4 out of 5
I received an ARC of this work
The Latki and Bamarre share a kingdom, with the Latki ruling and the Bamarre working as a permanently subjugated underclass. Peregrine is a girl stuck between worlds. She was born to a Bamarre family but a Latki Lady stole her from her family (apparently Perry’s father had been stealing food from a garden). Raised as Latki, when her heritage is revealed she must choose her side and the world she wants to be a part of.
Like the companion book, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, the shadows of the original fairy tale are very slight. Perry’s magical hair and her brief tower imprisonment make a slight appearance, but this novel is much more than just a rewrite of Rapunzel. Aside from a few nods to other fairy tale (magical tablecloths and seven-league boots), this work has a much larger scope. Rapunzel is a story about one girl breaking free of her imprisonment. The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre is a story about an entire people breaking free from slavery and oppression.
Perry grows up as part of the ruling class, valuing physical strength, bravery and believing conquest through arms is right. She genuinely loves her Latki mother and father and never really bothers to question their place in the world. When she finds out she is Bamarre she has to worry immediately about whether her parents will still love her. She has to acclimatize to being Bamarre when she is reunited with her birth parents and for a while she never feels accepted by either side. She likes poetry too much to be a true Latki, but she is too forceful to truly be Bamarre. Her identity is completely in question and she is torn.
This is a very strong addition to Gail Carson Levine’s bibliography. The story has some great themes about identity and belonging and is a wonderful read.