Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Dealing with Dragons

I realized after my most recent blog post that, while I've mentioned Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles in glowing terms repeatedly over the lifetime of this blog, I've never properly reviewed them. And, since they are hilarious cliche-breaking books that I believe every fantasy writer should read, I'll go ahead and review them now.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are a four-book series, and although the last two are all right, the first two are the best. My favorite of all of them is definitely the first one, Dealing with Dragons, so that's the book that I'll review here.

Title: Dealing with Dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede

Page count: 240 pages

Stars: 5 stars, All-Time-Favorite
  • 5 = an amazing book that delivers a punch. Read this!  

Teaser: Cimorene is not a traditional princess. She's tall with black hair rather than dainty with golden tresses, she learns to fence instead of dance, she's bored sick at the castle, and she definitely doesn't want to marry a prince. Instead, she runs away to volunteer her services to a dragon. The rest of the story is a hilarious series of adventures and misadventures in which Cimorene deals with confused knights, stone princes, dangerous wizards, a cat-loving witch, quarrelsome dragons, and lots of soap.

Age level: Preteens and up (younger children would probably enjoy it, but they might not be able to appreciate the sarcasm and satiric humor)

  • 1 = mild injuries appropriate for all ages
  • 1 = a hint of romance (the second book contains slightly more romance, or a 2 rating on my scale)
  • 0 = none (there may have been some humorous exclamation at some point along the lines of "leaping lizards" but I don't recall exactly)

Christian worldview: There's no religious content, but it's written in the tradition of knights-in-shining-armor, that is, with chivalry and respect towards ladies. Definitely nothing anti-Christian, unless you're opposed to magic occurring in a fantasy world.

My thoughts: Have you ever wanted to read a book that took the conventions of fantasy stories--frog princes, princesses held captive by dragons, and knights in shining armor--and turned them on their head? Well, search no further: Dealing with Dragons is the best fantasy satire I've ever read. I love this book so much that I bought it for my younger sister for a birthday present years ago!

If you need convincing, just take a look at the chapter titles. "Chapter 2: In which Cimorene Discovers the Value of Classical Education and Has Some Visitors," "Chapter 5: In which Cimorene Receives a Formal Call from Her Companions in Dire Captivity," and "Chapter 14: In which [some bad guys] Try to Make Trouble, and Cimorene Does Something about It."

I'll leave you with this sorrowful monologue from a sad prince that Cimorene befriends: "It's been three years since I graduated, and everyone's still waiting for me to do something spectacular," the stone prince said, lengthening his stride. "The rest of my classmates are already making names for themselves. George started killing dragons right away, and Art went straight home and pulled some sort of magic sword out of a rock. Even the ones nobody expected to amount to much have done something. All Jack wanted to do was go back to his mother's farm and raise beans, and he ended up stealing a magic harp and killing a giant and all sorts of things. I'm the only one who hasn't succeeded."

So don't miss this book, really! It's a hilarious story that everyone should read and enjoy.


  1. It's definitely on my to-read list. (:

  2. I've wanted to read these for a long time! Definitely bumping them up on my list! Thanks for the great review :)

  3. Oh my goodness! I remember reading this book years ago... I have yet to finish reading all the wonderful series out there! I love fantasy. :) Have you read Eragon? I love those books to death. <3


    1. Yeah, I've read Eragon and loved them in declining order - the first one was great, the second one was good, the third one was surprising but okay, and the last book… *grits teeth* So overall I did enjoy that series! Thanks for the comment, Sami!

  4. Lovely, well-informed review! Thank you, I am currently reading it because of you! :) I ordered it online a few weeks ago and I couldn't wait to read it, so now I am! Have you ever heard of the Blackwell Pages (series) by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr? I like the first book a lot, but I can't seem to 'get into' the story very well...

    God bless you and your wonderful blog! <3

    1. Awww that makes me so happy, Noemie!!

      No, I haven't heard of Blackwell Pages, but I'll have to look it up :) Thanks for the recommendation!

      Thanks so much for your comment!!


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