The Two Princesses of Bamarre: An entertaining magical adventure

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsAddie, the 12-year-old Princess of the kingdom of Bamarre, is a sweet but cowardly girl. She comes by it honestly – her father, the king, is also a coward. Addie’s sister Meryl, however, is adventurous and courageous and she wants to save their kingdom from evil magical beasts and a plague they call the Grey Death. Addie adores and admires Meryl and she knows she’ll never be brave like her sister.

When Meryl gets sick, Addie is desperate to save her but, because her father’s efforts are timid and ineffective, eventually she realizes that her only hope is to do it herself. Armed with several fabulous magical gifts, such as a tablecloth that always presents a delicious feast when unfolded, and a pair of boots that lets her cover seven leagues in one step, Addie sets out to save her sister and her kingdom.

During her quest to find a cure, she’ll have to battle magical beasts such as dragons, griffins, and ogres. There’s some embroidery involved, too. Importantly, Addie gets the chance to travel her kingdom and witness the lives of the people her family is supposed to protect.

My daughter and I enjoyed listening to Gail Carson Levine’s The Two Princesses of Bamarre (2001) together. This is a satisfying story with an entertaining magical adventure, an unexpected ending, a good lesson, and a sweet romance.

HarperAudio’s version, which is six hours long, is read by January LaVoy whose work I always love. She’s one of the best so, if you plan to read The Two Princesses of Bamarre, I recommend this version.

Published in 2001. Gail Carson Levine left her mark on fantasy with her well-loved Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted. Now she has created another shimmering and tapestried landscape of fantasy and fairies. The two princesses of Bamarre couldn’t be more different. Princess Addie is fearful and shy. Her deepest wish is for safety. Princess Meryl is bold and brave. Her deepest wish is to save the kingdom of Bamarre. They are sisters, and they mean the world to each other. Then disaster strikes, and Addie — terrified and unprepared — sets out on a perilous quest. In her path are monsters of Bamarre: ogres, specters, gryphons, and dragons. Addie must battle them, but time is running out, and the sisters’ lives — and Barmarre’s fate — hang in the balance.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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4 comments

  1. I read this book when I was a kid and I remember enjoying it a lot.

  2. I’ve always thought seven-league boots would be useful.

  3. E. J. Jones /

    I read this book as a kid and it’s not really a favorite of mine now, but the dragon in this book is one of the best IMO, and I still think about “she could lead a charge, but you could last a siege.”

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