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SFF Author: Patricia C. Wrede

book review Patricia C. Wrede(1953- )
Patricia C. Wrede is an American fantasy writer, born in Chicago, Illinois; she is the eldest of five children. She finished her first book in 1978, working as an accountant and financial analyst in the meantime. In 1980 she was a founding member of The Scribblies who also included Pamela Dean, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Steven Brust, and Nate Bucklin. She is a vegetarian and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her three cats. She has no children of her own, but has four nieces and four nephews.



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The Seven Towers: You’ve come a long way, baby

The Seven Towers by Patricia C. Wrede

I was strangely dissatisfied by The Seven Towers but really couldn’t figure out what exactly was the problem until I sat down to write the review. I normally start with a plot summary, and I couldn’t figure out how to summarize the story. A lot of stuff happens, and a lot of characters run around and do a lot of things, but there is a fundamental disjointedness to the story that is exacerbated by the multiple points of view.

The Seven Towers is the story of one world’s attempt to defeat the Matholych,


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Dealing with Dragons: No more embroidery!

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Princess Cimorene is tired of embroidery, etiquette, dancing, and protocol classes. She wants to take Latin, fencing, magic, and cooking lessons instead. But, that’s just “not done.” Princesses are supposed to be beautiful, submissive and, preferably, in distress. They’re supposed to wait for a handsome prince to rescue them.

Not Cimorene. To avoid a betrothal to a handsome and charming (but not particularly bright) prince, she runs away to become housekeeper for a dragon. As a dragon’s princess, Cimorene gets the freedom to cook and clean and to organize libraries and treasure rooms.


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Searching for Dragons: Funny and entertaining

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

It’s been more than 5 years since I read Dealing with Dragons, the first book in Patricia C. Wrede’s ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES. I loved the way the story, written in 1990, ridiculed and subverted the princess stereotype. It stars Cimorene, a teenage princess who runs away to avoid marrying a handsome but dull prince. She ends up working as a housekeeper and librarian for a dragon. (Housekeeper and Librarian seem like “female” roles,


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Calling on Dragons: Weakest book in the series

Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books in this series: Dealing with Dragons and Searching for Dragons.

Calling on Dragons is the third book in Patricia C. Wrede’s ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES series for young readers. I loved the first book, Dealing with Dragons, for its fun quirky plot, but mainly because of the way Wrede turned the princess and fantasy tropes on their heads.


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Talking to Dragons: The first, fourth, and final ENCHANTED FOREST book

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Talking to Dragons is the fourth and final book in Patricia C. Wrede’s ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES, though it was actually the first book in the series to be published (1985). Wrede wrote the later three books (Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons) as prequels and now the correct reading order is to start with those three prequels and read Talking to Dragons last.


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Sorcery and Cecelia (The Enchanted Chocolate Pot)

Sorcery and Cecelia (The Enchanted Chocolate Pot) by Patricia C. Wrede

To best understand Sorcery and Cecelia one has to first flick to the back of the book in order to read the authors’ afterword in which they explain the format and history of their story. After hearing of a game called “The Letter Game,” Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer decided to have a go — each took on the persona of two young women in a more magically flavoured 1800’s, and wrote to each other concerning their activities.


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The Grand Tour: If you enjoy Jane Austen…

The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede

We last saw the cousins Cecelia and Kate at the conclusion of Sorcery and Cecelia:The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, in which they had foiled a devious plot and found true love with their new husbands, Thomas Schofield and James Tartleton. The story was unique because it was told in the format of letters between the two cousins, each one telling the other about their separate adventures; and as they did with their previous collaboration, the authors Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer each take a character (Wrede is Cecelia;


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Thirteenth Child: Lots of controversy

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Imagine what the settling of the West would have been like if, along with hunger, drought, and malaria, the settlers also had to deal with dragons. Patricia Wrede’s Thirteenth Child is a sort of a magical version of Little House on the Prairie. Eff is the titular thirteenth child, which means she is a beacon of bad luck and will curse all those around her as she ages. Her twin brother Lan is a seventh son of a seventh son,


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Across the Great Barrier: Great adventure for young adult readers

Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede

Eff is back in this alternative magical history of the settling of the West. After the encounter with the mirror bugs that almost destroyed most of the settlements across the Great Barrier and came close to killing Eff’s brother and father, Eff gets hired on to a small expedition to chart the extent of the mirror bugs’ devastation. What they find surprises everyone — magic has completely disappeared from the soil and all the magical plants and animals are gone. As their journeys continue,


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Magazine Monday: Apex Magazine, Issues 44 and 45

Issue 44 of Apex Magazine leads off with “Trixie and the Pandas of Dread” by Eugie Foster. It would take a hard heart to resist a story that starts like this: “Trixie got out of her cherry-red godmobile and waved away the flitting cherubim waiting to bear her to her sedan chair.” In the world Foster has created, one can become a god when the Karma Committee appears at her door bearing prizes akin to the Publishers Clearinghouse bonanza. Trixie uses her power to get rid of the jerks who write sexist,


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Black Thorn, White Rose: So many wonderful stories

Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Black Thorn, White Rose is the second in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling‘s series of adult fairy-tale anthologies. I’d have to say that this is my favorite of the bunch; most of the volumes are good, but this one has so many wonderful stories that have stayed with me for years. A few highlights:

“Stronger Than Time,” by Patricia C. Wrede , is a sad but hopeful take on “Sleeping Beauty,”


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