The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Books GeekMom
dragons, fairy tales, magic, princess, wizards,
Fans of fantasy will love the feisty Princess Cimorene

I have two boys. I didn’t have to worry (like some of my friends with daughters did) that reading or watching movies about princesses saved from peril by handsome princesses would inspire a “rescue me” attitude. Even so, I did want my boys to grow up knowing that women are just as capable as men. We watched Disney princess fare without qualms, but I also made sure to include plenty of opportunities for them to meet strong female characters in books and movies (and of course, in real life!).

In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, author Patricia C. Wrede offers up a perfect combination of adventure, magic, and feisty princess. In the first book of the series, Dealing with Dragons, we meet Princess Cimorene who is not at all interested in towing the princess line. No lady-like embroidery and arranged marriages for her, thank you very much. She wants to learn to fence and speak Latin, both of which are frowned upon activities for princesses.

While other princesses in the kingdom fret over being captured by dragons, Princess Cimorene leaves her mundane royal life behind and runs away to the Enchanted Forest where she takes up with the dragon Kazul. Cimorene endears herself to Kazul by making a most coveted dish – cherries jubilee – and proceeds to create an anti-flammable potion to withstand the dangers of living with fire breathing beasts. As Kazul’s princess she discovers unscrupulous wizards plotting against the dragons, learns about magic, and spends enough time turning away the persistent princes who have come to rescue her that she finally posts a sign warning potential suitors to stay away.

Princess Cimorene is exactly the kind of female character that I have tried to expose my boys to over the years: confident, smart, feisty, and kind. Her willingness to stand up for what she believes in, whether it be following her own life choices or going to great lengths to help her dragon friends is admirable, and coupled with the humor and adventure in the books, probably one of the reasons we loved the series so much. We read the entire series aloud several times when my boys were early elementary age, and my eldest read the entire series again when he began reading on his own. (I daresay, it’s about time for me to read it again!)

Dealing with Dragons is followed by three more books, all featuring Princess Cimorene and a grand cast of dragons, wizards, witches, and magic spells, with cameo appearances by stereotypical princes from throughout the kingdom: Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons.

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15 thoughts on “The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

  1. I like this post, and The Enchanted Forest series times a million!!

    My favorite character is Morwen. I especially love Calling On Dragons where we get to read what her cats are saying. Thanks for posting!

  2. I absolutely adored those books when I discovered them in Elementary school. Not only was Cimorene feisty and independent, but she had a very good head on her shoulders. She utilized logic and critical thinking. Being a rather emotional sort myself, I always wished I could be at least a bit more like her. I certainly idolized her more than the Disney princesses . . . well, I did envy Belle her gigantic library at the castle.

    1. Glad to see that these books are still in print! They are some of my favourites too.

      I read them out loud to my younger brothers, kids I babysat, and several cabin groups when I was a counsellor.

  3. Am I allowed to put in a plug here, for people who like these books, to also check out my friend Kate Coombs’s books The Runaway Princess and The Runaway Dragon? I only just recently told her that part of what I loved about them was that they are “very Enchanted Forest Chronicles-y, but maybe even better because there are less talking cats” (sorry, Linzy).

  4. @Linzy, I love Morwen, too! I’m so glad to see that others have read (and loved) these books. @Rocklinlibrarian (is that Rocklin, CA?), I’ll have to look up the Runaway books. The titles sound familiar to me.

  5. That’s me! Yes, I’ve been a fan of Patricia C. Wrede’s for a while. I’ve always figured that, if I needed to be a princess, I would like to be a princess like her. I hate to be a noodge, though. Princess Cimorene didn’t run away to the Enchanted Forest. She ran away to the Mountains of Morning. Then the King of the Enchanted Forest came to the Mountains of Morning, helped her in a quest to find Kazul and things just sort of grew from there. (Sorry. I kinda geeked out, there) The first of these books I ever read was Talking to Dragons, which was about her son, Daystar, who, from the looks of things, was a perfectly ordinary kid until the end of the book. Interestingly, Talking to Dragons is the book she wrote first (1985), then she wrote the others about five years later and revised Talking in 1995. Pretty cool considering how interesting all four books are.

    1. Thanks for noting my error. It’s been a number of years since I’ve read the stories and my mind took a few liberties with the books’ geography, it appears.

  6. These were some of my favourite books as a kid, and I still love to read through them! I’m so excited to share these adventures with my son when he’s older (still a toddler, not much into novels just yet). I’m so glad to see them get some attention!

  7. I am reading the first book right now and love it! Princess Cimorene is such a fantastic character! Thanks for the heads up on such a great book set. I am putting them on my daughter’s birthday list 🙂

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