My initial reaction to this book was loathing, unadulterated loathing. The ending of the previous book had been obviously made to set up the situation at the beginning of this one and to make matters worse the protagonist (in a first-person point of view) was Cimorene’s son Daystar. Making if obvious right away that she would have a negligible role in the proceeding adventure.
It was also a fairly standard quest fantasy. Boy gets magic sword, sets out into enchanted forest (in this case The Enchanted Forest), meets a princess and saves the day using, not only his magic sword, but also his secret royal birthright.
What I had discounted was Wrede’s engaging skill with words and her humorous ability to spin stories that follow cliches and tropes while still turning them on their heads. It’s actually kind of fascinating to watch it take place. The story is exactly like I described it in the previous paragraph… only the whole time it’s poking holes in that very same story structure.
It’s kind of a Terry Pratchett style of making fun of the problem by being part of the problem. This is satire and works in delightful ways. If you are familiar with the tropes of 1980’s fantasy then you will chuckle at seeing the holes poked in the familiar plot line. If you are not familiar with it then this is a good introduction and will rather be an entertaining middle grade adventure instead of a humorous interpretation of tired formulas.
It works both ways.