The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.
Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.
But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.
Heeeyyy, I’m back!! I feel bad I just kind of vanished from the blogosphere for a while without telling anyone, but I was pretty overwhelmed with real life and needed some extra time to catch up for a little bit! (
I was also too lazy to announce it.) But I’m so glad to be back now that my life is a little more organized :D.
It was hard not to feel a little nervous going into this book. Gail Carson Levine was my favorite author for years when I was little, and I read and loved all her books. Fairest is still one of my favorite books of all time. So when I saw she had a new book coming out, I was ecstatic!! And terrified!! What if it wasn’t as good?? My reading preferences have changed a lot since I was ten. What if it just didn’t work for me??
But, if you are a Levine fan, I can tell you that this book is just as good as they ever were.
There’s just something about Gail Carson Levine’s writing that I will probably never tire of. It transports me back to when I was little. It is simple and straightforward, but full of feeling and the sweetest kind of magic. (Excuse me while I go cry for no reason.) And maybe the best thing was this book filled me with nostalgia. I think it’s time to go reread all her other books.
One of the most important things about this book is how well the underlying message is woven through it. On its surface this is a fairy tale. But I’m realizing, as I reread Levine’s books now that I’m older, that her books are so much more than that. This one deals with the same kind of themes her others do: prejudice and oppression being some of them. But here’s the thing: Gail Carson Levine does not have an agenda. Her “lesson” is extremely subtle. It is there to add depth, to make the reader think, and to maybe help them become better without forcing them to do any of those things.
I loved all the characters. I loved how kind Perry was, and how much growth she goes through! She changes so much throughout the book, and I loved how that change wasn’t passive. It happens because Perry wants to be better, and wants to learn, and wants to do something good. I really liked how complex all the relationships are, especially the one between Perry and her adoptive mother. I thought parts of that were sweet, and parts were frustrating. I also loved how Perry’s relationship with the rest of her family developed. It was slow, and ARRGH, it was FRUSTRATING at times, but it was definitely well done.
There is just the tiniest hint of romance in this book, and it was perfect. On that note, while this is *technically* MG, it could totally work for teenagers/other YA readers too.
I like how simple the story was. The plot isn’t super complicated or anything, and it’s slower than a lot of other books, but it was also super fun and I was totally engaged. I liked how the Rapunzel fairy tale was included in the book; I wasn’t expecting that!
This book was just so much fun. My only question is, when will she write another??
Did you read Gail Carson Levine’s other books? Do you ever read MG? Do you like fairy tales? What is one book/author that makes you remember a specific time?
Content Guide: There is no profanity, sexual content, or any real violence.
**Thank you to the publisher and my local bookstore for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!**