HMH Books for Young Readers, 2002. 978-0152045661
Synopsis: Cimorene isn’t what you would call a proper princess. She’d much prefer to be fencing, learning magic and Latin, or baking in the kitchens than being forced to learn about protocols, needlework, and when she was supposed to scream when kidnapped by a giant. So she takes the advice of a talking frog and ventures off to become a dragon’s princess and her life become even more interesting and improper than ever.
Why I picked it up: A friend gave me a copy as a birthday gift in junior high and I loved it so much I decided to re-read it and get more into the series.
Why I finished it: Cimorene may be improper, but she’s my kind of princess. She isn’t content with the status quo, she wants something more out of life than just marrying a prince and knowing how to dance. She’s totally the kind of princess I would be if I found myself in a fantasy novel. Wrede’s writing is imaginative and she has created for the reader a world based on tradition that her main character seems determined to turn on its head. It’s also one of a handful of stories I can name in which dragons are featured as a character and a voice for good in a kingdom. The characters are well-rounded and the reader can identify with Cimorene’s frustration that she can’t do what she wants, that she has to do what is right and proper. The book contains all of the usual fantasy elements of princes, princesses, witches, wizards, and magic, but the dichotomy and the interactions of the characters is unique to the story. Each of the groups operates in an almost delicate peace that is in danger of being disturbed by the slightest whiff of upheaval. It is the ordinary mixed with the extraordinary, and the relationships are what really keeps the plot moving forward and the reader on their toes. I’m anxious to keep going and read more about the world of the Enchanted Forest.
Other related materials: Searching for Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book 2) by Patricia C. Wrede; Calling on Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book 3) by Patricia C. Wrede; Talking to Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book 4) by Patricia C. Wrede; Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede; Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede; Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville; Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George; Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George; Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George; Half Magic by Edward Eager; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin; The Earthsea Cycle books by Ursula K. LeGuin; Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones; Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke; Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke; The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke; The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley; The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley; The Chronicles of Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander; Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine