Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons is a delightful book. In it we read the story of Cimorene, the youngest daughter of a proper king and queen and the sister of six proper princesses. But Cimorene is anything but proper. She is too tall, her hair is black instead of blonde, and she is stubborn. When her parents forbid her from taking lessons in the things that interest her - fencing, cooking, magic, economics, and Latin - Cimorene runs away to become a dragon's princess.

She becomes the princess of the dragon Kazul. She enjoys her days cooking and cleaning for the dragon and finally feels like she has found someone who lets her do the things she loves to do. But she still has to convince knights and princes she doesn't want to be rescued and voluntarily stays with the dragon. She also must deal with a witch, other captured princesses, a stone prince, a jinn, some conniving wizards, and of course, more dragons.

The character of Cimorene is strong and smart. She is the kind of heroine young girls will love. When she has a problem, she uses common sense to solve it and doesn't let anyone convince her it isn't the way a proper princess would act.

I loved the way the author wrote a book about dragons and princesses, but threw all the standard fairy tale conventions out the window. It was amusing to come across references to other fairy tales, and after I found a couple I started watching for them.

This book is the first in a series and is a fun book for young people. I'll be looking for the next books in the series, Searching for Dragons, to find out what happens to Cimorene next.

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