HMH Books for Young Readers, 2003. 978-0152046910
Synopsis: After living a quiet life with his mother on the edge of the Enchanted Forest, sixteen-year-old Daystar is given a magical sword and told to leave home. He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know where he’s going, and he hasn’t the foggiest idea why his mother has instructed him to be so careful with this sword. All he knows is that there are wizards after him (and the sword) and he needs to talk to Kazul, who will presumably explain everything. At least, Daystar hopes so….
Why I picked it up: We’ve been waiting seventeen years for this moment (well, in book time anyway), and I wanted to know if the Enchanted Forest could be restored after all the havoc caused in the last two books.
Why I finished it: I’ll be honest: it just doesn’t seem fair to invest time in reading a series if you’re not going to stick it out until the conclusion. Others might disagree, but there is no denying that there is a certain addiction that goes along with reading series: the overwhelming desire to know what happens next. Wrede doesn’t disappoint in the final volume of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which is part mystery, part adventure, and all fantasy. The reader has a one-up on Daystar, because we already know who he is even if he does not and Cimorene has raised him to be completely clueless about his royal heritage on purpose because she knows what is at stake. Daystar, despite his apparent cluelessness, is engaging as a main character because of his unfailing politeness and his determination to set things right. His companions, a fire-witch named Shiara and a young dragon, are equally likable and determined, even if they are not as fleshed out as Daystar. The reader is even treated to run-ins with some old familiar faces and sinister new foes as Daystar journeys through the Enchanted Forest to figure out why his mother has abruptly thrown him out of the house. The plot keeps the reader guessing and cheering for our heroes, though toward the end it becomes slightly overrun with technical details that make it feel like we are talking with Telemain. A wonderful conclusion to an engaging series that gives the reader a much anticipated Happily Ever After.
Other related materials: Dealing with Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book 1) by Patricia C. Wrede; 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; Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede; Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede; A Question of Magic by E.D. Baker; Tales of the Frog Princess books by E.D. Baker; The Ranger’s Apprentice books by John Flanagan; The Unicorn Chronicles books by Bruce Coville; Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke; The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones; The Search for WondLa series by Tony DiTerlizzi; Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren