Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: Dealing with Dragons

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1
Published September 18 1990 by HMH Books

Meet Princess Cimorene - a princess who refuses to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboy-ish, smart...

And bored.

So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul - one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she's coping with a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince, and some very oily wizards.

If this princess ran away to find some excitement, it looks like she's found plenty!

Dealing with Dragons is, in a few words: a delight. Don't let the incredibly short blurb - and the book's compact size put you off - this is a book that is a must-read for fantasy-lovers and dragon-fans alike! I can't believe I only read this one now, and if anyone out there hasn't read this little gem yet, I urge you to fix that as soon as possible.

Within the first few pages of this book,  I already knew I was in for a treat. Dealing with Dragons tells the story of a princess who is exceedingly unsatisfied with, well, being a princess.  Cimorene has had quite enough of being taught how to be proper, how to curtsy and whatnot. In fact, she finds everything about being a princess to be exceedingly boring.  The seventh daughter of the King and Queen, all of her six sisters before her were perfect, blonde, proper...and already married off to their respective Princes. Cimorene, on the other hand, has black hair, is too tall and has a penchant for getting into trouble by speaking her mind. I don't know about you guys, but I like this girl already!
Despite her best efforts to learn interesting and useful things like magic and sword-fighting, the King and Queen insist on finding a prince for her to marry, like all of her sisters before her. When Cimorene discovers that the King and Queen have struck a deal to marry her off to a conceited and slightly daft Prince 'Charming', she does the only thing she can think of to avoid her faith: she runs away. And she runs straight into a Dragon Lair...

As the title suggests, Dealing with Dragons has its fair share of dragons.  We aren't limited to just the one that Cimorene ends up befriending - there's a large group of them living in the mountains. They even have a societal structure, rules, a king (that doesn't need to be male) and a queen (that doesn't need to be female)! Awesome right?  The dragons here run the gamut from fearsome, friendly, intelligent and scheming.  When Cimorene hits it off with the female Kazul and becomes 'her' princess, that's where the fun really begins.  There's a witch with lots of cats - cats that aren't afraid of dragons by the way (LOL) - a jinn, scheming wizards, killer birds, magic spells, enchanted forests and caves...not to mention a few princes.

I enjoyed every moment of Cimorene's adventures. As a character, she was an inspiration and a breath of fresh air when it comes to the usual trope when dealing with princesses. She's strong, intelligent and not at all concerned with finding her prince charming.  As you can guess, there is very little romance to be had, but I wouldn't have it any other way ♥ The writing style is simple, but beautifully fluid and full of life. Cimorene's dragon, Kazul is smart, strong and (mostly) friendly - I already can't wait to learn more about her.  The secondary characters add some flavor and intrigue and I was enchanted by the lot of them.  The book is a bit short to pack the emotional punch that some YA fantasy manages to, but it won me over all the same.  Fans of MG/YA fantasy with dragons should definitely pick up Dealing with Dragons. I can't wait to get on with the rest of the series!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

22 comments:

  1. This was one of my favorite series as a kid! And I reread them recently, last year I think, and they all held up for me just as well now as they did then. :)

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    1. Oh that's awesome - that's the definition of a good book, when it holds up to the test of time! And you're lucky to have read them as a kid too :D Thanks for stopping by Nikki^^

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  2. Ooo I remember when last year a few of my fellow blogs I follow all seemed to read this at the same time and Anya gifted me a copy. I totally need to dive into it because you make it sound amazing and I had totally forgotten about it!

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    1. I think Anya's the one who probably brought this one to my attention haha^^ yeah, you totally should read it, I think you'd enjoy it too! So enchanting ♥

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  3. Ha, I really like the cover of this book. It sounds like you had a great time reading it! Dragons are such awesome creatures, I love encountering them in books

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    1. I do too^^ And honestly, it was a blast, dragons are among my favorite creatures and these ones were definitely something special :)

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  4. Yey so agreed! I remember laughing out loud when I read the first book, and Morwen's cats are pretty awesome in the third book ;-).

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    1. It's just such a fun, positive and honestly adorable read^^ I'm excited to get caught up with the rest of the series :)

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  5. I already liked the cover and your review made me smile and laugh - definitely adding it to my list, great review, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Awww that's the best comment a girl can get^^ :D I'm happy you're adding it to your tbr shelf - I hope you have as much fun with it as I did!

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  6. I actually own this novel! I love going back to some of the older fantasy novels and reading them. Unlike many other genres, fantasy never loses the luster, even with the passage of time.

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    1. Same here^^ I get bored of reading new releases sometimes and since I went to a French school, I missed out on a lot of classics. And you're right: fantasy NEVER loses it's luster ♥ I hope you manage to get to this one soon :)

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  7. Oh, this sounds wonderful! And- DRAGONS! Cimorene seems like a heroine I'll absolutely love, too. So glad you enjoyed this one, Micheline! :D

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    1. YES - DRAGONS ♥ Cimorene was such a wonderful heroine, I just know you'd love her :D I can't wait to compare notes with you Lee^^ xx

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  8. I can only imagine what a delight this must be! I've seen this on GR awhile ago and it sounds refreshing and cute and full of fantasy. But I don't really buy MG books anymore :/ because I prefer YA, you know? So I'll check if they have it at the library! Wonderful review!

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    1. Well, it's sort of a cross between MG and YA to be honest, the MC is old enough to be married, but the style and plot is a bit more simple than the usual YA fare. I hope you do check it out regardless Lola :)

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  9. I love fantasy and dragons and this one sounds like a refreshing read with a princess who doesn't really want to just be a figurehead. This one seems like a cute MG read that I can share with my cousin. Thanks for the recommendation, Micheline!

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    1. Same here^^ The MC was definitely a breath of fresh air but to be honest, the dragons were as well! Anytime doll and thanks for stopping by :D

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  10. I wonder why I missed this as a child, I've never actually read a book about dragons before, not that I can recall :( I loved reading your review though, I just added this to my TBR now. I hope I enjoy it as much as you have<3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. Oh my, you really must read a book about dragons then Benish! If not this one, then anything else will do ;) I'm happy you added this one to your tbr - I hope you'll love it! ♥

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  11. Well doesn't this make me feel nostalgic! Not that I ever read this one myself, but it reminds me a lot of the books I used to read back in the day and the cover is very familiar to me... I feel like it was probably one that I always wanted to read, but just never got around to it! I should though - I mean cuz DRAGONS!! Heh, glad you enjoyed this one :)

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    1. hahaha I know what you mean, the cover totally reminds me of old classic fantasy books from my childhood. I'm sure I would have loved it as much back then as I did now too! OMG I hope you do read it Aylee, the MC is of marrying age so it's not as MG as it looks and it was SUCH a treat :D

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