The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre – Gail Carson Levine – The Two Princesses of Bamarre #0.5 – HarperCollins – Published 2 May 2017
Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Lakti—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, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.
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 Lakti-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.
Achingly gorgeous, this is a tale of courage, family, love, loyalty, and a dangerous quest for freedom.
The name Gail Carson Levine evokes strong memories – my first discovery of her beautiful stories, an eternal love for her wonderful characters, sharing her books with other readers, and rereading the tales many, many times over. Of all her books, The Two Princesses of Bamarre was always my favourite, so let’s just say I was completely thrilled that there was to be a new book, a prequel to this wonderful story. Starting The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre I was both excited and cautious – could this story possibly live up to the wonder I feel when reading The Two Princesses? At first, no, it could never have that sparkle of first discovery, but this new story shares all the same wonder, vibrant character, clever storytelling, and magic as the original, and by the end I was just as in love with this book as I am with The Two Princesses of Bamarre.
Perry is the daughter of Lord and Lady Tove – a true Lakti in strength and ability and courage. She can run and fight better than all of her peers. But when she discovers that she is actually Bamarre, stolen from her true family, her eyes are opened to the treatment of the Bamarre and how, with a little courage, freedom could be theirs.
How wonderful it is to return to the world of Bamarre – magic, dangerous monster, and fierce bravery. But it wasn’t until a third of the way into this book that it truly became such a tale.
The first portion of the book is almost told in hindsight, with Perry narrating and offering little tidbits to explain both her current childhood belief of being Lakti and her latter discover of her true Bamarre heritage. The reader learns of her childhood in Lord Tove’s manor, her training, and her desperate attempt to please her parents. I thought this first part of the story a little slow, but it is necessary to set the scene for the remainder of the book. It isn’t until Perry discovers her heritage and acts upon it that the story really starts to become interesting. It is then that magic enters the story along with some familiar items, including a tablecloth and a pair of large, grubby boots….
And then, suddenly, at almost halfway through the book there appears a familiar name… I won’t spoil the surprise, but consider me wildly pleased!!! It was in that moment that I fell in love with this book.
Perry is a true heroine. Brave, strong, unafraid to speak her mind, but aware that she has never been loved unconditionally. She strives to please those around her until she discovers that her quest means using both her strengths and her weaknesses to save her people.
This truly is a beautiful story. I loved the poetry spread throughout. I adored the way it so perfectly fits into the story I have always loved from The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I loved meeting a new range of wonderful characters and learning a little more about some old ones. I loved the danger, the romance, and the hint of fairytale. I can’t wait to share this with my young (and older) readers – hopefully sparking love for both this new and the old original story.
As a side note, I just have to share the original cover that was supplied with my advance readers copy. It is stunning!!! Such a pity it won’t be used as the final cover. I just love looking at it. It definitely would have won my vote for cover of the year. Look at that font! The colours!
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Children’s fiction.
Themes: Magic, fantasy, family, heritage, freedom.
Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.
Advisory: Violence: death and injury via blade and arrow. Battle scenes, whippings, death and injury of and resulting from fantasy monsters.
Published: 2 May 2017 by HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 400 pages.