As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

August 21, 2011

DEALING WITH DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede, 1990

Dealing with Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book OneCimorene 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
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Arranged marriage

Book formats:


Jessica Day George said...

OH HOW I LOVE THIS BOOK! I think anyone who's read DRAGON SLIPPERS is well aware of how much I love this book, and its sequels. There is a fabulous short story in Wrede's BOOK OF ENCHANTMENTS, too. Not to be missed!

MKHutchins said...

Ooh! Book of Enchantments were some of the first short stories I ever read. I promptly made the quick after battle triple chocolate cake (in a pan, not a helmet) when I finished.

Jenn said...

This is one of my favorite series of all time!

Meredith said...

I just read these for the first time! I really wondered how different it would have been to read book 4 first. Anyhow, they were great!