Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: C+

From the back cover:
Always be polite to dragons! That’s what Daystar’s mother taught him… and it’s a very wise lesson—one that might just help him after his mom hands him a magic sword and kicks him out of the house. Especially because his house sits on the edge of the Enchanted Forest and his mother is Queen Cimorene.

But the tricky part is figuring out what he’s supposed to do with the magic sword. Where is he supposed to go? And why does everyone he meets seem to know who he is?

It’s going to take a particularly hotheaded fire-witch, a very verbose lizard, and a badly behaved baby dragon to help him figure it all out. And those good manners certainly won’t hurt!

Back to audio for this concluding volume. Although I recently praised Random House Listening Library for their production of Feed, I’ve overall been disappointed with their work in this series. The biggest irritant, aside from Telemain’s voice, is that emphasis is often placed on the wrong words. This happens all the time, and none of the dialogue sounds truly natural as a result. Here’s an example: Morwen comments on Daystar’s sword, “Parti…cularly since you still haven’t learned to use it properly.” It sounds like she’s calling him a slacker, when he’d only been given the thing the day before.

Regarding the actual content of the book, I wasn’t particularly annoyed by anything, aside from the continued incompetence of the villains. Neither was I particularly interested by anything. Talking to Dragons is boring. Daystar spends the entire book trying to discover what most, if not all, of the readers already know, and when he finally succeeds in getting some answers, the plots of the previous books are explained again. I wonder how likely it is that someone will just pick up book four of a series and start from there. Not very, I’d think.

Maybe for new readers, it would be some big reveal moment, but for everyone who started from the beginning, it’s a total yawn banquet. We know exactly what’s happened and exactly what Daystar is supposed to do, and what he’ll learn when he does it. Earlier books in the series had their share of obvious plot elements, but at least they led to new developments in the story rather than retreads of what’s gone before.

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  1. I also judge Cimorene for giving her child such a stupidass name.

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