Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Being a princess just isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least not according to 16-year-old Princess Cimorene! She would rather be fencing, juggling, cooking, or learning anything exciting, but all she is allowed to do as a princess is boring-learning dances, embroidery, and court etiquette. This all changes when an arranged marriage with a handsome-but-brainless prince forces her to run away and into the lair of a powerful dragon. After securing a deal with the dragon Kazul as a live-in housekeeper / assistant, Cimorene's prospects begin to look up; yet she still has to deal with dim-witted princes coming to 'rescue' her, talking birds, witches, wizards, and everything in-between. Though fraught with dangers, life in the enchanted forest is anything but dull!
This is one of the best young-adult fairytale series I've come across. Each tale is packed with wit, action, excitement, and fantastic characters. The writing is beyond superb; it is both intelligent and inspiring without being too complex for its audience, though fans of classic fairytales will get more out of some of the jokes. Beyond the writing, the message of the books is one of character and empowerment. Cimorene, the main character, is intelligent, strong, and witty, but she's not perfect. She's headstrong; she's cynical; she cannot deal with every struggle life throws at her alone, and she certainly cannot succeed without effort! All in all, an excellent series of middle-school novels for those looking for a fun, well-written, encouraging story. ~ Stephen