The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
by Chris Colfer
Plot Summary:Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairytales.
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
Expectations:So I'm a Gleek, and Kurt played by Chris Colfer is one of my favorite characters on the show. I really admire Chris' acting and singing ability, so the fact that he is also a writer does not surprise me as he is obviously ridiculously talented. And even though this book is more geared towards middle school readers, I love the premise and was really looking forward to reading this!
Review:This book does what I have wanted to see in a fairy tale redone story for a long time - it mixes up many different fairy tales and makes their characters interact - the stories have become real histories. Chris Colfer creates a world that has a believable government system and meshes the various characters and creatures from well known fairy tales so that they live side by side and gives them detailed backstories. The twins who fall into the Land of Stories, Alex and Conner, are fantastic guides for us on our journey through this world. Alex is the smart one, and a real fan of the fairy tale characters, while Conner is more down to earth, and wryly funny as he usually saves the day when the twins get into a scrape.
The beginning of the novel sets up the main conflicts - one concerning Snow White and the real motivations behind the Evil Queen's actions, and Alex and Conner's family life which has been recently disrupted by the death of their father. There are character arcs and revelations that are obvious almost from the beginning (of course Alex and Conner will come to grips with their lives back home after sojourning through the Land of Stories, and of course the Evil Queen was not always evil) but the real charm in this novel comes in the way the many different fairy tales are reimagined and recreated. I probably appreciated this book all the more because I am such a fan of fairy tales myself, and Alex's feelings towards them almost mirror my own. For that, I think this novel is exceptional and a beautifully written tribute to the magic of fairy tales.
As a side note, there is a map in the endpaper of the book, and lovely illustrations that head each chapter (it kind of reminded me of Harry Potter) and weirdly enough, I just loved the feel of the pages! This book looks and feels nice. Sorry, I just needed to gush on a well-made book.