Dealing with Dragons

by Patricia C. Wrede

Paperback, 1992

Call number

JF WRE

Genres

Publication

Scholastic (1992), 212 pages

Description

Bored with traditional palace life, a princess goes off to live with a group of dragons and soon becomes involved with fighting against some disreputable wizards who want to steal away the dragons' kingdom.

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
I've long been wanting to reread Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I read them as a child and was just not being impressed (and actually took a little offense here and there). But since that time I've been assured that I must have missed the fact that it's a parody of fairy tale
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conventions, and that it really is a fun and rewarding little fantasy series. I've been collecting the volumes secondhand to reread all at once, and finally got my hands on the last one I was missing.

Sometimes, you should just trust yourself as a child. You had less clouding your brain.

The plot is fairly simple. Princess Cimorene runs away from a boring arranged marriage, volunteering to be a dragon's princess instead. Unfortunately all the knights in the area want to rescue Cimorene, but she's quite happy where she is, making cherries jubilee and keeping house for her dragon Kazul. But soon troublesome knights become the least of Cimorene's worries, when the wizards start plotting to steal the dragons' magic by assassinating the King of the Dragons and rigging the trials that determine the next King.

I guess there is a cuteness to the story and it's fun to see certain fairytale conventions subverted. But there's something almost bitter about the way Wrede satirizes them. Maybe that's why I never loved these books as a child. The Enchanted Forest series exists in the context of fantasy literature, but it's merciless toward its own tradition. Maybe I'm overstating — some of the parody is quite fun — but this underlying arrogance bothered me enough to reaffirm my childhood impressions. It isn't that I don't like Wrede; I quite enjoyed her Sorcery & Cecelia series.

Oddly enough, I've gone on with the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. They're short and easy reads, and I was amused enough to keep going. But I don't think I'll be rereading them. Meh.
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LibraryThing member Narilka
"Well, I'm not a proper princess, then," Cimorene snapped. "I make cherries jubilee, and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs-or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!"

A princess who refuses to be proper and runs away to live with dragons? Sign me up! Combine this with
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turning fairy tale tropes on their head and a dash of humor and you have Dealing with Dragons, the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. I wish I'd discovered this series as a kid. It would easily be a childhood favorite.

I never knew I wanted to be Cimorene when I grew up. She doesn't let society's expectations of what a princess should be get in the way of living the life she wants. Organizing her dragon's treasure, cooking and fencing are much preferable to being a damsel in distress to be rescued by knights. In fact Cimorene has to keep turning the knights away so she can stay a dragon's princess. They are such a nuisance! Cimorene is courageous, witty, a creative problem solver and learns how to work as a team to accomplish her goals. It's a great message.

Plot wise, there is a mystery to solve. As a story aimed at a middle-grade audience it's not overly complex though Wrede manages to add a couple twists that keep things from being too predictable. There is plenty of action, the story is fast paced and plenty of sly humor to go around.

There is something magical about Dealing with Dragons. It's one of those books that as soon as I finished I couldn't wait to read it again. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
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LibraryThing member smohri
I really enjoyed this book. It had elements of magic, adventure, humor, and female empowerment. Unlike traditional princess stories, Cimorene is a tombory and the King of the Dragons turns out to be a female. I particularly enjoyed the references to other more traditional fairy tales. I thought
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this was a fun book to read with a great message. I would happily recommend this book, especially to girls.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
I have had this book on my bookshelf to read for a very very long time. This was a cute fantasy read with a lot of humor in it, I enjoyed it and think it would be best suited to middle grade and young adult readers.

Princess Cimorene doesn't want to do normal princess things so she comes up with a
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plan. Instead of waiting to be kidnapped by a dragon she runs away and strikes a deal with a dragon. However she doesn’t count on the evil wizards trying to wreck havoc with the dragons and their politics.

This was a very cute read best suited to middle grade readers. I enjoyed the humor throughout and all the quirky dragons and princesses. The story is very simple and very short, so I think most adults will be a bit bored...however if you are an adult that really enjoys middle grade level reads you will probably like this.

I loved Princess Cimorene and her desire to do something that fell outside the norm for a princess. I also really enjoyed all the scenes where knights kept turning up to rescue her and she would turn them away.

Additionally the dragon Kazul was a very fun character and I really enjoyed how Kazul and Cimorene developed a solid and caring friendship over the course of the book.

The book teaches some good lessons; basically that it’s okay to do your own thing and that girls are fully capable of rescuing themselves when they are in tricky situations.

Overall this was a very cute and fun little fantasy read. It’s a very short book and the plot is fairly simple and straightforward...so I would recommend to the middle grade age group. There is a lot of humor in the book and the story moves quickly so it makes for an engaging read. Although I enjoyed the story, I didn’t find that it kept me thinking or guessing or wondering. The story wraps up pretty well too. As a result I probably won’t read the rest of the books in the series. I just have too much to read and (although I enjoyed this book) I just didn’t really find myself wanting to read more about these characters by the end of it.
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LibraryThing member norabelle414
Cimorene is a princess, but she hates doing princess-y things like dancing and etiquette. So she runs away to become the personal assistant to a dragon, and foils the plans of some conniving wizards in the process.

This was my very favorite book as a kid, and it really holds up. I love that the
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things Cimorene runs away to do (cooking, cleaning, organizing) aren't exciting or glamorous, she just wants to be able to do things for herself. It's kind of a reverse Cinderella. (Though of course Kazul is respectful and friendly and not abusive.)
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LibraryThing member collsers
I first read this book in sixth grade, and ten years later, I saw it in the bookstore and had to buy it so I could read it again! Luckily, it was just as good as I remembered. Cimorene is an unconventional princess, who runs away from her castle to live with a dragon, and who does not want to be
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rescued. Her no-nonsense attitude will charm any reader, and Wrede's enchanted lands are full of exciting adventures that are fun to read. Highly recommended for readers of all ages!
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LibraryThing member RGQuimby
Amusing, but lags a little bit. Princess Cimorene is a really likable character, but nowadays the idea of a feminist princess really probably isn't as surprising as it was when the book was first published almost twenty years ago. The plot lags a bit--I was expecting more action and adventure--but
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is a nice, light read. The fairy tale references are quite amusing.
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LibraryThing member books-n-pickles
I found this book shortly after I'd moved to Massachusetts. My family was driving down to Pennsylvania to see our extended family and we stopped somewhere along the way for lunch at a restaurant/diner (where, by the way, I had my first heavenly tuna melt sandwich (none of this open-face nonsense
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that they do in NYC) on pumpernickel) and the basement was absolutely stuffed, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, narrow corridors between shelves, with used books for sale. I have no idea how I managed to find this one among everything else, or how I managed to limit myself to one book, given the prices, but somehow I did...and this was one of those serendipitous jewels of a story that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.

Cimorene is a genre-savvy youngest princess who finds her life incredibly boring. She'd rather learn fencing, cooking, Latin, and magic, than protocol, dancing, manners, and embroidery. When she learns that her family are planning to marry her off, she decides to run away, following the advice of a talking frog (who picked up a few things from the princes he'd met) straight into a cave full of dragons...where she presents herself as a willing princess. The dragon Kazul, amused by her pluck and enticed by her ability to make cherries jubilee, takes her on to cook, clean and rearrange the treasury, and organize the library.

Adventures large and small ensue as Cimorene learns how to navigate dragon society, deflects unwanted knights determined to rescue her, tolerates and befriends other dragons' princesses, and works with Kazul to uncover a dastardly wizard plot. There are cat-loving witches, stone princes who ought to have known better, jinns reluctant to implement curses, and dragons allergic to wizard staffs; there are dragon feasts and feats of strength, magic spells and potions, enchanted forests, and practical applications of wishes, soapy water, and magic feathers. Cimorene's level-headedness and sensibility shock and impress, and even the more princess-y things she had to learn come in handy.

Dealing with Dragons is a fast-paced adventure full of humor, clever nods to fairy tales, imaginative use of tropes, and casually placed women of power. Appropriate for kids but also likely to delight high schoolers and adults. Highly recommended.

Quotes

p 97) An example of Cimerone's genre-savviness. I feel like these days authors would have her lift the spell, but where's the fun in that?
Cimorene felt better knowing that the princes would someday be freed, though she had sense enough not to try doing it herself. Since she had not been sent on a quest for the Water of Healing, it was highly unlikely that she would be able to disenchant the princess even if she succeeded in taking the water. And she knew enough about quests and enchantments and the obtaining of things with magical properties to know that she would probably get into a lot of trouble if she tried.

p 166) "Tokoz drank Turkish coffee every morning. The stuff is strong enough to take the roof off your mouth. That's why no one ever went to talk to him over breakfast." ... Cimorene tried to imagine coffee, even Turkish coffee, strong enough to take the roof off a dragon's mouth and failed.
This bit tickled me because my mother-in-law drinks something pretty much equivalent...at least three times a day.
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LibraryThing member Letora
Cimorene isn't a normal princess. Instead of learning how to sew and dance, she would much rather be casting spells and fencing. When her parents decide it is time for her to be a proper princess and marry a prince, Cimorene runs away. She doesn't want to be a bored girl sitting in a castle all
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day. She would much rather live with a dragon, and she does just that. Living with the dragon Kazul, Cimorene will learn what it means to find her place in the world.

This is a light fun story for early readers. I can see this being the perfect introduction to the fantasy genre. The story touches on common fairy tales and has a main character who outsmarts even the best of her opponents. Cimorene is a strong female lead for growing girls to follow, and I think they will find it amusing that she doesn't want to be a normal princess. Cimorene dares to break the mold and does so in a way that is neither offensive or rude.

It's hard to find books that are appropriate these days for young adults. While this may be a simpler read, I can see teens enjoying it just as much as the young crowd. I first read this when I was in my teens and found it a quick funny read. Coming back to the story now that I am older, I still found it entertaining and I smiled at Cimorene's antics.
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LibraryThing member draconismoi
Fantastic book! For the little kid that loves fairy tales but is getting just old enough to notice all the bullshit. Great for the read-one-chapter-a-night scheme or as the first chapter book they read on their own.

Princess Cimorene doesn't really like being a princess since its so bloody boring!
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She violates gender norms and fairy tale conventions left and right until, on threat of marriage to a brainless prince, she runs away to live dragons. After all, being a dragon's princess is perfectly respectable.....
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LibraryThing member Kernst
I gave this book 5 stars because it was the first Fantasy book I read. It introduced me to a new world of reading for pleasure. I read it back in elementary school. I loved it so much I had to buy it just to keep for a collection (it was just library book at the time) and while I haven't read any
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of these books in years, they are just sitting on my book shelf like little trophies. I remember them fondly.
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LibraryThing member jlelliott
I enjoyed this story, and it’s sequels, as a young girl. Wrede creates a magical world that has a unique feel while incorporating common elements from fairytales. Dealing with Dragons is very much a girl power book – almost all of the good main characters are female, Princess Cimerone rejects
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the staid life society thrusts upon her and charts her own course, and the King of the Dragons ends up being a female (King is just the title of the job, designating nothing about gender). It is well written, something that can certainly not be said of all fantasy novels written for this age group, and the story is fun and engaging.
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
This audiobook dramatized the story of Cimorene, a princess who hates her boring life at the castle. She runs away and finds herself in a nest of dragons. She saves herself from being eaten by volunteering to become a Dragon's princess. Despite the annoyance of the princes who try to rescue her,
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Cimorene is happy as the princess of the dragon Kazul--but when an evil plot is discovered Cimorene has to work together with a fellow princess and prince to thwart the evil plan of the wizards.
I loved this story, Cimorene is a great character with a lot of spunk and the story also has a lot of humor. Fans of fairy tales, fantasy, and strong female characters will enjoy this tale. I also enjoyed the dramatization of the audio version I listened too, this story lends itself well to being acted out like a play. The voices that the actors gave to the characters were great!
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LibraryThing member maita
When princesses are being stereotyed, Cymorene says no. She wants to be a dragon's princess but she doesn't want to be rescued. In this strange fairytale world, princess are supposed to look good and act pretty. But Cymorene goes beyond that. She takes up a bit of magic lessons, philosophy,
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politics, magic, fencing and cooking! Who ever heard of dragons snacking on chocolate mousse and cherries jubilee?
This is a fun and wholesome book for all readers!
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LibraryThing member swimmer_shark
this book is very interesting, it's about a princess, Cinorene, being bored and running away. she runs away to dragon Kazul's cave. there, she becomes her princess and is not worried until she sees some wizards...
LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
Cimorene hates being a 'proper' princess, so she runs away and volunteers to be princess for a dragon. This is an old favorite, a sort of fantasy/fairy tale parody or whatever you want to call it. It's a wonderful little book, a quick read with great characters and a fun story.
LibraryThing member tangential1
A princess who fences? Right off the bat I loved Cimorene; how could you not love someone who questions social norms and does her own thing even when it's frowned upon? Plus she's a take charge kind of girl, which is really cool.

Ms. Wrede really turns the classical fairytale on it's head with her
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entire Enchanted Forest Chronicles and this, the first, book in particular. The dragons are civil, the knights are airheads and the wizards can be melted with soapy water. A very witty, fun, fast read.

I really wish I had known about these books when I was a kid; I might have gotten more into reading much sooner.
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LibraryThing member tiamatq
What an awesome book! This is the story of Cimorene, a kick-ass princess who doesn't care for princess-y things. When she finds out that her parents have engaged her to boring Prince Therandil, Cimorene takes off and becomes the princess of the dragon Kazul. She spends the days organizing the
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dragon's library and treasure room, making desserts like cherries jubilee for Kazul, and fending off all the would-be suitors who are trying to rescue her. She must also contend with several enemies, including a talking bird, a jinn, and some sneaky wizards.

I think if I had discovered this series in high school, I would've been all over it... I mean, it's about dragons and sassy/smart princesses! I don't know how I've missed it for so long! I'm happy to have read it now and hope to pick up the rest of the series. If you're looking for a quick book that's entertaining fantasy and can appeal to many ages, this is it!
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LibraryThing member Nini345
a story about a clever princess that runs away to become a dragons princess.every thing was going fine until two evil wizards decide to make a dragon the unrightful king .but can cimorene foil there plans with just a princess,stone prince and a few buckets of soapy water with lemon juice?
LibraryThing member thc_luver6
A very good book. It has a bit of everything. Romance, action, humor...you'll love it and not just girls will have a hard time putting it down.
LibraryThing member vegaheim
book 1 (2:searching for dragons; 3: calling on dragons; 4: talking to dragons) a princess who doesn't want to be "rescued" from the dragon. (sends all the would be rescuers away on some pretext or other) very, very funny. then she meets a prince who is not arrogant but nice and kind to animals and
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all manner of magical creatures. read all four books. if you like fantasy this is a great read. couln't put it down.
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LibraryThing member incognito
This is the first in a series of fun, anachronistic young adult books with a willful princess heroine. Very fun, very silly, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I wish I'd known about these books when I was growing up!
LibraryThing member kpickett
Cimorene isn't your regular princess. She doesn't want to dance, curtsy, sing or sew. She wants to sword fight, cook, cast spells and do what she wants, not what someone tells her to do! Unfortunately, this makes Cimorene a misfit in the princess community and her parents are worried about her. The
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King and Queen set up a marriage for Cimorene, hoping to make her more princessly. To get out of it Cimorene decides to run away and volunteer to become a dragon's princess (also not something princesses are supposed to do!)

Girls will love Cimorene's attitude and strength as they follw her deep into the shadows of the dragons cave. The whole series is a must read.
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LibraryThing member MeriJenBen
Princess Cimorene, dark haired, intellegent and headstrong, is not a proper princess. So, when her marriage to the totally proper and totally annoying Therendril is announced, she runs away, on the advice of a frog, and becomes Princess to the dragon Kazul. There she is allowed to cook, clean, read
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Latin and learn magic. Cimorene discovers wizards, where no wizard should be, and with the help of her friends Allinora and the witch Morwen, must foil their evil plot.

I loved this series as a pre-teen, and recently listened to the audio with my 6-year old. It holds up. Hearing it as a mom, I'm glad that there are girls like Cimorene for my daughter to hear about.
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LibraryThing member YouthGPL
Merideth says: Princess Cimorene, dark haired, intellegent and headstrong, is not a proper princess. So, when her marriage to the totally proper and totally annoying Therendril is announced, she runs away, on the advice of a frog, and becomes Princess to the dragon Kazul. There she is allowed to
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cook, clean, read Latin and learn magic. Cimorene discovers wizards, where no wizard should be, and with the help of her friends Allinora and the witch Morwen, must foil their evil plot.

I loved this series as a pre-teen, and recently listened to the audio with my 6-year old. It holds up. Hearing it as a mom, I'm glad that there are girls like Cimorene for my daughter to hear about. (cross-posted from MeriJenBen)
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Awards

Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Middle Grade — 1993)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 1993)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 1995)

Pages

212

ISBN

0590457225 / 9780590457224
Page: 0.5773 seconds