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by Kate Coombs

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-36361-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In this funny, lighthearted follow-up to The Runaway Princess (2006), it’s the dragon’s turn to spread his wings and fly the coop. Princess Meg had promised to give her beloved pet dragon a grander, more grown-up name than Laddy, but months had passed and she’d neglected even to visit him. As the third-person narrator dryly states, “This was probably a mistake.” Meg’s ensuing quest to locate her fire-breathing Laddy before he further scorches the Kingdom of Greeve sets the lively, banter-rich romp in motion. Sixteen-year-old Meg is a reluctant princess, who, once tower-bound, understands Laddy’s flight impulse only too well. A born adventurer, she prefers swordplay to practicing 11 different curtsies, and while she’s not interested in silly princes, handsome bandits are decidedly up for consideration. Enchanted forests, rampant transmogrification, evil sorceresses and giants are all fine fodder for Coombs’s inventive twists on traditional fairy tales, as illuminated in the author’s note. This sequel is more scattered and less consistently riveting than its precursor, but admirers of the brave, noble Meg and her colorful entourage won’t want to miss it. (Fantasy. 9-14)