The Land of Stories - The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Release Date – July 17, 2012
Publisher Website – Little Brown Books For Young Readers/ Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 448 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from the publisher for an honest review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.The magic, for an adult, of a middle grade novel is that it can make you believe again. It can take you back to when you really thought you could wish upon a star, and when fairytales were as real as you are. Chris Colfer’s debut novel brought some of that magic back for me.
This novel was cute, and quite charming. It has all of the classic elements of the fairytales you know and love, with Chris putting his own spin on it. The weaving together of favourite fairytales was flawlessly done. He managed to keep the essence of the fairytales without retelling each detail of them. He knew these were familiar stories and ran with them.
Alex and Conner are characters that younger children will relate to. Alex is a wonderful student who is often picked on because of how well she does. She feels lonely and her brother Connor is one of the few people she gets to talk to. Connor is a funny, smart mouthed kid who is very much a class clown. He sometimes resents being compared to his “perfect” sister by adults but is quite loyal to her. The bond between the siblings rang true with the loyalty and sibling rivalry being presented in equal measure.
The story is a pretty standard adventure tale, and I found myself easily invested in the quest. Getting to explore the various kingdoms and taking the journey along with the twins is part of the story's charm.
The fairytale characters really stand out. The story presents a different side to beloved characters, even the villains. I found them much more developed and engaging than the twins, and really enjoyed these “twists” on the familiar.
Reading this I could almost visualize the movie that will eventually be made from this. I could see a wonderful cartoon or live action movie come out of this story. Chris’ writing strength is the dialogue. He has sense of humour that both adult and children will appreciate and the pacing lends itself towards screen adaptation.
The minor issues I had while reading are (mostly tightening of the chapters) ones that a younger reader will not even pick up on. Little missteps that are not enough to distract from the magical quality of the tale.
While it’s not a perfect novel, there is a lot of potential and promise here. I predict that young children and parents will delight over this charming read at bedtime. It’s one I can’t wait to share with the young ones in my family.