Monday, June 19, 2017

Calling on Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede

Calling on Dragons
Title: Calling on Dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 244
How I Found It: I've loved the series since childhood.
Date Completed: 5/25/17

Summary: Once again, the Enchanted Forest is under threat from a bunch of magic-stealing wizards. Queen Cimorene heads out with her motley crew of friends in hopes of resolving the situation before it's too late.

What I Thought: Though I read the first book in this series countless times as a child, I think I only ever made it this far once. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I ever even read the last book. We'll see how much, if any, of it is familiar to me once I read it. I definitely did not remember much of this one, although the ending was familiar. 

Since I'm not sure I have ever read the last book in the series, I don't want to speak for it yet. Of the first three books, though, I find this one to be the weakest. Morwen the witch, a character who I genuinely adore, plays the central role rather than Cimorine. I think that was a miscalculation on Wrede's part. Fiesty Princess Cimorene is what endeared me to the series to begin with. I like Morwen quite a bit as well, even more now that I am an adult and her sensibility seems impressive rather than droll, but she doesn't carry the story in the same way. I find her cadre of cats excessive and a bit obnoxious, though I do like their dry humor. 

Killer the rabbit/donkey grates intensely on my nerves. I can see how his character would be amusing and entertaining for the young audience toward which these books are directed, but I found him quite annoying. He just seemed to be a bother the whole way, a character that continually muddled the plot, but not in ways that then created excitement or intrigue or opportunity for character growth. Rather, he's like the spear pickle that comes on the side when you order a sandwich at a deli. It may seem like a nice, interesting addition in theory. In practicality, however, you don't want it and it gets its pickle juice on everything. 

Despite the shift in story-telling and the obnoxious addition of Killer, the original charm of the series lingers. Wrede's approach to the fairy tale world is just as tongue-in-cheek as ever and she continues to bat down stereotypes about our beloved magical creatures and characters. 

I am looking forward to reading the last book, though I do have some serious trepidation. The end of this book is really a big cliff hanger in a lot of ways. The ending is unsatisfying and the fourth book is meant to resolve the situation. So, we'll see. However, because of certain events, there is a guarantee that Cimorene will once again take a back seat to the adventure. I'm afraid I'll be reminded of the end of the Anne of Green Gables series, another in which our beloved heroine fades into the background unnecessarily. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Yep. 
Other Books By Patricia C. Wrede: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons

A Reduced Review: Though the original charm of the series lingers, this third installment has some major pitfalls which leave it without the same magic. 

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