- The Two Princesses of Bamarre
"The Two Princesses of Bamarre" is a 2001 novel by "
Gail Carson Levine" author of Ella Enchanted. The story revolves around the lives of two sisters who are very close, but as different as night and day. Adelina (Addie), the younger and fearful sister, is frightened by the many things, like spiders and dragons. Meryl, the older sister, is bold and full of bravado and acts as Addie's protector. She dreams of adventures, slaying dragons, or at least leaving the castle.
The Two Princesses of Bamarre is a fantastic, original fairy tale centering on two sisters who are complete opposites of each other, but also lovingly dedicated to one another. Meryl is an adventurous sort, taking her inspiration from the famous Bamarrian hero, Drualt. She is a born swashbuckler and a gifted bard, spinning heroic tales for her sister and friends. Addie is easily frightened and content to work Drualt's escapades into her embroidery. Yet the two young women are constant companions, until Meryl contracts the deadly Grey Death, the same plague that killed their mother.
There is a prophecy that tells about the cure being found only when the most timid seek it. When the sisters' cowardly father, the king, fails to find the cure and gives up, Addie realizes she must overcome her own timid nature and try to save Meryl herself, even though it means she must face the wilds of Bamarre alone - wilds fraught with specters, griffins, and dragons. But perhaps the most challenging part of her secret quest is that, when she sets out, Addie has only six days before her sister dies. With a few magical items supplied by her friends and a sword from Meryl, she bravely ventures into Bamarre's most dangerous regions, all hope of Meryl's survival left up to her.
;Addie:Princess Adelina (Addie) is timid and fearful of many things, especially compared to her sister Meryl, whom Addie sees as her protector. She and her sister, despite their differences both in demeanor and appearance, are close. When Meryl contracts the Grey Death, Addie decides that no matter what how afraid she is, Meryl's life is more important, and she sets out to find a cure for the disease. She falls in love with Rhys, and at the end of the novel marries him. It's also assumed that they had children.
;Rhys: Rhys has no family as sorcerers are born when lightning strikes marble. It is not known where Rhys was born, but it is speculated that he was born in Bamarre as he has had many experiences there and he is serving the five mandatory years of service to King Lionel, Bamarre's king and the father of Addie and Meryl. It is clear that Rhys differs from many sorcerers as he clearly has affection for human beings. He falls in love with Addie and marries her at the end of the novel, and it's also assumed they bore children.
;Meryl: Addie's older sister, known for her fearlessness and sense of adventure. Despite how ill she is from the Gray Death, she continues to protect Addie, which prompts Addie to seek out a cure for her sister. Despite her bravado, Meryl admits to Addie that in the end, Addie was the courageous one since she overcame her fears and put herself in danger for the sake of other people while Meryl had wanted to have adventures for the thrill of it. Despite Addie curing the Gray Death, it was too late for Meryl to survive, and instead was given the choice to die or become a fairy. She chooses the latter, and becomes Addie's "Fairy godmother", as well as Addie's children and grandchildren and so on.
;King Lionel: Meryl and Addie's father. He is a great coward who set off to find the cure for the Gray Death only to return without it. At the sight of his dying daughter, he doesn't weep and touch her because he is afraid of catching the Gray Death. He refers for answers to a book of riddles called Homely Truths. Lionel is still a coward by the end of the book.
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