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A Tale of Two Castles

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

A sweet funny take on fairy tales

Elodie is a spirited girl who only wants to become a mansioner, an actor, but is thwarted in her ambitions by her lack of money. So she becomes the assistant to Meenore, a dragon skilled in logic and deduction. When the ogre hires the dragon to find out who is behind ...
Elodie is a spirited girl who only wants to become a mansioner, an actor, but is thwarted in her ambitions by her lack of money. So she becomes the assistant to Meenore, a dragon skilled in logic and deduction. When the ogre hires the dragon to find out who is behind a strange turn of events at his castle, Meenore sends Elodie to be ITs eyes and ears. And Elodie learns about using her mansioning and logic talents for other purposes.

Levine can tell a good tale. While some of her other books are retellings of fairy tales, this one has a few aspects but is a wholly original book. And it is a very cute book. I loved all the fairy tale touches and the characters were delightful. I thought the solution to the mystery was easy, but that is because there tends to be a pattern in Levine's fairy tale books that gave it away. I do wish there was more of the dragon and the ogre because I loved both characters, but I'm wondering if they are going to be more books with Elodie and her friends.

posted by thelittlebookworm on May 10, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I love it!

Gail carson levine is awesome!!!!!!!

posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2011

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    A sweet funny take on fairy tales

    Elodie is a spirited girl who only wants to become a mansioner, an actor, but is thwarted in her ambitions by her lack of money. So she becomes the assistant to Meenore, a dragon skilled in logic and deduction. When the ogre hires the dragon to find out who is behind a strange turn of events at his castle, Meenore sends Elodie to be ITs eyes and ears. And Elodie learns about using her mansioning and logic talents for other purposes.

    Levine can tell a good tale. While some of her other books are retellings of fairy tales, this one has a few aspects but is a wholly original book. And it is a very cute book. I loved all the fairy tale touches and the characters were delightful. I thought the solution to the mystery was easy, but that is because there tends to be a pattern in Levine's fairy tale books that gave it away. I do wish there was more of the dragon and the ogre because I loved both characters, but I'm wondering if they are going to be more books with Elodie and her friends.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It is slow-going at first, but it gets as action packed as Avengers..... In fairytale land.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Delightful New Story!

    This story is a original tale of the adventures of a spunky young girl named Elodie. Gail Carson Levine has been my favorite author ever since I read her masterpiece "Ella Enchanted." This story, although quite good, did not live up to Ella Enchanted or Fairest - I am sure it is hard to write a book more spellbinding than Ella Enchanted. It did have new aspects that I have not seen in Gail Levine's previous works. She added mystery to this story, and it was written for a younger audience (where Ella Enchanted and Fairest were written more for tweens and teens). Also, the characters in this new tale surprised me. Unlike all the other fairytales I have read, this one presented a dragon called IT (capitalized - for IT is the only one who knows ITs gender) and a ogre as good guys. In other stories I have read, these characters would have always been on the evil side rather than the good side. The story itself was good. Elodie is sent to a realm of two castles to get a job. While she wants to be a masioner (an actor), she ends up having to settle for becoming apprenticed to the dragon called IT. Things are not the way she planned, and soon Elodie is thrown into the midst of a plot...will she figure out who is behind the plot before it is too late? You shall have to see for yourself. The characters were good, and the plot was interesting - but I guess I have high standards for the author who wrote Ella Enchanted because this book did not live up to my expectations. The writing in this book reminded me GREATLY of E.D. Baker's writing style. Parents don't have to worry about language or questionable content in this book - I can not remember there being any issues. It is great for young girls who love fairytales. For those who want a fun story to pass the time, while keeping you interested, look no further - Just don't expect the story to be as good as Ella Enchanted. I can't wait for the next book, which Gail Levine is writing at present, called "Beloved Elodie."

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Levine treats readers to a new fantasy world

    Elodie leaves her home and family to travel across the water to become an apprentice. Unfortunately, her family lives too far away to have gotten the bad news--it is no longer possible to become an apprentice without paying your prospective master in coin. Elodie doesn't have enough money but is determined that she will manage to become an apprentice mansioner (an actor--not what her parents had in mind, as they wanted her to become a weaver) anyway. Almost as soon as she is back on solid ground, Elodie finds herself in the middle of intrigue. Her one copper coin is stolen by one of the many cats found in the city of Two Castles. Was it trained to do so, or did it get lucky? Before she knows it, Elodie finds herself hired as assistant to the city dragon, Meenore. Still unsure as to whether or not she can trust her new master, Elodie is assigned a new job--being the dragon's eyes and ears in the castle of ogre Count Jonty Um, who is the apparent victim of thieves, poachers, and possibly in danger of much more. Who is trying to hurt the ogre, and why? Who, if anyone, can Elodie trust? Is there any hope for her dream of becoming a mansioner, or is it time for her to find a new dream?

    Gail Carson Levine has written a new tale of magic and mystery with A Tale of Two Castles. Readers are quickly drawn into a new fantastical world where many things and people are not quite what they seem. The ending leaves hope that there could be a sequel--or two, or three--for us to continue solving mysteries along with Elodie and her two new friends, watching as the plucky heroine continues to grow in her newfound talents and abilities. This novel is geared toward middle-grade readers, especially those who enjoy fantasy and mystery stories. Anyone who loved Ella Enchanted (the book, not the movie--ugh!) should enjoy this story of a determined heroine who makes the best of what life throws at her.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    A FANTASTIC ending but......

    This book is really good but it didn't imediately 'suck' me in. By the middle of the book, I was BORED TO TEARS! However, I am the kind of person, who, if started on a book, MUST finish. So I continued and actually did not regret my read. This book's ending was VERY INTRIGUING! I enjoyed it very much but I really wish Levine had made the beginning more captivating. I got this book at the library and am glad I did not buy it. I sudgest you get this book without involving money. You WILL ENJOY IT!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Good

    I havent read the book yet but ella enchanted was the best !!!!!!!! I want to read fairest but it isnt on the nook store:( but i hope soon they will put it on:) read ella enchanted and fairest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Castles and Ogres and Dragons, oh my!

    Elodie left home for Two Castles to become a weavers apprentice - or so her family thought. She wanted to be a mansioner (actor) instead. Elodie finds out, only after she has left home, that there are no free apprenticeships anymore and the story follows her as she tries to figure out what do in a foreign place with no family.

    On her way we meet an assortment of interesting characters. Goodwife Celeste and her goodman Twah, who cannot help her while she is in Two Castles. Master Dess, who has a fondness for animals. Master Thiel, a cat trainer, whose cats hates Count Jonty Um, the ogre in the land who lives in a castle. Meenore the dragon, who loves to induce and deduce as well as the king and princess who lives in the other castle in Two Castles.

    There is thieving, acting, cultural differences, dragons, ogres, glutton kings, fickle princesses all in the middle of a mystery. Someone is trying to hurt Count Jonty Um, and through a series of events (whether unfortunate the reader will have to figure out themselves) Elodie is left trying to figure out who the culprit is.

    This story is a quick read, and I would recommend it to any parent who might want to read with their child. Gail Carson Levine describes her world in detail and there are times in which I felt as though I was right there with Elodie, walking through the streets, looking at the stalls, observing. The characters are lovable, I especially loved Meenore and Princess Renn, the way they were written, it felt as though I could almost see them, each with their different mannerisms, through the pages.

    The ending - though somewhat easy to figure out - was still delightful and fun. It's a lovely fairy tale for anyone, young or old.

    [arc via Net Galley]

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 13, 2012

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    Posted April 23, 2013

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    Posted September 30, 2011

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    Posted July 11, 2011

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