Finale First

It’s only to be expected that I finished the Enchanted Forest Chronicles today.  After all, there’s only the four books and two short stories in the Book of Enchantments, and I read the first two books yesterday.  That left Calling on Dragons and Talking to Dragons for today.

The third book is the only time in the series that we actually find out what Morwen’s cats are saying, as she is the main character this time.  She actually has nine cats, not a one of them black, and they all have opinions on everything.  Well, that’s normal for a cat, even when you don’t know what it’s saying.  Calling on Dragons takes place a bit over a year following the previous book, and sees Mendanbar’s sword stolen.  Morwen is one of the party determined to retrieve it.

Fitting for a penultimate book, it ends on a stalemate that can only be resolved in the fourth and final book.  However, Talking to Dragons is only the last book chronologically.  In reality, it was published six years before Dealing with Dragons, and the contents of the first three books are actually summarized in three and a half pages after the climax.  You can tell, too, that this is the oldest book.  Patricia C. Wrede’s writing is a bit more formal and stilted here, as compared to her later work. There’s also a bit less humor, or maybe it’s just drier.

Daystar is the protagonist of Talking to Dragons, and he tells the story in first person – a contrast to the third person used for the rest of the series.  He lived with his mother in a small house just outside the Enchanted Forest, leading a relatively quiet life.  Then one day a wizard comes by, determined to have his revenge on Daystar’s mother…who casually melts him.  Then she cleans up the soppy mess, hides the wizard’s staff, and disappears while Daystar continues his chores.

Then he sees her coming out of the Forest with a beautiful, clearly magical, sword.  She tells him that he must take the sword into the Enchanted Forest, that he’ll know what to do, and she can’t tell him anything more.  Some quest, huh?  As you can imagine, it’s quite the adventure for a young man of sixteen years.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are classic fantasy books.  I’m not sure if I should really call them children’s or young adult books, because unlike so many of those today, these books don’t talk down to their readers, and are equally appealling for any age.  But if I had to go by the minimum age you have to be in order to understand them, I guess I’d have to call them children’s books, for mid-grade students.  They are chapter books with no illustrations, and the chapters aren’t that short.  But do you really need pictures when you have such vivid imagery and adventures?

As much as I love these books, they’re so short and quickly read.  So once again I will have to wander around my library, considering what book is most attractive for tomorrow.  I think I’ll still be rereading, since I really have gone through a lot of new books in a very short period of time (for me).  Though I feel I should try to make progress on my Book of the Month for June, given that the month ends Friday.  I did end up renewing my subscription, but I will probably continue to be as picky and cautious over my selections.


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