February 13, 2004

Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

This is Book One of The Adventures of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; I picked it up for my daughter who's been looking for another good series to read. She's been on a Tamora Pierce kick for so long she's just about worn the books out from reading. But, of course, I had to see what they were about too, especially since I've seen Wrede's name several places and heard her mentioned as a good writer. And now I have to go get more of them and not for my daughter either. Ha, that'll teach me.

The book starts out like a fractured fairy tale. A princess, Princess Cimorene, is not the typical princess. She hates clothes, hates all the dancing lessons, hates to embroider and mostly doesn’t want to marry any of the incredibly stupid princes she's met. She wants to learn fencing and cooking and Latin and magic which just isn't done when you are a princess. So she runs away and becomes a volunteer "princess held captive by a dragon," except she loves it. The dragon actually wants her to learn Latin so she can help sort out and catalog the library. She has to learn a little magic too which she gets from learning Latin so she can read the spell books and she gets to try out recipes when she does all the cooking for the household. It's perfect; she's busy and useful and doesn’t have to worry about what she wears.

There is some conflict in the story, mostly involving wizards and princes who keep trying to rescue her while she keeps shooing them away so she can get on with her work. But what is entertaining is the way Princess Cimorene uses logic and common sense to blow holes in all the inflated notions of what is Done and what is Proper.

I enjoyed it. I laughed at parts and wondered where Wrede was going with the story at times and then watched as she used common sense and logic to get her princess out of the mess she is in. I'm hoping she can keep up the momentum and tempo in the following books. Now I have to go to the bookstore and find them.

Posted by Deb English at February 13, 2004 08:07 PM