Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Castles, Gail Carson Levine

I did a bunch of fluff reading while visiting my family. While the kids played with grandparents, I read. I chose easy, entertaining books for the purpose of collecting reading points for the adult summer reading program. Hey, the big drawing prize is an iPad, and if I can get an extra chance, why not?

My 9 year-old daughter got a few new books and when I ran out of things that sparked my interest, I moved to it. This one was really nice. Elodie is a young girl of 12 who is taking a boat to Two Castles where her family has instructed her to apprentice herself to a weaver-a good and noble trade-for 10 years (because it’s free), when her heart is in mansioning (acting). During the trip, she learns that the law has done away with all 10 year free apprenticeships and she has no money to pay for even a 7 year apprenticeship anywhere. She has also been warned that in Two Castles, there is a king (Greedy Grenny) ruling one castle and an Ogre who rules in the other. There are also rumored to be dragons in the city as well.

First day there, she sees the Ogre and a Dragon and manages to get her only large coin stolen by one of the many cats who are there for protection from the Ogre. Ogres are shape shifters and if there are enough cats, they can force an ogre to shape shift into a mouse and then devour it.

Through many adventures, Elodie explans her talent of acting, learns how to think-to induce and deduce and use common sense-and how to overcome prejudices. Many people feel a certain way toward certain beings and refuse to change. But Elodie is not inhibited by previously held suspicions, and it appears that those inhibitions are limited to those who have been brought up in Two Castles. Others elsewhere are much more open-minded to allow time for explanations and rational thought before making a judgment call.

Plenty of twists and turns, suspects who are guilty-or not! Plenty of suspense could  be found as well. I really enjoyed this book for middle readers.

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