I find negative reviews are much easier to write. Many times I’ve contemplated turning my blog into nothing but negative reviews – dwelling on the bad parts of every book. Mostly because it’s a lot fun to write about what’s wrong with a story, or why I hate it. It’s really hard to put my finger on what I like, or love.
I’ve read the Lord of the Rings enough times that I’ve developed a great deal of thought and ideas about what makes it so powerful but most books I read only once. Usually I come away either liking or disliking it. When I like a book, I don’t usually know why. Sometimes I can think about it and come up with a reason. Other times the reason seems to be as nebulous as cool mist, streaming through my metaphorical fingers.
Patricia C. Wrede made it easy for me in Dealing With Dragons. The story was a direct answer to the fairy-tale Disney princess. With Searching for Dragons the answer is not so simple. Cimorene is still a major and positive force in this book, but the protagonist is a man, Mendenbar, who meets Cimorene when he comes to ask her dragon, Kazul, for advice and finds that she has gone missing.
Mendenbar is easy to identify with. He likes to go off and do things alone and doesn’t want people everywhere fouling things up. He’s respectful and treats Cimorene like a human being – not rushing to protect her at the first sign of danger (except once when she hasn’t found a sword yet) – and relies on her without reservation. In short he’s a great role-model for young men to see how to treat young women.
Patricia C. Wrede’s wit is still present and the fairy-tale creatures that are tired of doing the same old things because it’s expected of them (giants pillaging villages) is always amusing. The addition of a magician who seems more like a physicist who studies magic is pure genius.
The writing is hilarious, the plot is amusing and the characters are entertaining.
So perhaps I like this book because it was more of the same, and in this case that’s a very good thing.