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The rebellious princess has become so common, she's now a cliche. A princess doesn't like her life of privilege and wealth, so she either hangs around her home being rebellious, or she runs away.

But what if a princess ran away from home... to be housekeeper to a dragon?

That's the concept of "Dealing With Dragons," a clever little fantasy that tells its own quirky story while cleverly lampooning the tropes of high fantasy and fairy tales. A lot of the charm comes from Patricia Wrede's humorous dialogue ("Oh bother!") and the cliche-busting character of Cimorene, who just wants to be free to pursue her love of unprincessy things like cooking and magic.

Princess Cimorene is rather put out when she's told that she cannot use swords, Latin conjugation, spoons or magic... because she's a princess. When her parents decide they're going to marry her off to the son of Sathem-by-the-Mountains, she takes the advice of a magic frog and runs away... to become the housekeeper and personal princess of a dragon, Kazul.

This lifestyle suits Cimorene much better than her "proper" princess life, despite the princes and knights who keep trying to rescue her. But she soon discovers that the dragons are in danger from the wizards -- and before long, they have poisoned the King of the Dragons. And if Cimorene doesn't thwart the wizards' plot, dragon society might be turned upside down.

One of the best things about "The Enchanted Forest Chronicles" is that it is a pretty decent high fantasy story. In addition to the whole fun story about a princess trying to escape her stuffy princessy life, there's some entertaining dragon politics, magical strife, and melting wizards. None of it takes itself too seriously, but there is an actual plot here to be appreciated on its own.

But while telling its own story, it's gently poking fun at the sort of things you find in these sorts of stories and how they're typically used (Cimorene tries to avoid a marriage by declaring "he hasn't rescued me from a giant or an ogre or freed me from a magic spell"). And Wrede's writing matches this plot nicely -- quirky and clever, with a slightly British flavour, and plenty of humorous dialogue ("If they'd simply done what they were told, they wouldn't be here." "Still, turning them into slabs of stone forever seems a little extreme").

Since the Rebellious Princess is pretty standard now, it's fun to see one that doesn't whine much, even if she likes all sorts of things that aren't princessy (magic, fencing, cooking cherries jubilee). So her sensible approach to getting her own freedom is quite delightful, especially since it shows that she doesn't need a man. Which, of course, doesn't stop various men -- including her unwanted suitor Therandil -- from coming to rescue her against her will.

And her sensible, no-nonsense approach to everything is really quite charming, whether she's trying to reason with a homicidal jinn or doing Kazul's dishes. Kazul herself is a fun dragon character, being very reasonable and sensible in her own right, and Wrede presents a number of charming characters like Morwen, a witch with cats and a sign that says "NONE OF THIS NONSENSE, PLEASE."

Patricia C. Wrede brings and humour to the old princess/dragon dynamic in "Dealing With Dragons," even as she pokes fun at all the old fairy tale tropes. An enchanting start to an enchanting series.
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on July 1, 2004
Sixteen-year-old Cimorene, Princess of Linderwall, is everything that a Princess should not be. She's headstrong, curious, stubborn, opinionated, smart, and tomboyish. Not only that, she is bored. Utterly, and completely bored. So when she has the chance to runaway, she takes it. Now she's living with Kazul, one of the most dangerous and powerful dragons around. A dragon who looks vicious, but is really quite sweet to her. However, Cimorene being Cimorene, she has a knack for finding and befriending dangerous characters such as a witch named Moranz, a stone Prince, a death-dealing talking bird, some wizards who are up to no good, and more. Adventure was what Cimorene was looking for, and this little Princess certainly got it!
Fans of fantasy novels will be overjoyed to find DEALING WITH DRAGONS, which is the first book in the ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES. Cimorene is an extremely fun character who will warm the hearts of children of all ages, especially females, as DEALING WITH DRAGONS is one of the few fantasy series heralding a female as the main character. The descriptions of the dragons, both personality and looks-wise, will charm even the grumpiest of people, as they are vivid and enchanting and make you feel as if you are right there alongside them. Patricia C. Wrede has done an amazing job with this novel, and I look forward to reading Book Two in the series SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS.
Erika Sorocco
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on June 2, 2004
Dealing With Dragons is the type of book where you read the last sentance and you wish it had lasted longer. You wish that it didn't have to end. A book where you can't WAIT to get your hands on the sequal! I finished this book in less time than i expected it to take me to finnish. I fell in love with the story and the plot from the moment the characters were introduced through the climax to the moment where all of them were settling down again. What isn't there to like about this book? It isnt at all like the ideal fairy-tale with fragile princessses and heroic knights. Princess Cimorene isnt the average princess who spends hours learning ediqitte and manners and when to faint. She Prefers fencing and magic, all of which are "absolutely unheard of" according to her parents. But when she finally finds the life she has always wanted, its with a dragon named Kazul. Now take the princes that want to rescue her in spite of tradition and imagine how they would feel if the princess refuses to be resuced! That, my friends, is a story you dont want to miss! Each page is full of action and irony and lovable characters with realistic goals and traits. :)
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on April 20, 2004
Prince tired of have hear parent boss her telling her how to be proper. Not wanting to married runs off. From a frog she gets information of some people that might help here. When she get there she meet the dragons.
She is scared at first because some of the dragons want to eat her. She volunters to be a princess to one of the Dragons so she will not have to get married. Kazul a big strong female dragon take Comore in because she needs help with her latin. She loves cheery jublies and she like her.
There was on part in the book I thought was a little corney when Kazul has a part and has some of her friends over. You sevre dessert you think it would be something nasty like goblin intestines. But instead it's chochalate moose.
When I first read this part I laughed in my head. This book apparently is made for 5 year olds.
She help stop the evil wizadr society and the Evil dragon Warg.
Full of fun action adventure in comedy. If you like this book I recall reading the 3 sequels to it.
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on February 16, 2004
This funny light reading is sure to keep you interested from cover to cover. The unusual princess featured in this book is tired of “what is done” and moves on out of the castle to do what she wants without the restraints of the king and queen, eventually finding a dragon and learning about the evil that threatens their race. The humor and mystery in “Dealing with Dragons” makes it interesting for everyone.
The plot is steady save for the slight twists and turns that reveal many familiar (and yet humorously different) fairy tale elements, such as a talking frog (who is not a prince) and the wizards (who are the evil counterparts to witches, and not vice versa). The plot makes this book simply a page turner that’s hard to put down.
The author uses language easy enough for any middle school student, but the word choice effectively creates humor, suspense, and mystery, taking the level of language to meet its full potential and making the book easy to read but still enjoyable for all age groups.
A small and slight drawback is the fact that the humor in this book is partly based on the accepted facts of other widely known fairy tales. The humor is best understood with some background knowledge of fantasy stories.
Another bad spot of this book is its minuscule length. This may not be the book of choice for those who enjoy a long, heavy reading.
Perhaps the most commonly complained about feature of this book is the plot. To some people, the previously mentioned humor twists are distracting elements that stray from the main storyline.
I personally do not agree with the cons mentioned above, having found a chuckle or a laugh on most every page. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy humor and slight mystery (with not much drama) and short, light reading, enjoyable even after reading it multiple times.
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on February 15, 2004
This is a great book in my opinion. It is fairly short and pretty easy to read. Therefore you can read it in a day or so. Its also pretty funny. I found myself chortling every so often. And the most humerous part of it is that it makes recelations to other stuff. e.g. The book talks about a magic ring at one point and says "its not like those good rings that make you invisible or..." And you know it has to do with LOTR. It has other stuff like that too.
The plot goes as follows: A young princess isnt like her sisters. Instead of long wavy gold hair she has raven black hair she likes to tie in a bow. To get away from marring a idiotic prince she decides to become a dragons prince (a dragon maid, cook, etc.). Which is highly unusual considering dragons usually have to kidnap princesses for that job. But she offered and even asked the princes who tried to rescue her to go away. The rest of the book goes through the young sable-hair princesses life as a dragons princess (but not boring whatsoever). There is a mixture of hilarous belivable characters throughout the book. But thats not all. There's a band of evil wizards who want to destroy all dragons... Can a young dragons princess figure out what their up to?
There is three books following Dealing With Dragons all of which have the same set of characters with new ones added on each book. Their aways added little segments of action througout the books to keep the reader grasped.
I recoment this book to lots of everyone unless you hate funny books that involve an Enchanted Forest and Princess who doesnt need protected and a female King Dragon. :)!
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on December 21, 2003
This book by Patricia C. Wrede is an amazing fantasy 'princess' story that veers from the 'Anderson/Grimm' norm. Princess Cimorene was a black-haired tall princess who enjoyed reading, cooking, fencing, and 'non-girl' things. She was very unlike your typical youngest sunshine-blonde bashful beauty that princesses in fantasies often turn out to be. She was, however, not acceptable in this way at the palace, and, as she was to be married to an idiotic prince anyway, decided to leave the castle. She met a frog who pointed her in the right direction and eventually found her way to many adventures with a sensible purple dragon, an unwitchy witch, and many other delightful characters that will make you laugh and smile throughout the book. I could not put this book down because it was so delightfully entertaining. I had to go out and buy the other three and Ms. Wrede's short story collection, all of which I would also most definitely recommend! Buy this book right now! You will not regret it!
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on November 13, 2003
This whole book is fantasy! It has dragons, wizards, witches and stone pirinces! The blurb on the back cover pulled me right in, "Take one bored princess, make her the seventh daughter in a very proper royal family, have her run away, add one powerful, fascinating, dangerous dragon." After each chapter, I felt like I had to keep reading and reading. The first chapter has the main character Cimorene talking to a frog! It already is reeling you in. And it just gets better and as you keep reading.
A princess named Cimorene is so sick of her boring life. Plus she has six perfect proper sisters. While Cimorene was out in the garden, she meets a talking frog who tells her to run away and when she sees a hovel walk straight up to the door, knock three times, snap her fingers then go inside. Cimorene takes the frog's advice and runs away. She does exactly what the frog tells her to do, but when she steps inside and it is pitch black every where she turned, and the door is shut behind her, things aren't looking too good for Cimorene princess of Linderwell.
I recommend this book to anyone who is into fantasy, but I think anyone would enjoy this book. I like books that start out with excitement, and keep you reading. A great book by Patrica C. Wrede.
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on October 30, 2003
For those readers who are tired of the stereotypical fantasy princess who sits on her hands and waits for a prince to rescue her, Cimorene is a breath of fresh air. Cimorene is not the kind of princess her parents want her to be; she is bored by sewing, dancing and etiquette and wants to learn magic, cooking and swordsmanship. The final straw comes when her parents have arranged for her to marry. Instead she runs away.
In Cimorene's world dragons often kidnap princesses, who then must be rescued by a daring prince. The dragons live in a massive network of caves in a mountain range, and their captive princesses get together to socialize and commiserate with each other, wondering when they will be rescued and by whom. Not Cimorene. She does the unthinkable: Cimorene volunteers to be a dragon's princess. Her offer is accepted by Kazul, a female dragon with an extensive library and treasure trove that need organizing. In time, Cimorene becomes a combination of cook, maid, secretary and close companion to Kazul.
In between dissuading knights from rescuing her, organizing Kazul's belongings and cooking for dinner parties, Cimorene finds herself in the middle of foiling a plot to take over the throne of the dragons. She is aided in her efforts by the captured princess Alianora and a prince who has been partly turned to stone. At the end of the novel Cimorene delights the reader by defying their expectations and...well, I'm not going to spoil it for you.
Dealing with Dragons is a pleasant surprise in that it has a somewhat feminist perspective: Cimorene wants to be who she is and do what she's interested in, never mind the fact that she's a girl. She is smart, independent and capable of handling her own problems. Not only that, the book has humor. Dealing with Dragons is a novel I have enjoyed more than any other novel I've read in quite awhile.
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on July 3, 2003
"Dealing with Dragons" isn't your normal fairy tale. In Patricia C. Wrede's universe, most Princesses are deadly dull sorts, fit only to be rescued by the even more deadly dull heroes. And Princess Cimorene (princess by courtesy and convention, not by aptitude, as she's smart, funny, and her own person) wants none of it.
She runs off, and apprentices herself (more or less) to Kazul, an imposing female Dragon. Yet she and Kazul find they have much in common; razor-like wit, uncommon sense, and the ability to enjoy fine cooking (which Cimorene discovers she's not too bad at cooking, either).
Some wizards show up and emperil their existence; Cimorene and Kazul don't care for this too much. How they fight them is up to you to figure out; trust me, you'll want to know the ending.
Thing is, it's the wit and the style that carries this book. It's hilarious; Ms. Wrede goes out of her way to satirize convention, yet gently and with great care. The mix of gentility and satirization makes for loads of laughs and fun.
As for recommendations, I think anyone who's read a lot of fairy tales or is at least in the fifth or sixth grade (about age 10 or so) will enjoy this. Adults, however, will probably enjoy this just as much as the kids, if not more so. I did.
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