Monday, August 14, 2006

Dealing with Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede [August/06]

This is book one in the young adult Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I like fairy tale type novels, as I think I have made clear in previous posts. This book makes fun of fairy tales and the common expectations found in them.

From the back of the book:

Meet Princess Comorene - a princess who refuses to be proper. She 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 not just any dragon, but Kazul - one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she's coping with a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince, and some very oily wizards.

If this princess ran away to find some excitement, it looks like she's found plenty!

I really enjoyed this first book in the series. I had planned to read the rest of the series in a row, but I am sort of scatter brain and easily distracted by other pretty covers and interesting blurbs. Anyways, this series is not supposed to be taken seriously. It is a comical look at life as a princess. It basically takes all the misconceptions associated with fairy tales, and makes fun of them. It doesn't always change them entirely, for example there are still happy endings, but it is like the badass version of fairy tale writing. Where instead of all the females being damsels in distress, some of them have brains. It is a female author showing the world that not all princesses are stupid and helpless.

For those out there that are not fond of fantasy, I think this series will still appeal to you. They are a very entertaining read, and from what I am told, just get more entertaining. It is always an experience to read novels that include dragons, witches, wizards, and other fairy tale characters. This book sort of reminds of Mercedes Lackey's The Fairy Godmother because it looks at how when you are a princess or a prince, certain things have to happen. It is like a list of possible problems that the royalty must face. Cimorene is not your typical princess, though. When she gets caught up in the need to be wed, she doesn't wait for a dragon to come and kidnap her and a prince or knight to save her, she goes and offers herself to the dragons until she finds the man that she wants to marry. Thus breaking the rules of fairy tales.

Cimorene is a delightful character. One of these days I will find the time to read the other 4 books in the box set. I know a lot of people that read my blog like young adult books, so if you haven't read these yet, I recommend them for a good laugh!



  1. I have wondered about these books. I love the cover art.

    Another good book that slightly messes with the conventions of fantasy and is good all around YA fun is Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris.

  2. Oh, thanks for the recommendation!


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