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Dealing with Dragons

by Patricia Wrede
Series: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1
240 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Kristi

A humorous read and a spunky heroine, with a few things to be aware of regarding magical content.

Plot

Princess Cimorene is driving her parents to desperation. She's not short, demure and golden-haired like her six older sisters, and to make matters worse, she keeps bullying members of the court to teach her things highly inappropriate for a princess: cooking, Latin, swordplay, and magic. When her parents finally manage to betroth her to the rather dull Prince Therandil, Cimorene declares that she would rather be eaten by a dragon. But Cimorene should be careful what she wishes for. Taking the advice of a talking frog, she runs away in search of someone who can help her, and finds an adventure unlike anything she ever expected. Rashly volunteering to be a dragon's princess, she enters the service of the dragon Kazul and learns that dealing with dragons is anything but dull. Now if only those annoying princes would stop trying to rescue her...

Morality

By and large, the characters behave consistently depending on whether they are supposed to be good guys or bad guys. Cimorene is somewhat argumentative and defiant toward her parents.

Spiritual Content

Cimorene learns a little about magic from the court magician, and later uses Kazul's library to find a spell to make herself and a friend fireproof. (Dragons can be rather short-tempered you know.) They spend part of the book gathering ingredients, and the casting of the spell involves the drawing of a circle, an unfortunate reminder of real pagan practices, though most of the magic in the book is of the fairy tale variety. We also meet a friendly witch named Morwen who owns a number of cats which behave somewhat as familiars.

Violence

There is some action fighting, but this is not graphic. Several baddies melt (yes, like the Wicked Witch of the West), but return later.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

For the most part, Dealing With Dragons is a delightful, humorous read with a spunky and memorable heroine. Readers may want to be aware of the study of sorcery in which Cimorene engages, as this is something she continues in future books in the series, though it is generally kept light. Readers should also be aware that the third volume is told from the witch Morwen's (and her many cats) point of view. Books one and two, by far the better two of the four book series, use the character of the good witch more rarely, and mostly keep the magic within the realm of the humorous and fanciful.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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