The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Readalong: Dealing with Dragons

Hoorah! Here we go, Squiders. If this is your first time through this series, I hope you’re enjoying it thus far. I know I am.

What’s the most brilliant about this series, I think, is how it takes fairy tale conventions and turns them on their heads. Or at least mocks them a little bit. (This is a common thread throughout the series. It gets more ridiculous.)

When I first read these books, probably in my early teens, I really identified with Cimorene. She’s tall! Likes non-traditional things! Isn’t afraid to defend herself! Now I notice that she tends to be smart when the plot needs her to be and not when the plots needs her not to be, but it wasn’t too jarring. (Except for inability to accept that a female dragon could be king. I remember that part bothered me when I was younger too.)

There’s a lot of elements I really like about this book. I love that wizards melt in soapy water. (That’s important throughout the series, if I remember correctly.) I love Morwen and her cats. I love the stone prince’s tale. I love that the talking frog is not a prince, but has picked up a few things from hanging out with them.

Admittedly, this series doesn’t have the depth as Harry Potter or the Time Quintet, but I think it makes up for it by being so much fun, and by being so very aware of the genre that it satires.

(As a random aside, I have a paperback copy of the book, probably the first paperback printing, and I think that Kazul–at least, I assume it’s Kazul–on the cover looks really strange, and isn’t nearly large enough, seeing how Cimorene should come up to Kazul’s shoulder when Kazul is on all fours.)

All right, onto discussion.

1. Which twist on fairy tale convention was your favorite?

2. The dynamic between the dragons and the princesses is very interesting. Do you think it’s worth it to keep a princess for the minor status increase it comes with, even knowing that you will have to face knights and princes coming to save them?

3. The book focuses on the way things are supposed to be done. How does going against what’s expected affect the characters?

As always, feel free to leave your own impressions and questions in the comments. And we’ll discuss Searching for Dragons on February 28th.

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