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cover shotA Small Matter of Sequence...
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Patricia C Wrede
These are wonderful books; YA, certainly, but highly readable by adults.

Will Shetterley, of the Scribblies - the Minneapolis-area writers' group which also gave us Emma Bull, Wrede herself, Steven Brust and Kara Dalkey - describes a bookstore in one of his novels which has a section entitled "Children's and Unusually Perceptive Adults' Fiction". That's where these books would belong.

(One of the books, BTW, is dedicated to the other Scribblies.)

If you read and enjoy Diana Wynne Jones or Tamora Pierce's fiction, you should love these. They are literally magical, full of Beautiful Princesses (Cimorene, the main protagonist of three of the books, is a princess who refuses to fulfill her princessly duties, gets a job as a dragon's housekeeper, and chases away all the knights who come to "rescue" her...), Dastardly Wizards, Clever Witches and Enchanted Rabbits.

Not to mention fire witches and Invisible Dusk-Blooming Chokevines.

I cannot too highly recommend them.

However, there is that little matter i referred to in this review's title, which might frustrate some people - a matter of sequence.

Simply put, though the stories of the four books are, indeed, sequential, the fourth was actually written some time *before* the others.

And, because of this, the first three books are one big spoiler for the fourth book.

Which wouldn't be so bad; just read the fourth book first...

Except that Book Four, in its turn, is an even bigger spoiler for the first three books.

Not to worry - it's not like knowing a lot about the story in advance is going to spoil Wrede's cheerfully-skewed story lines or her nicely humourous prose. Buy. Read. Enjoy.