Remembering a few young adult books that I would have read probably in the late 80s/early 90s, roughly. Can't remember the titles and haven't had much luck searching them up based on what I remember.- Fantasy story where the MC's sidekick had a name I found pretty ridiculous, it was like "Pompoo" or something, pretty sure there was a "poo" syllable in it at least, because that's a great choice for a name in a kids' book right? The villain was described as having "a claw of iron", in full it might have been "a heart of stone and a claw of iron" but I'm only sure about the claw part. One of the chapters left off on the MC about to fall and grabbing what he thought was his friend's hand and it was like "but it wasn't a hand. It was a claw of iron". I forget what happened then but that chapter cliffhanger stuck with me.- Fantasy setting that lays out the classic "whatever brave knight can slay the dragon plaguing our kingdom can marry the princess" setup, but the twist is that the princess runs away, gets herself outfitted with a suit of full plate armor, and goes around the countryside disguised as a man, hunting the dragon herself. Ultimately finds and engages the dragon in a really brutal battle where half her face gets burnt off and it almost ends in a mutual kill, but she gets that Sigfried type dragon blood magic that lets her understand animals who are having a conversation like "poor girl, if only she knew there was a magic healing spring right over there". So she recovers, goes back to the king while still in her knight disguise, demands the hand of the princess as promised and keeps pressing even after the king is like "but the princess has run away". When he finally promises to uphold the bargain if the princess comes back, she takes off the helmet and is like "and so my hand is my own to give as I please".- Fantasy setting where there's this drug called "surka" (I think) that's basically wizard crack, powers up your magic power and you can do wizard duels for days on end but you might drop dead of overexertion afterwards. The royal heir ends up abusing it after being frustrated by a lack of magic power, and ends up burning their magic power out completely, only to be told "didn't you know the royals are always late bloomers", sort of a downer ending but it was clearly meaPost too long. Click here to view the full text.