My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If children’s/YA fiction isn’t your thing, bear with me a little longer. One more review to go after this and then I’m done with this wonderful series of books. A meatier classic will come soon!
For everyone else who has an inner child like mine, carry on reading…
The third instalment of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles takes yet another character’s perspective – this time, Morwen the Witch and (more importantly) her very many cats.
Here we find Cimorene, who began our adventures in book one, has now moved on to become queen of the forest and is pregnant – preparing us for the fourth and final book which was (as the author explains in all her introductions) actually the first of the series to be written and published. She’s not absent in this story: far from it. Nor are the pesky wizards very far away too. But our focus remains mostly with Morwen as she tries to work out what has happened to the magic sword which belongs and in the Enchanted Forest and threatens to destroy it if not returned.
There is something of a different feel to this book. For a start, it doesn’t end happily with everything nicely tied up. Instead, having given us two complete stories previously, Wrede now gives us the cliffhanger which will come to a head in the fourth book. Considering this was originally published in 1993, that’s quite ahead of its time really.
Nevertheless, ahead of time or not, it can bring something of a disappointment – at least to me as an adult reading these for old times’ sake rather than reading to my children. I’m sure we were all thrilled and delighted the first time around – seeing as we had the fourth book to hand ready to move on to, so we didn’t have to wait long for resolution. I’m sure children will be delighted by it all too. But for me, I found myself less than convinced by the calmness with which everyone faces the final predicament – Cimorene most of all, as it happens. There’s no real sense of urgency, crisis or emotional turmoil. I guess that makes it a safe book for younger children though.
Still, these are characters that I’ve come to know and love and I care about what happens to them. Hence, I’m looking forward to the fourth – and longest – book. I’ll report back what I think when I’m done!
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.