a little more mature, however. Maybe I was misinterpreting this as well, but they both truly seemed very young during this story. Maybe that is why I kept feeling like this book was intended for a younger audience.

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