The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Picked up ARC at BEA 2012)
Eleven year old twins Alex and Conner Bailey haven’t had an easy year. Since the death of their storytelling father, their mother was forced to sell their bookstore and to take on a job that leaves her working around the clock. They’ve been forced to move from the comfortable home with the blue door to a cold rental home a few blocks away.
As their twelfth birthday swiftly approaches, they don’t have much to look forward to. That is, until they come home to find their grandmother’s car parked in the driveway of their rental house. Loaded down with groceries, and a car full of birthday presents, their grandmother will see to it that Alex and Conner have a birthday they could never forget.
That’s why she gives them a book – The Land of Stories. Full of fantastical stories and memorable characters Alex and Conner have grown up with, the twins are overjoyed with calling the book their own.
But when The Land of Stories comes to life, sucking both Alex and Conner into their pages, they face the adventure of their lifetime – finding a way out of the book’s pages, and into the comforts of their own, rental home.
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is written by Chris Colfer, known more for his role as Kurt on hit television series Glee, not for his role as author.
Colfer’s The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell in an inventive, imaginative take of fairy tales, stories that we readers hold near and dear to our hearts.
While he remains true to their own stories – Snow White really was chased out of the kingdom by a huntsman and lived with seven small men, Cinderella really was a peasant girl who’s only friends were a family of mice – Colfer has managed to make these character’s his own.
By giving them unheard of back stories, Colfer has created complex characters that won’t cease to amaze readers. In their own way, they are all heroes. Take Goldilocks* for example. She isn’t the innocent little girl who simply ate some porridge and took a nap. She’s a full-grown adult, who not only can scare off the Big Bad Wolf gang, but is a fugitive on the run.
Beyond the fairytale characters, main characters Alex and Conner honest portrayals of typical twelve-year olds. They, not only battle fairy tale creatures within the pages, but they also battle friendships, or lack thereof as well as the trials and tribulations known as school. Their voices are honest, real, and young readers will be able to identify and sympathize with them.
Colfer’s writing is good. It’s full of unforseen twists and turns, and has some real laugh at loud moments. For his first foray into the writing world, his writing is a solid start, reader’s will be pleasantly surprised by this.
There is only one hitch. His pacing is sometimes off. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell has some real action packed sequences, but those sequences are often followed by moments that seem to drag.
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is a fun read that both children and adults will fall in love with, and not just because of who the famous author is. Young readers will have the chance to discover fairy tales they’ve yet to discover, while adults will rekindle their loves for tales long gone.