HMH Books for Young Readers, 2002. 978-0152045654
Synopsis: Mendanbar, King of the Enchanted Forest, seems to be having an issue: someone is laying waste to the forest and it appears that wizards may be behind it. At the suggestion of the witch Morwen, he goes to see Kazul, King of the Dragons. But what he finds instead is Princess Cimorene, who tells him that Kazul has been missing for some time. The two royals decide to join forces to find Kazul and put a stop to the misdeeds of the wizards.
Why I picked it up: Well, we knew the wizards weren’t going to settle down and just live with the dragons in harmony after what happened at the end of the first book….
Why I finished it: Mendanbar is just about as un-kingly as Cimorene is un-princess like and the two together make for a perfect pair. The King is clearly a little bit bored with his post and having done away with all of the balls and festivals that are such a bore to begin with, adventuring is clearly the only option left for him to keep him from going stir crazy. Like Cimorene, he’s not that fond of the idea of marriage, but as Morwen points out, perhaps he doesn’t need a wife so much as someone who will talk with him. The wizards are still working to start some sort of war in the Enchanted Forest, but it is still not clear to the reader what the point and purpose behind the war would be. True, they would get access to more magic, but the fact that their staffs absorb it voluntarily anyhow makes this a somewhat strange goal, though I am sure there is much more to their plot that will be revealed as the story goes on. Wrede has taken us to a different portion of her magical world, moving the reader to the mysterious Enchanted Forest where magic is almost literally in the air all around them. The descriptions of the forest paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind of the beauty of nature and the mystery of the natural world around us. One might go as far as to suggest that there are some naturalist and conservationist undertones in this book. I say that it’s just another part of the fantasy genre to give the reader a clear picture of the how and the why of the magical worlds to which we are transported. Though Wrede’s second installment focuses on a lead male character, he’s not so greedy as to take over the whole spotlight and gives the lead female character a chance to have her say as well. I’m eager to find out what the next chapter of the series has in store.
Other related materials: Dealing with Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book 1) 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