Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Hi all!

Here's a review to a magical story full of fairy tales :)


Author: Chris Colfer
Title: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Series: The Land of Stories #1
Release date: 17th of July 2012
Reading level: FICTION – CHILDREN: Supernatural, Fantasy
Pages: 438 in Paperback
Source: recieved ARC from Inga who got it from BEA 2012


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.


Fairy tales – you hear/see/experience them a million times in numerous different formats but they still manage to remain so magical and exciting. Every story, however, has an ending and it’s become standard to end a fairy tale not thinking about what happened afterwards to the beloved characters. There’s still a story after the happy end and this is exactly what The Wishing Spell explores – the events following “and they lived happily ever after.”

I have to confess that I adore fairy tales, especially Cinderella. Thus, it’s intriguing to read about diverse visions on what happened next, because fairy tale endings themselves come across so finite. Despite The Wishing Spell having mostly children as their intended target audience, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It had a slow start but once the protagonists arrived in the Land of Stories, the plot took off and didn’t hold back with constant action and an abundance of characters familiar from various fairy tales imaginable. This is also where my biggest complaint comes to surface. While I immensely enjoyed the retelling of the future of all sorts of characters, the story moves too fast for me to really appreciate most of them. The tasks the twins have to complete are gripping the first couple of times, thereafter, they just follow the same pattern over and over. Task, a small or no hindrance, next, task, a small or no hindrance, next, etc. The story jumped from one assignment to another so quickly and each was, on a basic level, completed just as the one before. Thus, a lot of anticipation on what may happen next or what might occur when the kids reach their goal was lost. Still, the ending compensated for the somewhat monotone middle with engrossing revelations that I had not expected. Many possible plot twists that had formed in my mind while reading were quite off the mark


The protagonists Alex and Conner were very likeable but quite a typical heroine and hero of children’s literature. Alex is the intelligent good girl that might act reckless in certain situations and Conner the smarty-pants troublemaker who always comes through when needed in the end.

The Evil Queen, sadly, wasn’t as effective as expected of one of the greatest villains in fairy tails. She came across too human, but I guess that was the point. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and other female characters blended into one similar mass. They weren’t really distinguishable, but again I guess that’s the aim because they were all originally kind, gentle, smart, friendly and sweet.

My favorite characters, however, were Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. Red was just so awesomely bitchy, moody, simpleminded, self-centered and someone you’d love to hate. She was a genuine comic relief in the book; I loved how she was portrayed. Goldilocks was the complete opposite of Red but on the same level as awesome. A total kick ass, brave and self-sufficient. I would really like to see a book on the continued adventures of Goldilocks or the daily life of Her Bitchyness Red.

Characters were the aspect the story had no issues with at all. How different players were woven to the story, how they were distinguished from their image in the original fairy tales, how everyone had a part to play – I really found the characters the highlight of this book.


It’s a solid debut book with a fun premise and an imaginative take on old and loved characters. I’m quite confident that the next book will hold onto everything successful from the first one and improve where necessary. I will definitely check out the second part of the series.

5 Flowers!

3 stars!



  1. I was particularly interested in this just because of Chris Colfer, haha.

    It sounds a bit cliched, as you pointed out, but hopefully it'll pass some hours. :)

  2. Thanks for the feeback!
    I also was intrigued because of Kurt (ok ok, Chris Colfer :) but I think he did good for his first book. It is cliche but it was still fun and sweet, I bet young children would love it, especially girls :D