It was somewhat inevitable that after I got the Enchanted Forest on my mind, I would have to reread the series. And given that these books are a little over 200 pages apiece, it’s not at all difficult to do so. Perfect for that bit of light rereading while I work on a side project. I cannot even begin to guess how many times I’ve read these books, but the covers haven’t fallen off yet. (I have to say “yet” because I’m starting to worry about them when I put the cover on or take it off.) There’s still pencil underlining some text from when I did a project in gradeschool. We were told to illustrate a fictional character, and I chose Kazul.
But let’s talk story. Dealing with Dragons introduces us to Cimorene, a rather improper Princess. Unsatisfied with her incredibly normal life, she runs away from home and finds herself attached to the dragon Kazul. It’s a status point, to have a princess to cook and clean for a dragon, and very different from living in a palace. Not only are there the normal chores, but there’s treasure to be polished and sorted, a library to catalogue…all sorts of things.
Oh, and the knights that show up periodically, insisting on fighting the dragon that they might rescue the princess.
It sounds a bit boring and simple for a story, but I assure you, this was one of my earliest exposures towards a tongue-in-cheek attitude towards fairy tales. The first chapter in Dealing with Dragons is titled “In Which Cimorene Refuses to be Proper and Has a Conversation with a Frog” and I think it gives you a good idea as to how the book will go. Admittedly, Patricia C. Wrede’s chapter titles aren’t quite as sharp as Rick Riordan’s…but these books are also more than thirty books older. Times change, and so do writing styles.
I also finished Searching for Dragons, the second book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The main character this time is Mendanbar, the King of the Enchanted Forest, and the time is about a year after the conclusion of the first book. Mendanbar has noticed some problems in his kingdom and the obvious solution is to talk to the King of the Dragons. There’s just one problem: the King of Dragons is missing. It’s up to Cimorene and Mendanbar to take up the search before things go from bad to worse.
I do love these books. They’re simple and easy, yes, but thoroughly enjoyable time after time. You can tell by the Scholastic mark on them that they are clearly meant for children, but just like young adult books that shouldn’t keep older readers away. It’s no wonder that I picked up later books such as Thirteenth Child or Snow White and Rose Red when I saw Wrede’s name on them; with an introduction like the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, I could never forget her ability to enthrall me.