Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart. . . . and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon . . . and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for. (Amazon)
Reviewed by Megan Hutchins
Cimorene is not a normal princess. She knows a bit of magic, Latin, fencing, and a great recipe for chocolate mousse. When her parents decide to marry her off to a dim-witted prince, she runs away and volunteers to be a dragon's princess. Soon, she's dealing with knights and princes that want to rescue her and wizards who are plotting something else entirely.
This book is a light, fast, funny read that screams "fractured fairy tale." I adore books that play with fairy tales, and Patricia C. Wrede is a master at it. The novel is young adult, but it's accessible to younger kids, too. I used to keep my nine-year-old brothers up too late on school nights reading chapters to them. Cimorene is a clever, confident heroine that appeals to both male and female readers -- there wasn't enough "mushy" here to make even my squeamish brothers run away.
The rest of the series (Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons) is refreshingly as good as the first. I actually read the last book first, and I'm tempted to recommend it. The last book takes place some fifteen years after the third book, with a character in over his head with doing he doesn't understand. I spent the book being mystified, horrified, and thrilled right along with him. If you read the other books first, you'll bite your nails and fruitlessly shout advice instead. Either way, it's an enjoyable reading experience -- my copies are well-creased.
Market: Young Adult Fiction
Mature Themes: Arranged marriage