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The Whim of the Dragon

(The Secret Country #3)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  649 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Third and Final book of the Secret Country Trilogy!
Three things have the power to destroy the Secret Country: the Border Magic, the Crystal of Earth, and the whim of the dragon. The cousins Ted, Laura, Ruth, Patrick, and Ellen have faced the first two; now, summoned back to the Secret Country, they must face the third. The Country's most trusted counselors now know
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 24th 2003 by Firebird (first published May 1st 1989)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  649 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh my word. *tries to breathe*

Alright-y, so this isn’t going to be much of a review. This is a good last book to the series, although I would’ve loved more in-depth discussion of how the two worlds relate, and such. Patrick, despite him irritating me, grew on me by the end and I understood why he was frustrated with the Hidden Land. If rules of physics and perhaps even the laws of gravity are up in the air (heh—see what I did there?) because of magic, then how do you cope? Anyone you met can be
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hallelujah! The third installment. This is actually my first time reading this book- for some reason, when I read these as a kid I never got around to this one, so twas a special experience to finally close the final chapter of the Carroll children (named, no doubt, for the author of the Alice books- Dean is ALL ABOUT her classical references, let me tell you. In the last book we even had what we dweeby classics students call katabasis, when a hero- (view spoiler)- goes to t ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought this was the best book in the series but the issues from the other books were also in this one. My issues:
-laws of magic not clear
-often times who is saying what in conversations is unclear
-motives are unclear
-I got real sick and tired of character A gave character B a meaningful look and character "C" (us/ one of the children) wondered what it meant. These were particularly frustrating because I was unsure if we (the readers) should have known what was going on or if we were supposed
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This whole series was amazing, but this one was definitely my favorite--possibly just for the ending, which was probably the best way to handle the Problem of Portal Fantasy, as it were (do the kids stay or go, and the attendant issues with either choice), that I have ever seen. But overall, I'm in love, and I wish I'd read these as a kid, because I'm sure I would've loved them then too.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is an excellent story which the reader gets involved with.
**✿❀  Maki ❀✿**
The series really could have ended with the second book. I wasn't quite sure where the story could possibly go from Ted and Laura getting ice cream, but the story took off running from where the second book left off.

Looking back on the series as a whole, this was probably my favorite of the bunch. I enjoyed watching the strained back and forth between the kids and the people who had, until the end of the second book, assumed that the children were people they knew. It amused me every time Fence
How is it that none of my Goodreads friends have read (or, anyway, rated) this little series, and I've never properly reviewed it? Well, let me remedy the latter, at least.

Ted and Laura, and their cousins Ruth, Patrick, and Ellen, have played together for years at a game they call "the Secret": an imaginary country where they're all princes and princesses and there are banquets, betrayals, and battles aplenty. One day they're magically transported to that country, which they continue for a while
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Whim of the Dragon by Pamela Dean is the third and final book in the Secret Country Trilogy--and a deeply satisfying conclusion to a complex and engaging story. The story follows five cousins whose imaginary country has become suddenly and disconcertingly real. As they realize they can no longer control and shape events as they could in their game, they struggle with how to do the right thing and behave honorably to their imaginary characters, now real people with real relationships.

To expla
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How I could both be incredibly and continually and mind-bogglingly stumped after reading these three books, without a clue as to what the hell is going on most of the time, and still be head over heels in love with The Secret Country? I read the first book, several times since I purchased it in the 1980s golden age of fantasy paperbacks, always coming away from it with a sense of sweet strong-writing-induced oblivion; I read the second book, and remain in awe and anger at how beautiful and puzzl ...more
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Ted, Laura, Ruth, Patrick, and Ellen return to the Secret Country to sort out the mess they left behind--not least of which is their confession to being impostors of the royal children and magicians everyone thought they were. Despite the fact that there are five kids, they are all distinct from each other (not to mention from their newly acquired roles), and they all have the chance to voice conflicting opinions and viewpoints. Action sequences are few and far between -- Dean seems more interes ...more
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I thought this was the best book of the trilogy, although it still frustrated me in many ways. The best way I can put is it that through the trilogy, Dean made the characters more substantial, but the Secret Country still seems threadbare. That's appropriate for a world that may have been created in a children's let's-pretend game, but by this point, we're supposed to be thinking that the Secret Country is real—and there's just not enough there to feel real. But yes, I did like that we get to kn ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Something that always bothered me about the Narnia books was that at the end, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy all went back to their lives in England as if the adventures in Narnia never happened, despite the fact that they got to their late teens/early twenties in the books. Can you imagine living that life, and then going back to being schoolgirl Lucy? Anyway, what I love about this book is that the author resolves the problem of what happens when the adventures are over. And the whole trilogy i ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It just never really hooked me, and I semi-abandoned it for a couple weeks while reading other things before making myself finish it off.

This book - this series, rather - is to Narnia what The Magicians is to Harry Potter; it's a look at the awkward underbelly of what happens when you're whisked away to a magical county. While the constantly reinforced fish-out-of-water realism is interesting and adds depth to the characters, it also made it harder fo
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Oh dear feelings about this are uncertain definitely must reread as I missed a lot and am still slightly confused about the plot. But I enjoyed the language and character interactions and wordplay along the way, so there's that. Also last chapter made me particularly happy, possibly one of the most satisfying ends there could've been. I liked this series a lot more than I expected even having read Tam Lin. I like it more than Tam Lin because the characters are much more well developed and likeab ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: old
I said more or less what I needed to say about this book in my review of the one before it. It's boring. That's essentially the issue, you see. It's just boring.

The first one wasn't that boring, but the previous one just didn't take the story much of anywhere, and sadly by the time things really started to develop here I was out of energy. This trilogy would have worked as a single installment, but as it is this third book is one of the few I have ever left unfinished. I just didn't have the pat
Krista Wayment
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves fantasy
My Rating/Reviewing MO

I love this whole series but I would have to say this was my least favorite of the three. Although it may have been because when I finished it the story was over!

All my questions were answered and all the lose ends were tied up. I just did not like how everything was wrapped up so tightly. I like a little mystery left at the end so my imagination can take over.

Over all a well written book. I would recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy.
May 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book - the whole series, in fact. The characters were really well drawn and I liked the way it ended. The only problem was that the whole overall-end-of-series-explanation seemed a bit contrived - it was just too complicated and a wee bit unbelievable. Having said that, I still enjoyed the book.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
i love these books (third in the Secret Country series), but i always feel like i miss something while reading them (this is probably my third read). I feel i've missed a subtle plot point or some nuance that explained a bunch of things, which is why i give it 4 stars instead of 5. but they're great, original, fun fantasies.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it liked it
After completing this book I realized three books weren't really necessary for this story, but it didn't harm the story. Unfortunately the book ended like I expected it to. Loved the concept of the story and the unicorns over all. Loved the fact that the kids aged in real time throughout the books as well.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it
The last book to "The Secret Country" trilogy. The 5 cousins, Laura, Ruth, Ted, Patrick, and Ellen are still stuck in their invented game. In order to return to reality, they have to finish their game. They are now in the last stages of their game, they need to get past a bit more hardships and survive to return home.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Every fantasy lover should read this series. It is has one of the best-written plots I have ever encountered and keeps your mind turning constantly. I have never seen a book mix "the real world" with fantasy in such an intriguing and thought provoking way. This is the kind of book that makes you love the writer's art.
Lynn Christiansen
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2014
I didn't understand anything that was going on. The way they talked was just impossible. I've read a lot of fantasy, and I've never had such a hard time with dialogue. The plot dragged and then the ending was rushed.
Fang McGee
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Instead of resolution, just more befuddlement. Glacial pacing, elliptical language, with much pointless meandering and the flailing of arms. The romantic denouement was painfully shoehorned. A disappointment despite the initial promise of the first book.
Pam Baddeley
Not much to say as the books turned out not to quite match up to the promise of the idea although I liked the characterisation. So haven't kept them and don't remember much detail.
Oct 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I have no idea how I finished this book.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
The last of the trilogy.... Not bad altogether but the ending was kinda rushed and lame.
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, magicians
An excellent conclusion to the series, and probably my favorite of the three.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Other books in the series

The Secret Country (3 books)
  • The Secret Country (The Secret Country, #1)
  • The Hidden Land (The Secret Country, #2)
“So he decided he would never listen to anybody he knew? That's just like someone in a fairy tale.'

Knowing he had given his trust amiss, how could he bestow it again?'

That's foolish. Did he expect never to make any mistakes?”
“I was testing a hypothesis. But it was right, and then I had a unicorn to deal with. You can't just say, 'Thank you so much, go away now' to a unicorn, the way you can with atomic particles.” 4 likes
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