Book Review: Dealing with Dragons

Book Review: Dealing with DragonsDealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede
Published by Scholastic on July 1st 1992
Genres: Adolescence, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 212
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Once upon a time there was a bad princess...

Take one bored princess. Make her the seventh daughter in a very proper royal family. Have her run away.

Add one powerful, fascinating, dangerous dragon.

The Princess Cimorene has never met anyone (or anything) like the dragon Kazul. But then, she's never met a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, or a stone prince either.

Princess Cimorene ran away to find some excitement. She's about to...

I simply cannot say enough positive things about this book. As one of my favorite series growing up, this book shaped my love of dragons, strong heroines, and fantasy. And reading it as an adult is still just as fun as it was when I was a kid, with its wry sense of humor, which constantly makes me laugh out loud, and interesting characters that break out of the typical fantasy mold.

No one challenges the status quo more than Princess Cimorene, the seventh daughter of Linderwall, a peaceful kingdom. Bored with her dancing and etiquette lessons, Cimorene sneaks fencing lessons, and when caught, switches to magic, Latin, and cooking lessons—all things considered improper for a princess. When Cimorene learns that she will be forced to marry Prince Therandil, an idiot of the highest degree, she takes the advice of a strangely wise talking frog and does the most proper thing she’s ever done—get captured by a dragon.

She meets Kazul, a female dragon who just happens to love cherries jubilee—Cimorene’s specialty—and needs someone to organize her mostly Latin library. It is a match made in heaven. Hilarity ensues as Cimorene must cleverly fend off hordes of rescuers, who can’t believe she actually volunteered to be a dragon’s princess! She also encounters, a witch, a jinn, a magic homicidal bird, a stone prince, and some dastardly wizards.

Throughout it all, Cimorene is shrewd, discerning, and able to outsmart any challenge that appears. In fact, after attempting to kill her, a giant bird remarks, “Will wonders never cease. For once a human with sense….,” before bestowing his three magical black feathers on her as a result of failing to kill her. Of course, she fended him off on her own instead of relying on Kazul to swoop in and save her from danger. Not too surprisingly, Cimorene actually does the saving of her dragon, and not the other way around. View Spoiler » Plus, the way in which she saves the day, View Spoiler » is truly hilarious.

In actuality, Cimorene is the epitome of what every heroine should aspire to be, independent, brave, caring, and capable without being arrogant or overbearing. She makes fast friends with a no-nonsense witch Morwen, even though she grew up learning witches were evil and dangerous, as well as with another dragon’s princess, Alianora, and takes her under her protective wing. She also manages to get rid of all her would-be rescuers without hurting a single one of their feelings and in a way that makes them feel like they haven’t lost out at all in failing to complete their quest. Every child and adult, especially young women, should read this book and learn from her example. The world needs more Cimorenes.

But Cimorene isn’t the only great character in this book. I am also entirely fond of Morwen, the witch with droves of sentient cats and a magical, spotless house that somehow makes room for Kazul to fit into her kitchen. Kazul, the dragon doesn’t disappoint either, supporting Cimorene in all of her ventures—including quests for crepe pans, fireproofing spells, and putting a stop to those meddling wizardsl—never once keeping her princess locked in a tower or anything so typical. The Stone Prince, with his interesting and humorous predicament, and the evil wizard Zemenar round out the cast of characters superbly.

Whenever I am feeling down or having a rough day, I return to this book. It is so delightful and always manages to make me happy. It’s a short read, but there is not a single boring moment in this sweetly empowering book, as Cimorene is always conquering something. It will always be one of my favorites and I’m sure if you read it, it will be one of yours too.

Book Reviews - - Dealing with Dragons

Posted August 22, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Books

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