Review: Calling on Dragons
Friday, May 27, 2022

Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3)Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third installment to the Enchanted Forest series is told from the narrative perspective of the witch Morwen. This added an amusing dimension because she can speak to her cats, which were quite entertaining characters. Other than Morwen, the characters of Cimorene, Mendenbar, Telemain, and Kazul returned. They were joined by a rabbit named Killer who, due to a habit of eating things he shouldn't, was under a ridiculous number of enchantments that combined to turn him into a six-foot flying blue donkey with oversize wings. Killer's main character traits we're that he whined a lot about everything and was constantly hungry.

There was something nagging me the whole time I was reading this book, and I think I've finally put my finger on what it is. It's the voice, not of this story in particular, but of the series as a whole.
Imagine a funny story told by someone with no sense of humor. The story itself makes you laugh, but there is no laughter in the story. The characters never crack their brusque, no-nonsense attitudes no matter how ridiculous the situation. This is particularly exemplified by the character of Cimorene.
A joke told with a straight face can be hilarious, but when the entire story is a straight-man skit it begins to lose it's charm. It's like listening to a song with one wrong note played in the chorus. No matter how much you're enjoying the song, you'll cringe every time that chorus comes around even if you don't know why.
It's worth pointing out that this did not bother me as a kid, I thought these books were hilarious, and it does not seem to bother my daughter who loves these books and can't wait to read the next one. It is only now, reading these stories again as an adult, that I've found this weird disconnect in the humor.

The pacing of this story was good, but the conclusion was a little lack-luster. This book was basically just a setup for the next, and final, book in the series and so did not stand on its own very well. While the heroes did manage to address the main story goal, there was no real resolution. The best part of this book was definitely the attitude of the cats.

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