Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Land of Stories: the Wishing Spell By Chris Colfer

Cover image for The wishing spellTwelve year old twins, Alex and Connor, are mourning the death of their father, and adjusting to having their mom work all the time. One memento of their father is a book of fairy tales, but one day the book starts to act strangely.  It glows and makes noises, until one day it sucks the children into the land of fairytales.  There they meet all their fairy tale favorites who are currently living their lives a decade or so after their famous stories.  Alex and Conner find a journal that tells them about a wishing spell that might be able to take them back to their own world, so they go on a quest to find the ingredients they need for the spell.  They are not the only ones hoping to have an impossible wish granted and the others looking for the ingredients are not nice people.

This is a cute fractured fairytale story for those who like E.D. Baker's Frog Princess stories and Michael Buckley's Sister's Grimm series.  It is appropriate for a younger, but very confident reader because almost everyone they meet is actually pretty nice to them, and even the bad guys are not evil to the core.

It is interesting because as I read the book I kept thinking, "this is pretty good, but the writer sounds inexperienced."  One of the reasons I thought that was because, even though Alex (a girl) and Connor (a boy) have different interests, there wasn't much difference in their personalities.  Especially, when the action heats up near the end of the book the author treats them as a single person, and they sayand do several things in unison. I guess what I am trying to express is that the story doesn't arise from the characters.  The author came up with the story first, and then moves the two characters through it like a kid might move his Lego guys through a pretend adventure.  When I looked up the author, I found out he was only 22 when the book was published. That means he was probably only 20 or younger when he wrote it. It will be interesting to read the second book in the series and see how the writing matures.  (438 p.)

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