The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Readalong: Calling on Dragons

Nooooooooooo cliffhanger.

Well, Squiders, we’ve reached book 3. (I think this may have been the one I read first as a kid. It seems…more familiar than the others, if such a thing can be said about a series of books one’s already read multiple times.) You know, it’s a bit interesting to note that each book in the series is from someone else’s point of view. We had Cimorene’s, then Mendanbar’s, and now Morwen’s. (Talking to Dragons, Book 4, is from Daystar’s point of view. And also is first person.)

(Also, I would like to point out how strange it is for a supposedly quite practical person like Cimorene to name her child Daystar. But moving on…)

I’ve always rather liked Morwen, probably because she’s no-nonsense and has a lot of cats, though there were times that I felt there were too many cats. Cats in the garden, cats under the porch, cats in the windows…so many cats. At some points I almost agreed with Vamist about the sheer number of them.

(I know Morwen points out that more cats = more powerful spells, and perhaps that will be important in Talking, but she only used two cats at a time here.)

Right, plot. The wizards continue to be up to no good. I admit I feel like I don’t quite understand why they’re up to no good, though. I suppose they’re stealing magic, but I have to wonder what they need all that magic for. I mean, it seems like an awful lot of work, and they must want the Enchanted Forest’s magic really bad to go to the trouble, and I have to wonder if there isn’t easier magic elsewhere to suck up or if they’ve already sucked it all up and now must resort to desperate measures. Where does magic go after a wizard uses it, anyway?

Anyway. The wizards have stolen Mendanbar’s awesome sword! Which is bad, because it’s directly tied in the forest’s magic. And so Cimorene, Morwen, Telemain, Kazul, a couple of Morwen’s cats and a former rabbit that is now not a rabbit named Killer go in search of it. (Mendanbar has to stay in the forest to anchor the magic and is grumpy about it because Cimorene is pregnant and he doesn’t feel like she should be traipsing about fighting wizards. More on that in a second.)

Now, I have a couple of bones to pick here. They take Killer along with them because Telemain wants to use the spell on him to find the wizards, but then they never bother. Also, Morwen and Telemain say they want to test the transportation spell on Brandel before they go after the sword, and then, unless I skimmed over important information, they never do. I understand it’s hard to keep track of all your subplots, but come on, people, didn’t anyone notice that these had been dropped at the time?

Also, having recently been pregnant, I would guess Ms. Wrede never has been (and Wikipedia confirms my suspicions, woo). Cimorene does not act like a pregnant woman would act. In fact, that’s mostly ignored unless there needs to be a reason for someone to protest her doing something. Oh, and as an important plot point at the end.

Complaining aside, though, these books continue to be fun, and I like most of the characters, and even Killer didn’t bother me even though, you know, they totally forgot about the reason they brought him along. It is a bit odd for the third book in a series to be the only one that ends on a cliffhanger, but it all somewhat makes sense if you know that the fourth book is the one that was written and published first.

Hm. I think I shall lay off the questions, since it doesn’t seem like anyone feels like answering them anyway. What was your favorite part, Squiders? Anything you dislike thus far? Anything else you’d like to note or talk about?

This seems like a good point to talk about The Book of Enchantments, which is a related short story collection. Yea, nay? We’ll read it between the fourth book and Howl’s Moving Castle if we’re going to do it. And we’ll discuss Talking to Dragons on April 30th.

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