Review: “The Runaway Dragon” by Kate Coombs

For the love of books

In The Runaway Princess, Princess Meg earned her parents’ respect and trust while being reassured of their love and acquiring a moderate amount of independence.  The Runaway Dragon is the sequel that again centers on Meg’s experiences, her friendships, and her strong-willed enforcement of her independence.

It is a year later in the story, and Meg is immersed in her sword and magic lessons as well as her other royal duties.  However, her desire to go on another quest in order to escape royal boredom is a wish that is granted only by certain circumstances.  Meg’s baby dragon, Laddy, is now an adult whose place is not warmly understood by Meg’s parents or the citizens of Greeve.  His sudden disappearance is the cause for Meg’s travels which in turn are the setting for new adventures, more magic, and, finally, some romance.  While the storyline does focus on Meg’s and Laddy’s changing relationship, Kate Coombs brings romance to the story by also changing the status quo of the relationships between several of the main characters.  All familiar characters from The Runaway Princess are present in the story, with the exception of the princes; new characters also join the ensemble together with a new magical antagonist.

The settings are again expanded by the author, especially when Meg and Lex are separated from their other companions in the middle of the tale, creating different adventures for each group of characters that occur simultaneously.  Magic itself contributes to the increased level of humor in the story, which is partially prompted by Meg’s erroneous spells; dragon magic and “telepathy” are described in more detail and have more impact on the outcome of the plot.  While the author herself explains at the end of The Runaway Dragon which fairy tales inspired threads of her storyline, the classic tale of Rapunzel is obviously repeated in a new, original version within the story with Coombs’ unique twists.  Enchanted forests, a vague take on Jack and the Beanstalk, and an evil sorceress that matches Lex in power and magical expertise are only a few of the surprises that confirm The Runaway Dragon to be an exuberant and fitting sequel to The Runaway Princess.

Original review: Part 2: Kate Coombs successfully composes her own fairy tales, Examiner.com

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