The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
The Land of Stories , Book 1
ISBN # 9781907411762
Author’s Website:] http://thelandofstoriesbook.com
Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change.
When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven’t ended in this magical land—Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins want to get back home. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way? (Source)
I’m going to start this review by saying one thing – I ‘m a huge Chris Colfer fan. I love almost everything the man does, and, along with thousands of others like me, I preordered this book at my earliest opportunity. However, once I received my copy, I was determined to read the book – and not let the name of the front of the book sway my impression of the story. I wanted to start with a relatively clean slate.
And, let me tell you – the story is amazing. The premise is one that is known to fantasy fans. Kids fall into a world that they are unaware existed before, and need to find their way back home. What’s great about this, is that Mr Colfer gives credit where credit is due, and gives nods to not only the obvious Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, but also C.S Lewis and even a small nod to Gregory Maguire. All of this is done really tastefully, and there is some wonderfully insightful meta about fairy tales made by Alex and Conner Bailey, and their teacher, Mrs Peters.
Even with the nod to the classics, Mr Colfer manages to make the characters his own. The Evil Queen has some fantastic (and real) insight about people’s perceptions of others actions – and is a great example of that. The Evil Queen also has a really amazing back story. Goldilocks has to deal with the ramifications of her altercation with the 3 bears, while Sleeping Beauty faces the trials and tribulations of sleeping for 100 years. The Land of Stories world is a fantastic mix of Fantasy with Real Life problems.
My absolutely favourite characters would have to be Goldilocks and The Evil Queen, who I’ve already mentioned, and Froggy (a frog man the twins meet on their journey and who tells them about the Wishing Spell that will get them home), the mermaids and Conner and Alex Bailey themselves. I could relate so much with Alex and Conner – remembered being both of them at one point in my life- and they are the smartest, sassiest and funniest protagonists I could wish for to take me through the Land of Stories. Honestly? The writing style facilitates this feeling too. As I was reading the book , it feels like Mr Colfer had grabbed my hand (as well as the twins’ ) and said “ Here, let me show you my world.”
There are some twists of the story that I could guess almost immediately (and moments where I felt that a point was being repeated needlessly) , and then there were others that I couldn’t have picked in a million years. And, even with the twists that I had guessed – Mr Colfer managed to present it in a unique way that still had an element of surprise to it, and it was still a very enjoyable read. The illustrations by Brandon Doorman also is a wonderful facilitation into the journey of the Land of Stories (I was lucky enough to receive an American copy of The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell. Unfortunately, the map of the Land of Stories – which was created by Mr Colfer and drawn by Mr Doorman – is not in the Australian version of the book). This is a great kids’ book, or a great book for the people who are still kids at heart, and always wondered what happened after the fairytale ended.
Even if this book was not written by Chris Colfer, I would adore its’ humour, its’ sass, its’ twists and turns and its’ beauty. The fact that The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell does have Chris Colfer’s name on the front of it makes it all the more special to me, knowing that this incredibly talented young man continues to show the world exactly what he is capable of. I am eagerly awaiting the second installment of The Land of Stories!