Review: Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Talking to Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Four)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (March 2003)

Always be polite to dragon!

That’s what Daystar’s mother taught him . . . and it’s a very wise lesson – one that might just help him after his mom hands him a magic sword and kicks him out of the house. Especially because his house sits on the edge of the Enchanted Forest and his mother is Queen Cimorene.

But the tricky part is figuring out what he’s supposed to do with the magic sword. Where is he supposed to go? And why does everyone he meets seem to know who he is?

It’s going to take a particularly hotheaded fire-witch, a very verbose lizard, and a badly beahving dragon to help him figure it all out.

And those good manners certainly won’t help!

Rating: *** (3 stars)

TALKING WITH DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede is the fourth book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book follows the story of Daystar who at sixteen gets handed a magic sword by his mother and sent into the Enchanted Forest, and has to work out for himself what he has to do.

TALKING WITH DRAGONS marks a change in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, as Wrede changes the narrative from the third person, in the initial books, to first person in this one; allowing us to follow Daystar’s story from his perspective. I found the change to first person narration somewhat jarring, as it gives TALKING WITH DRAGONS a completely different feel to the other books; there was little of the humour prevalent in the previous books. I think Wrede was trying to add an air of mystery to the books, but for me any mystery was solved with the final chapter of CALLING ON DRAGONS (review); with the opening chapter of this book; and most irritatingly by the synopsis.

Having said all that, I did quite enjoy TALKING WITH DRAGONS. It reminded me in a lot of ways about the first books in the series, DEALING WITH DRAGONS and SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS (review). It certainly had a similar feel to both books. I also liked the fact that Daystar has a close relationship with his mother, and how she made very sure that he knew to be polite – regardless of the circumstances. The characters Daystar meets as he journeys through the Enchanted Forest are brilliantly written and well thought out. I particularly enjoyed the appearance of the baby dragon. I also enjoyed the friendship between Daystar and Shiara.

The plot of the book was quite simple, and set up nicely by the events in CALLING ON DRAGONS and actually answers some unanswered questions from that book. Although the plot was quite simple, and pretty easy to guess, I found the book to be an enjoyable read. This book was much more about the journey than the destination, though that description could apply to most of the books in this series. On the whole I thought that TALKING WITH DRAGONS brought the Enchanted Forest Chronicles to a good, solid, conclusion.

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