Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Tale of Two Castles

A Tale of Two CastlesAuthor: Gail Carson Levine
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: May 10, 2011
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Twelve-year-old Elodie is embarking on a journey from her small village of Lahnt to the big capital city of Two Castles in hopes of becoming an apprentice mansioner (actor). But once there, she instead becomes assistant to a dragon who uses deducing, inducing, and common sense to figure things out. Elodie is set to the task of investigating who is plotting against the ogre, Count Jonty Um, which turns out to be much more dangerous than she bargained for.

I love Gail Carson Levine's style, partly becuase each book she writes has its own unique style! The tone of this book is distinct and quirky, mostly because Elodie and her voice are distinct and quirky. Elodie is a strong character, a great point-of-view character. Seeing the world of Two Castles through her eyes is great, because she never knows whom to trust, and in that way the mystery of the whole story is even more mysterious as everything is presented the way she sees it and not as pure fact. Besides, Elodie is a fun character to experience this all with!

I like how all the characters are just flat enough to make the story sound like a fairy tale and just round enough to be real and interesting. It's easy to keep track of all the various characters because of their flatness, their one-dimensional, one-trait personalities, which is great because that helps in trying to guess the answer to the mystery. But at the same time, each one is interesting in his, her, or ITs own way.

The mystery keeps you guessing until the end, and when you think you've figured out what's going on, and other fact or "deducing" comes into play and turns it all over again. I love the mystery, the quirkiness, the fairy-tale quality - basically everything there is to like about this book, I like!


  1. WOW I so had not heard of this one until your review and it sound AMAZING. I can't believe it was only published this year. That is so exciting! I am definitely putting this one on the top of my TRP. YAY *runs to the book depository*

  2. p.s I was pretty disappointed when I read Gail's last publication Ever. I was expecting something like Ella Enchanted or Fairest but to me Ever was really shallow. Have you read it? Do you think A Tale of Two Castles is like Ever or is it heaps better?

  3. Ever - is that the one with the god and the mortal girl? I didn't get past the third chapter of that book. I agree, I was totally disappointed with it. But A Tale of Two Castles is, as you say, "heaps" better! It has the same quality of tone as Ella, a similar but unique feisty heroine - all the things that made me love Gail Carson Levine in the first place.

  4. I don't know what is was with Ever but it didn't seem to meet Gail's normal standard of writing. I'm glad to hear A Tale of Two Castle is a good read. I normally more like Gail Carson Levine.