Sunday, August 7, 2011
A Tale of Two Castles, by Gail Carson Levine. Unabridged audio.
A terrific YA author, Levine is best known for 1997's Ella Enchanted. Levine's latest is a mystery novel, although it does not stray too far from her fantasy works.
Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner (actress) but luck is against her, as the rules for becoming an apprentice have changed, and she does not have the money required to gain an apprenticeship. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sells cooked meat skewers in the town square (fire-breathing comes in handy), as well as performing a range of services for the human citizens. Included in these odd-jobs are solving problems and finding things. By demonstrating her wit and charm, Elodie secures a position as the dragon's personal assistant, although her dream to act is still alive within her. The young girl is sent on a dangerous mission inside an ogre's castle, and she finds that her acting skills come in handy in solving a murder and facing down a deadly enemy.
This was a very fun read. All of the main characters are well-drawn and have their own perspectives and voices. The young girl proves to be an interesting narrator, and not always reliable. Levine proves herself to be a skilled mystery writer, with clues dropped in the right places, including a few red herrings. And Meenore and Elodie pull of a solid Holmes-and-Watson routine.
Posted by Alan at 9:00 PM