‘Dealing With Dragons’ by Patricia C. Wrede

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Genres: Fantasy, YA, Humorous, Dragons, Children’s, Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Similar books: Howl’s Moving Castle

Previous books by the author/in the series: None

Rating: Highly Recommended YA Fantasy with Humor

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Cimorene is an endlessly determined young woman who’s key character trait is her agency. No one can force Cimorene to do anything she doesn’t want to do, not her parents, not the dragon who ‘kidnapped’ her, no one.
    • The setting is sparkling in an almost Diana Wynne Jones sort of way. This takes place in a world where fairy tales are not only real, but sort of laws of physics. You have talking frogs, knights in shining armor, dragons who kidnap princess, and all of them are aware that there are fairy tale rules which apply to them.
    • The story is just fun. Cimorene + her new friends must come to the bottom of a conspiracy which will influence all dragon-kind. The plot involves numerous twists and turns.
    • This book is pitched towards younger readers, but doesn’t talk down to them.
    • I listened to the Full Cast Audio production, and as always a good production REALLY makes a difference. It was fantastic.
    • Whimsy! Whimsy out the wazoo!
  • Mixed
    • The author used foreshadowing well in some ways, and poorly in others.
  • Cons
    • This book has a ‘convenient plot device’ problem. The main character needs some chicken teeth? Well this bottle I accidentally opened contains a djinni who will give me chicken teeth! We’re being held hostage by a wizard? Well this bucket of water right here will melt them! The author relied on too many of these convenient solutions to solve the plot’s problems.

 

I saw this review a few weeks back and it made me nostalgic, so I decided to go back and re-read this one. It’s been ~15 years since I read it last, so I basically remembered nothing about this. It was well worth a return journey.

Check this out if your child (or your inner child) is between the ages of about 10 and 15. This book is especially targeted towards audiences of the girl YA persuasion, but I think adults as well as boys can read and like it. The prose is enjoyable and whimsical, like returning to your childhood after being an adult for far too long.

I’ll be reading more in this series because the books are short, the full cast audio production is delightful and the book’s content was fun.

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