Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Castles

By Gail Carson Levine

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but the master of the troupe turns her away. Brilliant dragon Meenore takes her in, then sends her on a dangerous mission within an ogre’s castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid, she plays the role of a lifetime, pitted against a foe intent on murder.
Black-and-White cats, a handsome cat trainer, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon…Elodie must discover which of them is kind, which is cruel, and, most of all, which is the one who deserves her trust.

This was another little gem in Levine's growing list of young adult fiction. Elodie, like all her heroines, is spunky, fun, and brave. Throwing a dragon in that happens to be just like Sherlock Holmes was pretty hilarous and wonderful. Elodie has to worry about who to trust; who exactly is the "whited seplechre" her mother warned her about when she left home? Elodie learns along the way that appearances aren't always what they seem, and beauty isn't always a sign of goodness. The only criticism I have, and really it's just my taste, is I was sad it didn't have a love story in it. Elodie was quite a bit too young though, so I forgive her.

3 out of 5

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