My review for MMGM, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, under the Magical Gazebo this week taught me bravery, endurance, cleverness, and was deeply entertaining and fun with The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (yes, that one – who wrote Ella Enchanted!).
I’ve been saving this read from one of my favorite authors, and it seems like someone knew I’d need it right now, going into week eight of being on quarantine in Northern California. We’ve all had to be more brave in weird ways recently, haven’t we? Well, I found such inspiration from Levine’s main character, Peregrine. I read the book in just two days and as usual with her wonderful books, I feel like I’ve been traveling when I needed a journey of the heart the most.
Levine walks a tightrope with ease in creating a character that is both brazen and a bit wild in her bravery and yet, over time, learns to be kind and respect another culture’s way of life, becoming an excellent leader. She is kidnapped as a child from one group and taken to live as in court with a family who are stern and reward excellence on the battlefield. Perry is wonderful at running, faster than all, and she longs to show her strength and, most of all, to make her father smile. As she accompanies her father on the battlelines, she is visited by a fairy who reveals that she’s actually one of the Bamarre. She lives with her birth family and is challenged to lead a rebellion with people who value courtesy and poetry most of all.
There’s sparks of magic, deep friendship, and challenging relationships, and the slow build to an incredible, unpredictable ending battle you’d never expect. And did I mention flying boots (look closely at the cover!). I feel I’ve been able to fly over rivers and forests and see a wondrous star-filled sky.
Is it a clean read?
This novel is very clean, there are battle scenes but not overdone. And I feel her character and the others she highlights only teach wonderful lessons on the side of great adventure, the best mix of all for a parent – especially now with the Covid virus situation. A wonderful escape, but with encouragement that endures.
I’d rate it six stars out of five!
I’m holding the book now and feel I have a new friend, and want to treasure it. Like staring at a Monet painting in an empty room, just you and the art. What a special moment.
Official book blurb:
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 be the Latki ideal—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, who she knows to be weak and cowardly. The Lakti always wage war, and the battlefield will give her the chance to show her valor.
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 a Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti might, free her people from tyranny.
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Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.