Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: A Tale of Two Castles

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9466032Mysteries abound, especially in Two Castles.

A handsome cat trainer, black-and-white cats, thieves on four legs and two, suspicious townsfolk, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon. Which is the villainous whited sepulcher?

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but luck is against her. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sends her on a dangerous mission inside the ogre's castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid at an ogre's feast, she finds herself cast in the role of a lifetime and pitted against a foe intent on murder.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine weaves an entrancing tale of a fearsome ogre, a dragon detective, and a remarkable heroine, who finds friendship where she least expects it, learns that there are many ways to mansion, and discovers that goodness and evil come in all shapes and sizes.  

As the summary above says, A Tale of Two Castles truly is an entrancing tale.  I've been a fan of Gail Carson Levine's books for quite some time, and this book has now become one of my favorites from her, others including The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Ella Enchanted.  
This tale was light-hearted and easy to read.  Some books take a while to take hold of the reader's interest, but this one had me right away.  I almost finished it in one night, but as I'd had a late start, I was forced to postpone my reading until the next day.  
The book does a good job of world-building as well as developing the story itself.  The characters were vibrant and colorful, and the heroine, Elodie, was easy to identify with.

My personal favorite part of the story was the character Meenore, the dragon.  In this universe, no one knows the gender of a dragon except for the dragon ITself.    Part of the mystery of the story, at least for the reader, is trying to figure out whether IT is male or female.  Personally, I think it was male, but I'll leave you to your own decisions.
Part of my opinion could be because Meenore reminded me so much of Sherlock Holmes (whom I adore).  From the minute the dragon opened ITs mouth in the story, I imagined his voice, accent, and inflection as that of the Great Detective himself.  XD

A Tale of Two Castles has many twists and turns, and not all of the characters are what they seem at first.  At least two points in the story, I was sure I knew who the villain was, but both times I was wrong.  Congratulations to Gail Carson Levine for that.  :D

No negatives for this book, morally or otherwise.  My only request to the author is... CAN WE HAVE A SEQUEL??  XD

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-Rayne Speryll

(Apologies for the second image... I don't know how it got there, and I can't seem to remove it.  Oh well.)


  1. Sounds awesome! I'll have to check it out! :-D
    And rather appropriate, seeing that Sherlock is now playing the part of... a dragon X-P

  2. And yet again my comment apparently does not go through.

    I'm glad you enjoyed A Tale of Two Castles! It's one of my favorite Levine books! As a note, I'm a bit surprised you thought Meenore was male. I always thought IT was a female. Some of ITs mannerisms seemed more feminine than masculine.

    1. I'm sorry your comment didn't go through! I wonder what's up with that... it's happened a couple of times. :( At least this one came through. :D

      Yes, some of IT's mannerisms did seem female. Levine did a good job of keeping it a mystery. I guess I just got the impression IT was male because of the way IT interacted with people. Who knows, though? :)

  3. Also, as a note, Gail Carson Levine is currently working on a sequel called Beloved Elodie.

    1. Really? That's great! I can't wait to read it!