Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles Series #1)

Dealing with Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede Reading this book again for the first time since childhood, I was surprised to find how well it held up. I still adore this book. The writing is a little bit terse (okay, more than a little) but it's also a nice change from books that get bogged down in set-up and spend a hundred pages before anything happens. Here, no time is wasted, and by the second chapter, Cimorene is already settled in with her dragons and ready for a rip-roaring adventure. No time wasted, just right to the good stuff. After being mired in what passes for YA lit these days, I was also happy to sit with this one for a while. Cimorene is a refreshing character, a girl who maybe doesn't know what she wants, but who is perfectly happy going off to find it on her own. There was a delightful lack of focus on appearance (even with the characters she doesn't like, no one is derided for their looks. ever.) and the female MC had two (TWO) girl friends in the novel that were both painted in a positive light. It's almost sad that I have cause to be excited about that. I adored the casually flippant worldbuilding that seems cobbled purely out of fairy tale tropes. It's just vague enough to be funny, but not dwelled on enough to make me stop and puzzle out the logistics. Sure, it wouldn't make much sense if you sat down and think about it, but it never takes itself seriously enough for that to be a problem. It's just silly and fun and it knows it.I had only two major complains in this book. Cimorene is the only smart princess ever mentioned, and even her princess friend is painted as being a slight bit of an airhead. As for the rest, it's repeatedly hammered into us that their vapid, stupid, vain little creatures that should be pitied but not respected. Once again, Cimorene's story doesn't encourage us to rethink our position on women, it just tells us that this one woman has somehow managed to miraculously overcome the natural deficiencies of her gender. (Or gender + social status, in this case, which is slightly better.) The other complaint is that, midway through the book, Cimorene picks up an plot coupon for no reason at all, no explanation is ever given, the item is awkwardly pointed out several times, and apparently we're supposed to be surprised when it turns out to save the day at the end? Bit sloppy, there. Still, if that's all I've got to complain about, this book is a head and shoulders above the crowd. In sum: I love this book, but it's definitely got some style choices that won't appeal to everyone. That doesn't make it bad or good, just very flavorful. :)