Author: Gail Carson Levine
Read Time: Two Days
Tag Words: Fairytale, fantasy, acting, dreams, dragons, ogres, princesses, cats, authors I love, Clean Reads
Elodie is sailing to Two Castles to become an apprentice.
Her parents hope she will find a sturdy job as a weaver’s assistant.
She hopes to become a famous mansioner, and actress on the stage.
What she will find in this strange land of lucky cats, friendly dragons and interesting ogres is more than her wildest of dreams.
I love Gail Carson Levine. I was introduced to the author at a very young age and have not gone back, since. To date I have read all but four of her books. I’m a pretty devoted fan. I guess that’s why giving Levine’s latest a poor review is proving painful for me.
I wanted to like it, of course I did! I was hoping for something spectacular, but Two Castles fell very, very short.
First of all Two Castles is a new land in Levine’s fantasy world and yet there was no “laying the groundwork” to the world. That is one of my pet peeves in fantasy. If you’re going to create a new world for a reader you must fill in the edges of the map, or else readers will end up stumbling along in unknown territory. Unlike setting a book in modern America, where we know the boundaries and the terrain, I had no idea where Two Castles was, I needed more from Levine to feel comfortable there.
Secondly, the “romance” was odd. Elodie is very young, if memory serves she’s twelve, or fourteen, I can’t remember which. She acts like she’s ten, but there are romantic elements that lean the character to be at least fifteen, or sixteen. The ogre, the cat trainer, I can’t figure out who had eyes for Elodie, or if she had eyes back, but it was awkward.
The plot, the pacing and the assumptions of the storyline raced ahead of themselves, it was forced in places and forgotten in others, if you know what I mean. There was no consistency, there was no 2 + 2 = 4, in Two Castles the odd details always made it add up to something else.
Of course I will read whatever else Levine puts out, I just hope it will be better than this. I expect more from favorite authors.
Notes on the Names:
Elodie is so pretty, isn’t in? I lost my notes on this book, so I can’t remember the other names, but that in and of itself should tell you something.
Thoughts on the Cover:
On top of everything else HarperTeen is repackaging many of Levine’s books and I cannot stand the new covers.
The re-design harkens back to a design idea that was popular in middle grade, and some YA in the late 90’s to early two-thousands. Storybook covers! You’d think I would be jumping off the walls, being such a fan of storybook covers, but no.
These covers look so obviously computer animated, the “models” have the most uncomely faces, awkward backgrounds, not to mention dull colors, and I do not want any of them on The Mod Podge Bookshelf!
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
A donkey is attacked.
The only good thing about this book, squeaky clean!