My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Continuing on from enjoying the ‘Enchanted Forest Chronicles’ which began with ‘Dealing with Dragons‘, returning to the series thirteen years after first reading them to my young children, I was delighted to find that the second book was every bit as entertaining as the first.
Wrede’s rather wonderful idea (accidentally hit upon, the author freely admits) of taking a different character viewpoint for each book, means that you get a sense of 360-degree viewing of the world these characters inhabit. There’s no sense of a same old plot ploy being rehashed. While the characters remain the same and, inevitably, it is the wizards who reappear as the enemy, the different lifestyle we come to know of a new hero(ine) for the each book means the whole plot approach feels fresh and original.
There’s nothing complicated in the stories – in this one the premise is the mystery of why great chunks of the forest seem to have died or gone missing and where Kazul, the king of the dragons, has disappeared to. It’s a good, fantastical romp and would absolutely delight older children who are, perhaps, not quite ready for the darkness of Harry Potter and the like.
Wrede writes with a light, whimsical touch but isn’t simplistic. Her characters and dialogue are intelligent and interesting. The no real sense of hidden agendas or condescension in her style – something many children’s authors fail to avoid.
I do wonder why the author and her books are not better known. She’s enjoyed a reasonable amount of fame in the States but somehow these books just haven’t come over to Europe or the UK in a big way and I think that’s a real shame. For a modern society wishing to encourage equality of the sexes among children without having to push a hard-line feminist agenda, the ‘Enchanted Forest’ books press all the right buttons. Certainly – so far, at least, into the four-book series – I can’t recommend the books enough.
Social Entrepreneur, educationalist, bestselling author and journalist, D K Powell is the author of the bestselling collection of literary short stories “The Old Man on the Beach“. His first book, ‘Sonali’ is a photo-memoir journal of life in Bangladesh and has been highly praised by the Bangladeshi diaspora worldwide. Students learning the Bengali language have also valued the English/Bengali translations on every page. Listen to his life story in interview with the BBC here.
His latest book is ‘Try not to Laugh’ and is a guide to memorising, revising and passing exams for students.
D K Powell is available to speak at events (see his TEDx talk here) and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, he is available for one-to-one mentoring and runs a course on the psychology of writing.
Ken writes for a number of publications around the world. Past reviewer for Paste magazine, The Doughnut, E2D and United Airways, and currently reviews for Lancashire Life magazine and Northern Arts Review.