Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nostalgia Book Review Tag

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a phrase which here means “October,” Alyssa from The Devil Orders Takeout tagged me for the Nostalgic Book Review Tag. Thanks, Alyssa! (And I know, this is the second Alyssa-y thing posted this week but I’ll be unique on Thursday.)

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Le Regole (the more complete version of which can be found here):

  • Find a book you read more than three years ago
  • DO NOT LOOK UP ANYTHING ABOUT THE BOOK
  • Provide a summary of the book
  • Discuss your thoughts on the book
  • Look up the book and fill in the blanks of your discussion
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Though I actually have reading log data stretching back to 2008, I’m actually going to discuss a book I first read in 2009 and reread in 2010: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.

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A Summary

Cimorene is a princess less interested in princess things like being nice to foreign emissaries and more into things like learning swordsmanship and not sewing. As her parents might marry her off soon, Cimorene decides to take hold of her life and on the advice of a talking toad decides to seek employment as a Dragon’s Princess. Usually dragons kidnap princesses, so it is bizarre and unheard of that a princess should go off trying to be a Dragon’s Princess on purpose, but a dragon named Kazul isn’t that arrogant and takes her on anyway.

Kazul is a pretty chill dragon, as far as dragons go. She likes the desserts Cimorene makes and is usually practical and understanding, and her best friend is a witch named Morwen who has many cats and a house with a door to anywhere, and lots of riches. Cimorene divides her time between serving Kazul, learning magic, and turning away the knights and princes who have come to rescue her (her father offered half the kingdom to the lad who rescues and marries her, which Cimorene obviously doesn’t want).

The bad guys in the midst of all this are the wizards. Or maybe sorcerers. They’re evil men who do magic. They kill the Dragon King, which means all the dragons must compete to be the new King, which also means that they’re all nicely collected for some mass-killing. However, as it turns out, water with a little soap and lemon melts wizards and Cimorene and Morwen save the day with cleaning supplies. Also, Kazul becomes the new King. The end.

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Thoughts

Most of all, I remember how practical these characters were. Everyone, of course, has their flaws, but they weren’t stupid ones. Kazul would sometimes be demanding, Cimorene was occasionally too industrious and acted without thinking. Occasionally they lost their tempers.

But really, practicality won out. Cimorene took her work as Kazul’s princess seriously, and she put a lot of effort into cataloguing her treasures for her and being careful to identify what the various magical items might be so they could be stored safely. One time, she ran into a jinn who would grant her a wish, and she wished for ground hen’s teeth, because nobody else had any and she needed some for a spell.

Also, melting wizards with soap and lemon water is hilarious.

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Epilogue (via)

It turns out that fencing wasn’t the only forbidden thing—cooking, magic, and Latin were also forbidden to a princess (because sewing is much more useful, apparently) which, funnily enough, are all the things Cimorene uses in her job as Kazul’s princess.

OH YEAH She makes friends with a princess named Alianora who lives in the caves next door. There’s also another princess who is prissy and selfish and normal and she gets rescued by a prince or a knight or somebody so we don’t have to deal with her anymore.

And also Alianora’s dragon was helping the wizards as an inside man. There was more antagonisting going on than I remembered.

I can’t blame myself for not remembering too much of the evil dragon part… I hadn’t read H.I.V.E. yet, so I wasn’t as interested in villains, and the strong female characters that dominate this book really stole my heart. Cimorene, Kazul, and Morwen really demonstrate beautiful, beautiful characterization that young girls should be exposed to—more than anything, I think this book demonstrates that being a princess is really about using your own talents to your fullest extent in useful ways.

With that in mind, if I did reread this (and I have half a mind to now) I would be reading this as someone thinking about how this would impact and influence younger girls. It wouldn’t be just about my reactions, but wanting other girls to get something from it, too. It was a favorite of mine when I was younger… Yes. I’d like to read it again. I’d feel differently, but I also believe I’d want to pass it on to a new generation of girls who need another awesome princess in their lives.


Thanks again for tagging me, Alyssa!

What is a book you loved when you were younger? Do you think if you reread it now you’d feel differently?


14 comments :

  1. Man, I need to read this! This caught my attention because I traded my Ghostgirl books for this one another book I got, but haven't gotten around to reading Dealing with Dragons yet! Sounds like Cimorene is my kind of girl! XD

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    1. Huh, funny that. Cimorene was a totally awesome character indeed! :D Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Oh goodness, there are a lot of books I read when I was younger that I would definitely feel different about now. Certainly my memory is faulty enough that I don't remember a lot of what I've read, let alone an accurate description of the plot and whether it was good or not. I don't really remember a book that I particularly thought was good that I might have changed my opinion on now, but I think it works in reverse too (I hope it does!) When I was a lot younger, I read Oliver Twist for the first time. And hated it. I think if I read it now though, I would feel a lot different about the story. It's always so interesting to see how your reading tastes change over time, isn't it?

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    1. Yeah, getting older can seriously warp your memory of what was and wasn't in the reads you used to love. I can totally imagine appreciating Oliver Twist as an older individual, though. Like, I am pretty sure appreciating literature is way easier for grown-ups than people in elementary school.

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  3. I need to read this! I actually remember checking this book out when I was younger, but I don't think I finished it (I was a chronic skimmer back then). Dragons were my favorite thing in the world, so I can't imagine why I didn't finish it. My favorite nostalgic book has to be The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--rereading it brings back such great memories. :)

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    1. It is definitely a fun read, and I'm half-tempted to check it out myself again, lol. And yes, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is another good old one. :)

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  4. Mwahaha, I have taken over your blog. ;P I love your sass in the summary!! Practical characters are simply the best. And yes, some books I don't think I'd like now, but they definitely shaped my childhood as a girl. Thanks for doing the tag, Heather!

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    1. Give it back, would ya? Practical characters do make me smile. Thanks for reading!

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  5. Awww I remember reading those when I was younger! I think I liked them, but honestly it's been so long.

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    1. Indeed... Where has all the time gone?

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  6. I remember reading this! I gave it to my cousin (wait, was that dragonskin slippers? I think it was). I found it funny and pleasing and the wizard melting scene is all coming back to me. Cimorene was so awesome, and so was Kazul.

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    1. :D Awesome! It was very fun, and I definitely had a good time with those books. Thank goodness for my sixth grade teachers' awesome bookshelves. :)

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  7. Wow, this book sounds really good... and really familiar. I feel like I read it once several years ago... Anyways, it's definitely going on the list to read/reread. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. Oooh, that's interesting. I hope you enjoy it when you re/read it... maybe you'll remember some interesting things from the last time you read it! :)

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