I’m very excited to be starting a new series on my blog! I am calling it, ‘Reading Rachael’. Once a month I will read a book, or series, in a different genre. To start things off, I have designated January as ‘MG’ (middle grade) month. I elected to begin with Middle Grade, because it is very dear to my heart, and also because MG novels are usually shorter reads, so I rather ambitiously thought I could polish off an entire series in a month. I was successful! (Although full disclosure, I did finish just under the wire.)
To ease myself into the process, I decided to start with a series that I had read and loved as a child; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This series was written by Patricia C. Wrede, and it begins with Dealing With Dragons, which tells the tale of a young princess who becomes increasingly tired of all the princessly duties required of her. One evening, she runs away to The Enchanted Forest, and suddenly finds herself consorting with dragons!
I loved this series as a young girl, because of the wit and charm of the writing. Wrede writes with an irreverent tone which I found (and still find) equal parts whimsical and delightful. This irreverence was of great inspiration to me when writing my own MG series.
One aspect I noticed about the series upon re-reading it as an adult, is that each novel in the series is told from the perspective of a different character. This provides an interesting perspective, especially as you read further into the series. It is interesting to hear a variety of different viewpoints from characters who were secondary in previous books, and become the main character in later books.
I particularly enjoyed the character of Cimorene, who as the main character in the first novel, is practical, intelligent and gumption-filled. She is an entirely relatable and rather inspiring character; always searching for knowledge, teaching herself new skills, and questioning the status quo. I also enjoyed Morwen, the main character in the third book, and a very un-witchy witch who grows nightshade flowers in her garden, and has numerous talking cats.
The Enchanted Forest itself is a marvelous place. I enjoyed Wrede’s world-building skills immensely. She is descriptive, but the snappy dialogue, and quick story lines don’t get bogged down by her descriptions. The cast of characters is as diverse, and unusual as I’ve ever read but they blended seamlessly in with the oddity of the world Wrede had created.
If I had any criticisms for the series it would have to be that I did not really enjoy the last novel in the series. The fourth and final novel takes place sixteen years after the third novel. I generally do not enjoy huge leaps in chronology, and this book in particular did not feel as though it was part of the same series.
February’s ‘Reading Rachael’ is YA Literature. What YA novel do you think I should read? Tell me in the comments below, or on Twitter, using the hashtag #ReadingRachael!