Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Calling on Dragons

Hello again, loyal Book Dame readers! I apologize for the prolonged gap in reviews. I promised Jefferson that I would read a book of his that was dull and long. But, since that’s finished, here we go!

Title: Calling on Dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 1994
Series: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Book 3)
Next in Series: Talking to Dragons

Morwen and her cats live a fairly quiet life in the Enchanted Forest. Sometimes odd things do occur, but who would have thought the cats would run into a seven foot eleven inch tall (including the ears) rabbit who is obviously enchanted? Morwen investigates. She discovers that the wizards have found a way to soak up the Enchanted Forest again. Heading off for the castle at once, Morwen informs King Mendanbar and Queen Cimorene. There they find that the wizards have stolen the sword that is linked to the magic of the Enchanted Forest. Since only a member of the King’s family can handle the sword (and Mendanbar can’t leave or the Forest will all be soaked up) pregnant Cimorene must go adventuring with her entourage: Kazul, Telemain, Killer the rabbit, Morwen and two of her cats.

While this book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a little less exciting at first than the previous two, it has some really interesting points. Fire-witches, mentioned a few times in Searching for Dragons become far more involved in the series and I found them fascinating. The whole idea of a person who’s hair spontaneously combusts when they’re angry, is immune to fire and can learn any kind of magic is pretty cool. Also, there are talking cats. They're just as sarcastic and snide as cats would be if they could talk.

However, the rest of the book was dull and jumpy. Hopping from one place to another doesn’t move the story along, it just describes more scenery. That's not why I bought the book. From Morwen’s house to the Castle, and then with Telemain’s random transportation spells, shifting the setting needlessly ties up pages without moving the plot along. Also, the giant rabbit gets annoying very quickly. They bring him everywhere and he’s constantly eating things he shouldn’t so first he’s giant, then he turns in to a donkey, and well… it just keeps going to the point of nausea. There’s also a random encounter with Jack, a magic bean farmer, which is only in the story to give Killer another magic thing to eat.

And then there’s the hanging ending…

Calling on Dragons is told from third person limited.

My Thoughts:
This was always my least favorite book of the series when I was growing up, simply because of the hanging ending. I loved having a book from Morwen’s perspective and finally being able to know what her cats were saying. The basis of this story, though, is really just to set the stage for the next book (my favorite of the quartet). Really, Morwen is one of my favorite characters in the series. I just wish the book from her point of view was more interesting. It’s a decent read, but no where near up to par with the other three.

Favorite Scene:
I loved the floating laundry basket they use to get into the fire-witch’s tower.

Who this book is best for:
Middle school kids will like it, or anyone else who wants to finish the series. It’s worthwhile because it sets up the stage for the next book.

Violence: 1 of 5, because the dragons start eating people.

Stars: 2.5 of 5

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