The third book of the four Enchanted Forest Chronicles continues the clever stories of Cimorene, Mendanbar, and company. Each volume is sucessive, so reading them in order is a good idea. Morwen, the practical witch who brought all the characters together one way or another, is a major player this time (along with her equally sensible cats). This one takes place after the events involving a magic sword that controls King Mendanbar's Enchanted Forest. The sword has been stolen and the rescue team consists of Cimorene, Morwen, her cats, Telemain, Kazul, and Killer the rabbit-donkey.
The ladies are great role models of intelligence, reason, and strength. All of which they need when they encounter fire witches, hungry vines, and a whole lot of mud. Telemain and Killer provide the comic relief.
Again, Patricia Wrede is in fine form with her trademark sly humor and fairy tale jokes. The detail and plot are complete *and* completely fun. Many fantasy books get bogged down in their own importance. Wrede never takes it that seriously, all the while maintaining a high degree of authorial responsibility. This is particularly important in this book because it ends on a cliff hanger that gets resolved in the final book. Again, Wrede does not disappoint. Her books, which I first read in junior high, have been the perfect comfort reading to cheer me up and take me away to a world every bit as convincing as other great fantasies like Narnia, the Dark is Rising books, and Jane Yolen.