I didn't have The Enchanted Forest Chronicles on my radar until Macky practically shoved them at me (translation: he bought the box set for our joint book collection) with his full endorsement. All he had to mention was that the first novel featured dragons and a princess who goes to make a bargain with one, and I knew immediately that I had to read it. Thankfully, the entirety of the series lived up to my pretty high expectations, and I can happily say that it is a series that I'd reread and recommend to fans of children's fiction.
All four novels are separate stories with different narrators, but they are tied together in a way that makes it obvious that they are really just one long saga about The Enchanted Forest, the dragons near it and the other creatures that live there. Dealing with Dragons is about Princess Cimorene, who doesn't desire the typical path of a princess and instead finds her way to the home of the dragons to offer herself up as one of their princesses. She becomes a valuable resource for the dragons, and uncovers a plot against them too. Searching for Dragons is about King Mendanbar, who discovers a plot afoot in the forest he protects and learns it has to do with the dragons. On his way to meet with the King of Dragons, he learns that the King has disappeared and winds up joining the search for the King. Calling on Dragons is about Morwen, a witch who is friend to Cimorene and Mendanbar, and her quest to retrieve a stolen sword with a ragtag bunch of friends old and new. And finally, Talking to Dragons is about Daystar's quest to figure out his purpose and save the day.
Honestly, this series is so. much. fun.
I love that these books made me laugh out loud when I was reading them (and majority of those laughs were generated by Cimorene's witty retorts and the cats), as that's no easy feat. I enjoyed the full cast of characters we were introduced to, feeling a particularly strong affection for Morwen (the witch), Cimorene (the atypical princess) and Kazul (a dragon). I even enjoyed the villains, though they did feel a little more one-dimensional than the other characters. I loved the twists on typical fairytales and fairytale tropes, which was definitely more prevalent in the first two novels. And the plots of each novel were fairly easy to get into, though I generally preferred the more quest-centered stories (which refers to the latter three). It was, as I said, an incredibly fun series, and so readable that I read more than one in a day.
These novels are certainly meant for younger readers. While I enjoyed my foray into the Enchanted Forest and getting to know these characters, I was pretty conscious of things that I probably wouldn't have noticed about the story if I were a little younger. But that's really more a personal reservation as an older reader, and objectively, these are really great books and ones that I would happily recommend to any other reader.
Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Series: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1-4
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Paperback box set bought from Amazon