A Tale of Two Castles – Gail Carson Levine
When twelve-year-old Elodie leaves home to apprentice herself in the town of Two Castles, she is determined to learn the art of performance and become a mansioner. Her arrival, however, does not go according to plan and she soon finds herself embroiled in the intrigues of a temperamental dragon, an unpopular king and an ostracised ogre. A fiendish plot is afoot and everyone has their secrets. Who can Elodie really trust?
Gail Carson Levine has a matter-of-fact style that’s easy to read, especially for the younger audience this book is aimed at, and puts a spin entirely her own on this very loose retelling of ‘Puss in Boots’. Elodie is a capable protagonist and the supporting characters are charmingly unconventional (mild spoiler: my favourite is the gender non-conformist, wannabe detective dragon). Carson Levine’s other books include Ella Enchanted and Fairest.