Goodreads Summary: "Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.
But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending."
I don't think its any secret here on Typing Tiara that I love me some kick-butt heroines. You know the type, the ones that rush into danger without batting an eyelash and do some serious damage to their enemies. The fearless, the dauntless, the epic. But there is another type of heroine I find just as appealing, maybe even more so because you see kick butt heroines are typically kick butt by nature...they kick butt because kicking butt is what they do. They're amazing, and awesome, but that is just the way they are. I wish I was them but I know I never will...so I live vicariously through their fictional lives.
The most epic of all heroines are the ones that conquer their fears, they are kick butt because they MAKE themselves become kick butt for the greater good. These are the most epic of epic heroines. Why? Because you could be that girl. You could be the one that puts it all aside, or even just battles through it because you want to do good. You may not start out fearless but you can show great courage which is even more impressive. And the kind of heroine I want my future daughters to read about, the kind of person I want them to be impressed with, the kind of heroine that all young woman should aspire to be and love.
Addie, of The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, is one such heroine. She's scared senseless of everything. I've never read such a mouse-like ninny in my life. She literally takes the cake...no, actually she doesn't, she'd be too afraid too. Spiders, monsters, the dark, everything scares her. But not her sister, Meryl whom is her mighty protector. She is the one that will slay dragons and defend the kingdom...all the while Addie will cower behind a curtain...actually, she probably won't as there might be spiders there.
Oh, did I not mention its fantasy? I was really impressed with the world-building in this novel, simple and sweet yet interesting in its own right. There was enough there to capture the attention of older readers while maintaining, more likely captivating, the younger crowd. Its a fantasy for all ages which is a rare occurrence indeed.
Adventure, wit, fantastical creatures, an homage to the great epic poems of old, with a touch of romance. I can't ask for much more in a novel.