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...
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