Review: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Books 1 & 2 by Patricia C. Wrede

The following two reviews are going to be a little different than normal, as I have read both books before (sometime in the early 2000s).

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book One)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (1st November 2002)
Blurb:

Princess by Birth. Adventurer by Choice.

Meet Princess Cimorene – a princess who refuses to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboy-ish, 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!

Review:

DEALING WITH DRAGONS is the first book in Patricia C. Wrede’s superb Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book follows the story of Princess Cimorene of Linderwall who finds that the life that is expected of her as a princess is actually rather dull. Especially as there are a lot of expectations about how a ‘proper’ princess is supposed to behave, and what she is supposed to do. When her parents try to marry her off to a prince, Princess Cimorene runs away and ends up living with Kazul the dragon.

DEALING WITH DRAGONS was one of the books I read when I was a young teen that really cemented my love of fantasy, particularly my love of fantasy with strong female heroes.

Princess Cimorene is not your typical princess; she has little interest in activities that are normally associated with princesses, and would instead prefer to learn Latin, or magic, or how to fence. I found her to be a really likeable and relatable character – I especially admired her ‘can do’ attitude. I also really liked Kazul the dragon, who I think Wrede wrote brilliantly. She was like an elder sister to Cimorene.

Wrede brings humour, fun, and a unique spin on what could be your typical fairy tale. Princess Cimorene is not stolen away by a dragon, instead she runs away to a dragon so she can live the life she wants. Neither does she have to be rescued by a prince, turning fairy tale conventions on their heads.

Although the main plot thread of DEALING WITH DRAGONS focuses on Cimorene finding her place in the world, Wrede cleverly interweaves some addition plot threads that make the book a compelling read. The story is easy to follow, and Wrede takes the typical ideas from fairy tales about what dragons are like and princesses, and princes, and wizards and turns them into something new.

If you are thinking of venturing into the realm of fantasy fiction, then this series might just be the one for you. Wrede writes a strong female hero, an interesting plot, and a humorous, interesting story.


 

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Two)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (November 2002)
Blurb:

Kidnap a dragon? How daring!

How stupid.

Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper, is back – but where is Kazul the dragon? That’s what Cimorene is determined to find out.

Luckily – or perhaps not-so luckily – she’s got help: Mendanbar, the not-very-kingly King of the Enchanted Forest, has joined her in her quest. So with the aid of a broken-down magic carpet, a leaky magical sword, and a few buckets of soapy lemon water, they set off across the Enchanted Forest to tackle the dragon-napping and save the King of the Dragons.

Review:

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS is the second book in Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and continues the story of Princess Cimorene and her life with Kazul the dragon. This time Kazul has disapperared, and Cimorene makes it her mission to find her. Meanwhile something is going on in the Enchanted Forest and its king, Mendanbar, is determined to find out what.

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS is a great addition to the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Wrede continues Cimorene’s journey, and introduces some new characters as well as more of the world. Wrede also continues the theme of re-imaging fairy tale tropes, which I think she does to great success.

The book starts by introducing us to the King of the Enchanted Forest, which I think helps us to get to know Mendanbar better. It was interesting to see what the world was like from his point of view. Cimorene was exactly as I expected her to be; comfortable and settled into her role as the King of Dragon’s Chief Cook and Librarian, and still exasperated with the occasional knight who turned up to try and rescue her.

The plot of the book focused on two main mysteries; where was the King of Dragons, and what was going on in the Enchanted Forest. I think this worked well, and Wrede told a compelling story, which was fun and enjoyable to follow. The world of the Enchanted Chronicles seems like a really interested, complex world. And I really love some of the ideas in this book that are introduced with the appearance of new characters.

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS had the same fun and irreverence as the previous book – if you enjoyed DEALING WITH DRAGONS then you are sure to enjoy this one too.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Books 1 & 2 by Patricia C. Wrede

  1. I never read these books as a child or teen, but I have read them as an adult, and I really liked them. Cameron was also so exasperated by the men coming to rescue her, and that just cracked me up. I also loved the Cimorene was just so confident. I knew she could get stuff done.

    I still have read books 3 &4.

    Like

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