Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
Gr 4-7-This story takes place in a magical time and mystical place and is teaming with dragons, specters, gryphons, elves, and fairies. Princesses Addie and Meryl live with their father, the king, in the castle of Bamarre, where magic and sorcery are a part of everyday life. While Meryl is fearless and confident, Addie is quite comfortable letting others take care of her. When Meryl falls victim to a mysterious illness called the Gray Death, which has already taken countless citizens including the girls' mother, Addie is determined to find the cure and save her. The prophecy is that "the Gray Death will be cured when cowards find courage and rain falls over all Bamarre." Aided by magical gifts from her governess, the elf nurse, and the king's sorcerer, Addie begins her quest. In a Chaucer-like tale, the story of Drualt, a hero of epic proportions, is excerpted in verse throughout the story. He serves as a role model for Addie, who believes she is weak, but her adventures teach her that one must look within to find strength. While this lesson is presented in a somewhat didactic manner, it is one that adolescents can never hear too often. An unexpected twist neatly ties up most of the loose ends. The characters aren't as fully drawn and the writing is not as consistent as we have come to expect from Levine, resulting in a slow starter that speeds up slightly at the end.-Kit Vaughan, Midlothian Middle School, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The robust voice of esteemed British actress Lynn Redgrave escorts listeners on an adventurous journey in Levine's (Ella Enchanted) latest fantasy novel. Princess Addie and her older (by one year) sister Princess Meryl are the best of friends, even though their personalities appear to be totally different: Addie is fearful and shy while Meryl favors swordplay and entertains thoughts of slaying monsters and dragons. But when Meryl is stricken by an ancient, fatal illness known as the Gray Death, Addie must overcome her fears and embark on a dangerous quest to find a cure. Addie's search leads her through forests filled with ogres and specters and even to a dragon's lair, where she learns the secret of what will heal Meryl. Along the way, Addie is bolstered by magical gifts and occasional visits from Rhys, the young sorcerer she has come to love. However, finding an antidote for the Gray Death does not save Meryl in a way that anyone would expect. Redgrave energetically characterizes a colorful line-up of characters and beasts, from the stern busybody of a governess, Bella, to Rhys, whose accent falls somewhere between Scottish and Indian. But Redgrave most convincingly portrays Addie's shift from trepidation to courage. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Deserves to be around for a long, long time."--Dallas Morning News