on December 28th 1994
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Also in this series: Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1)
"We need to see King Mendanbar and Queen Cimorene right away. . . ."
They're back! Except Princess Cimorene is now Queen Cimorene of the Enchanted Forest, and she is on a very important mission with Kazul the dragon king, Morwen the witch, Telemain the magician, two cats, and a blue, flying donkey-rabbit named Killer. It's not going to be easy.
The wizards have become very smart (sort of) and have found a way to capture the most powerful source of magic in the Enchanted Forest --- King Mendanbar's sword. If the sword is not returned to the forest in due time, the forest will begin to die. And you can bet your last dragon scale that Cimorene won't stand for that!
I enjoyed this book much more than I enjoyed its predecessor, Searching for Dragons. In Calling on Dragons, Cimorene and Kazul are back on another adventure, but this time it was narrated by Morwen, the no-nonsense witch with more cats than hands and a house somehow cleaner than yours. I’ve always loved Morwen since her first introduction and was thrilled that she narrated this book, as the last was narrated by King Mendanbar, whom I consider very “meh,” for lack of a better term. But this time, Mendanbar is thankfully forced to stay at home. Upon discovering that his sword, which contains all of the magic in the Enchanted Forest, has been stolen, Mendenbar was left with no choice but to remain at home in the forest, as he was the last thing still holding the magic of the kingdom together against the magic sucking wizards. To Mendanbar’s dismay, only a member of the royal family can touch the sword. So in his stead, his newly pregnant wife and Queen of the Enchanted Forest, Cimorene, must find and lay hands on the missing sword–or else.
Of course, the gang, which put me a bit to mind of a both more eccentric and enchanted version of the Scooby Gang, accompanies Cimorene on her quest. With Kazul, the King of Dragons; Trouble and Scorn, two of Morwen’s cats; a rabbit named Killer, who repeatedly and helplessly runs afoul of magic—he ended up as 7 foot blue, floating, winged donkey; a firewitch; and an endlessly jargon-spouting magician named Telemain, Cimorene and Morwen know the quest will be anything but dull.
I found this book more true to the spirit of the first novel, even though I know a lot of people did not like this book as much as the first two books in the series. To my pleasure, the book once again showed Cimorene as a formidable opponent, even when carrying her unborn child into the face of danger. Plus, the book provided a significant amount of the series’s classic and oddball humor that is purely delightful! The hijinks that ensued, such as the ones involving an enchanted laundry basket, invisible dusk-blooming chokevines, talking cats, magical spells involving the word “Arglefraster,”and especially the humor of annoying princes and knights trying to rescue a firewitch’s sister from the tower she no longer lived at, are charming and made me laugh out loud!
And though most people find Killer, the magic plagued ex-rabbit, to be annoying, I thought he was hilarious! The cats playing the straight man to his helpless behavior was even funnier! And Killer saving the day and allowing for the recapture of the sword by View Spoiler »eating a magical plant (something that very often gets him into transformative troubles), was perfect! But in a fit of pure genius, author Wrede, not only transforms him back into a rabbit, but does so by putting all of poor Killer’s enchantments on the villain of the story, dooming him to being a 7 foot flying, blue donkey forever. « Hide Spoiler Not only was this family friendly, but it was also a hilarious and truly fitting end for the story for a villain who was very concerned with being traditional—I loved it.
The only downside to this tale in my opinion, besides the small presence of actual dragons, was the huge cliffhanger at the end of the book regarding the whereabouts of King Mendanbar. View Spoiler »The wizards locked up the castle of the Enchanted Forest in a magical shield that only the wielder of the magical sword can break. Unfortunately, Cimorene was only allowed to touch and carry the sword as a courtesy, as she was not born into the royal family, but married into it. So until an heir to the sword and throne was born and of age and able to wield the sword, the shield would stay around the castle of the Enchanted Forest and Mendanbar would remain in a magical limbo. « Hide Spoiler
Luckily, I already owned the next book in the series, but if I hadn’t, I would feel pretty put out by this ending. Plus, I thought it was kind of a bummer that the next book most likely starts with a huge timeskip. I felt like I didn’t really get to enjoy Cimorene and Mendanbar as young rulers, but I knew that Cimorene would be more than up to the task of raising the heir to the Enchanted Forest throne by herself, even when in hiding from the wizards. What’s more, was that I knew without a doubt, that these events would unfold in a clever, unique, and funny way. But because of the cliffhanger ending and the fact that I still think the first book in the series was still the ultimate best and the very epitome of perfection, I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.