Magic, Time Travel, and Other Fun Stuff

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Overlooked Books 1: Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede

My first Overlooked Books Review goes to the first book in Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Dealing with Dragons. 

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a four-book series about a princess named Cimorene, her friends and family, and their adventures. In Dealing With DragonsPrincess Cimorene, fed up with her boring life and determined not to marry an annoying prince, decides to take matters into her own hands by running away and ends up in the cave of a dragon named Kazul. Working for a dragon is exactly the excitement Cimorene was looking for. However, it comes with its fair share of challenges: princes and knights who won’t stop trying to “rescue” Cimorene, stuck up and annoying princesses who work for other dragons, and wizards who seem to be concocting a devious scheme. Cimorene must use her intelligence, courage, and unique way of looking at the world to face these problems and find her place in the world. 

I absolutely love this book. Wrede’s writing is offbeat and often hilarious, and she does a wonderful job of both buying into the traditional fantasy genre and satirizing it. Her characters are vibrant and interesting, especially Cimorene, who takes no shit, kicks ass when she needs to, makes a fabulous cherries jubilee, and refuses to fit any stereotype. 

Dealing With Dragons is a refreshing departure from fantasy books where romance is the be-all end-all of a girl’s life. Cimorene doesn’t bother with a distracting romance, she’s too busy being independent and cleaning a dragon’s cave! For me, at least, this was a welcome change from constantly reading books where a character can’t find fulfillment until she’s got a guy by her side.

There are some continuity issues between Dealing With Dragons and the subsequent books in the series, mainly in the form of characters who drop off the face of the earth without explanation. One of the most important characters in book 1 is never mentioned again, and the secondary protagonist of the series isn’t even introduced until book 2. However, all four books are very good and I recommend all of them.

In conclusion, Dealing With Dragons is an entertaining, refreshing journey through a fantasy world with amazing characters and hilarious writing. It stays away from messy love triangles and over-complicated plots, instead being a wonderfully simple tale of magic, friendship, and dragons. I highly recommend!

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