The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Readalong: Talking to Dragons

Well, Squiders, here we are at the end of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The elaborate plan set up at the end of Calling on Dragons has been executed, Mendanbar has been freed, the wizards have been vanquished, and everyone is going to live happily ever after. (Or are they? Duh duh duuuuun…)

(I mean, I assume they are, because this is the last book. I kind of wish Ms. Wrede would revisit them, however. I imagine there’s rather a lot you could do with the next generation. I mean, assuming Daystar and Shiara do get married, what if there’s some sort of incompatibility between fire-witch magic and the Enchanted Forest’s magic? And so forth.)

(Moving on.)

Now, if at any point during this you say to yourself, “What the heck is she talking about?”, I want you to know that there’s two versions of this book. You see, this book was written FIRST. So you can actually think of (and, in retrospect, they kind of read this way) the other three books as prologues to this book. So she wrote the book, then went back and wrote the other three, and then changed this one to line up better with the other three. If, for some reason, you have a pre-1990 version of Talking to Dragons, you have the original and quite honestly I’m not sure what the difference is. So! I apologize if things don’t line up.

I am torn about this particular book. On one hand, I like it better in some regards. I like the story, the idea that the main character has no idea what he’s doing, because if he did it wouldn’t work. I like Daystar and Shiara (and I really like the name Shiara). But on the other hand, it doesn’t flow well from the other three, and I’m sure that’s because it was juryrigged at the end to fit into the rest of the series.

Cimorene seems really out of character at the end and it really, really bothers me. She seems to be pushing marriage on Shiara and Daystar and for someone who fought against her own so much, it rings really false. Morwen and Telemain continue to be awesome, though they don’t get a lot of screen time. (Page time?) Some of Morwen’s cats from Calling on Dragons seem to still be alive as well, even though it’s been 17 years. I mean, cats can live into their twenties. Maybe witches’ cats get added benefits, who knows.

So! Did you enjoy the series? Final thoughts, anyone?

We’ll be reading Howl’s Moving Castle next to see how a different author handles the whole fairy tale satire thing. If you’re highly motivated, you can also watch the movie, and then in the comments we can discuss how the two are nothing like each other but, yet, are both awesome.

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