Book Review: “Dealing With Dragons”

“Dealing With Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)” by Patricia C. Wrede

Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Library

Other Enchanted Forest Chronicles books

Summary from Goodreads:

Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart – and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon – and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.


Yet another book that I somehow overlooked growing up. I’m very happy to report that I really enjoyed it even though I’m an adult. Hooray!

Dealing With Dragons is pretty much exactly what I want out of my fantasy books. It has a wonderfully spunky and different protagonist. It pokes fun (nicely) at fantasy tropes. It has delightful side characters. Best of all, it’s wrapped up into story that can easily be devoured in a good afternoon reading session.

As I’m sure other fans of the series will tell you Cimorene is quite lovely. She’s a very smart protagonist that many young readers, especially girls, would be able to identify. She rejects most of traditional princess activities and instead wants to learn fun things like fencing, magic, and Latin. I was a little annoyed that she was so adamant to be against princessy things. Why couldn’t she have enjoyed those things as well as the non princessy things she liked? I did appreciate that some of her princess skills came in handy though. It’s a nice reminder that everything you learn can be helpful.

I know all that doesn’t seem like a big deal but this story was written in 1990. Stories that featured strong women like that were few and far between especially books for children. I can see why this book was so influential for so many people.

The actual story was fun enough. I loved getting to see dragon culture. It was cool that King was simply a title in their world and it didn’t matter who was King. I liked simply getting to know the world but it did seem like that actual plot took a while to actually come to a head.

The bottom line? It’s really wonderful. I absolutely want to make all young girls in my life read it.


18 thoughts on “Book Review: “Dealing With Dragons”

  1. I’m glad you liked this. I really liked it, and I do want to read the other books in the series. But, you know, I haven’t gotten there yet.

    I do agree – why is it either you love princessy things, or you don’t? But still, I really enjoyed this book, and I definitely want to read the others.

  2. I read this aloud to my daughter when she was around 8. It followed a disastrous reading of the first book of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries weries, which is decidedly NOT for elementary aged children (I’m not sure what age it IS for. I hated it as well, honestly). It was a wonderful read, well written and funny and charming. I’ve been a fan of Patricia Wrede’s ever since.

  3. So, yep, in retrospect I think the portrayal of Cimorene’s princess skills could have been nicer. It does take a fairly binary view of Cimorene v. other princesses, even though she does have the one friend who is a princess yet is not terrible. But overall: totally holds up. Are you going to read the other ones? Calling on Dragons was my favorite when I was a kid. It made me want to have a houseful of cats.

  4. Great post! 🙂
    I also “missed Dealing With Dragons when I was “growing up” but that didn’t stop me haha. I completely agree with this :” … is pretty much exactly what I want out of my fantasy books. It has a wonderfully spunky and different protagonist. It pokes fun (nicely) at fantasy tropes”. I feel like few fantasy books do that anymore, more and more start sadly repeating themselves.
    Agreed with bottom line 😀

  5. Pingback: Favorite Books of 2014 | The Cheap Reader

  6. Pingback: Discussion: In Defense of Princesses | The Cheap Reader

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