Book Review: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (Harcourt – 1990)

I credit this book with two things: inspiring me to write fantasy and convincing me to learn Latin. There’s a lot going for this book. It might seem like Cimorene is a typical modern princess—with a love of swordplay and a distaste for etiquette—but she knows every detail of what the perfect princess is supposed to be. With every possible weapon in her arsenal—conventional and otherwise—she’s a fun, smart, and unique addition to fantasy literature.

Dealing with Dragons is the story of a princess and a dragon. Cimorene doesn’t want to marry the prince her parents have chosen for her (at least they could have picked someone with brains!), and Kazul really needs some help around the cave. The two form an unlikely friendship, face wizards, and confront a dastardly plot to take the dragon King’s throne.

If you enjoy a classic good versus evil story, this is the book for you. The question of who is friend and who is foe keeps this book a real page-turner. Some characters are easier guesses than others. If you read it and say you have it all figured out in the first half, I’ll be hard pressed to believe you!

Patricia C. Wrede builds a vibrant world, with a structured draconic society and relatable characters (even if some of them are scaly and have ginormous wings). There are some fantastically zany elements, too—a talking bird, a cleanly witch, and an assortment of magic objects at Cimorene’s disposal (and often at her inconvenience, too!).

This is a shorter read than Villains by Necessity, which I reviewed last month. It’s fast-paced and great for people who don’t have a lot of time to devote to reading.

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