Monday, August 13, 2012

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

The Land Of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Pages: 448

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers

“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 fairy tales.

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.”

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell was one of those titles that I wanted to pick up out of idle curiosity. I wanted to see if Chris Colfer could actually write, and the plot sounded pretty good – what bookworm hasn’t dreamed about falling into a book. So when I happened to see it while I was out running errands I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did, by the way. I will admit that the dialogue can be a little stilted at times, especially in the first chapter, but dialogue is really difficult to write. And the plot really makes up for this minor flaw.

Twins Alex and Connor have personalities that remind me of Hermione and Ron, respectively. Alex has the answer to every question but lacks social skills, and Conner finds himself with a slew of friends and without the ability to stay awake in class. Fairy Tales, however, connect both twins and provide a sense of stability in their lives when personal tragedy strikes – enter a book with the power to take them into the world of these stories.

The plot of this novel is fast-paced and frolicking. It has the special ability to create the simple joy I remember when reading books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child. Even though the action has its roots in fables, someone with only a surface knowledge of Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm can certainly enjoy this tale. Still, having a more in-depth knowledge of their works does add to the story. As someone who heard these stories while growing up, I was delighted by every reference to the original tales.

And then there are Colfer’s smart quips. One character exclaims “Son of a witch!” – both a play on the similar colorful metaphor in our society and a reference to Wicked’s sequel? I think so. Connor provides a majority of the comic relief in the story. Although a lot of it is smart and funny, some of the humor can be a bit heavy-handed. All the same, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Everything from the expanded title to the set-up at the end of the story seems to suggest a sequel. (Fear not, there is no soul-crushing cliffhanger.)When and if a second book comes out I have no doubt that I will read it, and I hope to see appearances from a few less well-known fairy tale creatures.

The Big Picture: This book may have some flaws but it truly is a creative, fun, and rewarding romp. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good vacation read and especially to fans of Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm and ABC’s show Once Upon a Time (you will truly appreciate the development of “bad” characters).

Just as a side note,I’m sort of starting over fresh with my blog. This doesn’t really mean anything for anyone reading the blog other than the fact that I am going to start posting reviews again. Thanks.