Kendra's Reviews > Dealing with Dragons

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
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's review
May 06, 12

bookshelves: owned
Read on May 06, 2012

Patricia C. Wrede gave me one of my first experiences with the fantasy genre. Lo these many years ago, when I was a young girl voraciously working my way through the contents of our public library, I stumbled across Dealing with Dragons. I devoured the entire series, adored it, and then promptly forgot that it ever existed. Many years later, the lovely proprietor of The Library of Minds brought it up, and suddenly I had one of those moments: “Oh. I loved those books.” It took me very little time to acquire them after that conversation, but they remained tucked away on my bookshelf. I was too afraid that they might not live up to my memories of them.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to be.

Dealing with Dragons is a book in which a princess can run away to make a new life for herself, scold a dragon for being careless, and tell all the princes to go the fuck home because she has better things to do than deal with them. It’s also a book in which a princess can want love, and can be the one to save her prince. Cimorene is studious, practical, and brave. Alianora is sweet, shy, and traditional. Wrede doesn’t hold one type of woman above the other; she manages to show that swapping marriage for Latin declensions is a completely valid option without suggesting that it’s the only valid option.

The cast of female characters in Dealing with Dragons is vast and varied. It’s very rare to see a book that focuses primarily on women; it’s even more rare to find one in the fantasy genre. I never once had to roll my eyes at women being outnumbered or helpless in this book. It’s a book about women — Cimorene, Alianora, Kazul, and Morwen are the center of Dealing with Dragons, not characters that are relegated to the outskirts of the action. That ability to feel like a real part of the story is one of the things I loved about the book as a kid.

Reading Dealing with Dragons was both new and nostalgic. The story and the characters were familiar, and every now and again I had a moment where I remembered what was going to happen next. It had also been so long since I read it, though, that there were still surprises in store. It’s very rare for me that a book from my childhood holds up when it’s viewed through an adult lens, but Dealing with Dragons did so without question. It’s beautiful, fun, and never boring for a moment.

Rating: 5 Stars.

Favourite Quote: “Happily ever after? Cimorene wasn’t sure about that, though she was certainly hoping to enjoy herself. She was positive, however, that life with the dragons would be interesting and busy, and in Cimorene’s opinion that would go a long way toward making her happy.”

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05/06/2012 page 25
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