What I’m Reading: July. (Hint: “Enchanted Forest Chronicles”)

So that’s less of a “hint” and more of an answer, but regardless: starting on the Fourth, I’ve been rereading the Enchanted Forest Chronicles for the first time in years. I finished Dealing with Dragons on the beach, before fireworks, and moved on to Searching for Dragons, and now I’m on Calling on Dragons.

 

If you haven’t read these: do.

 

Cimorene is one of my favorite feminist characters, full stop, but there is never a single moment where you sense an agenda from the author. The characters’ nuances are realistic and fun and totally understandable. Our protagonist is matched by a whole host of awesome other characters, though, most of whom appreciate her for the spirited woman she is. It’s suitable for younger readers — I think I first tackled them when I was nine or ten, although I was ahead of the curve on that. I’d actually especially recommend it for boys who are just getting into fantasy, to show them that there can be kickass books that focus on female characters while still having politics and dragons and magical swords.

 

The second book focuses on Mendanbar, and the third on Morwen, but you never really leave behind your favorites from the previous books, which is really gratifying.

 


Other and Less Scintillating Things I Have Been Reading

 

I gave Unspoken a real try. I did. I got about 75% of the way through it and had to put it down. Unlike most books that get that treatment from me, I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t bad writing, the plot wasn’t boring, the characters weren’t insufferable. I just wasn’t feeling it. Sorry, Unspoken.

 

I also got through the first section of The Ask and The Answer, the sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go. Again: just couldn’t get into it. Spoilers beyond the cut:

Okay, I just really wanted the dog back. (The dog died. Duh.) There was a lot of nuance and mystery in the first one, and that’s all gone by the time the second begins (or at least, enough of it that I’ve stopped caring as much.) I just didn’t feel like the plot sustained itself enough to stretch into three books… it would have needed to pick up MUCH more quickly at the beginning of book two to keep me there. Maybe I’ll try it again… probably not? I don’t know, the overarching idea about the Noise and the incoming settlers and the history of Prentisstown is really good, so I do sort of want to know what happens.

 

But I don’t like when it’s obvious that the answer is “the main characters save the day and fall in love.” I believe in Todd even when I think I’m not supposed to, and that annoys me. He’s a bit too heroic, and when the author tries to make him seem less heroic, it doesn’t work.

 

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