“‘Once upon a time’ These are the most magical words our world has ever known and the gateway to the greatest stories ever told. They’re an immediate calling to anyone who hears them-a calling into a world where everyone is welcome and anything can happen. Mice can become men, maids can become princesses, and they can teach valuable lessons in the process.”
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, is the story of a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, named Conner and Alex Bailey. In the book, Conner and Alex accidentally get transported into the fairy tale world, and they want to find a way back home. But, the only way to get back to the real world is to collect certain items that are dangerously hard to comeby. These items form the Wishing Spell, and will grant the twins passage back home. In this person vs. person conflict, Conner and Alex must work tirelessly to obtain the necessary items before time runs out.
I have to admit, when my brother first recommended this book to me, I was a bit skeptical. However, as soon as I was a couple chapters into this book, I was hooked. But, since it did take a couple chapters, I would rate the book a four out of five. In my opinion, there is a healthy balance of action (mild action, if I may add) as well as some valuable lessons learned and a conflict that kept me on the edge of my seat. I particularly enjoyed the part of the book when Alex and Conner are retrieving a specific item from the bottom of the sea, and encounter The Little Mermaid herself. In general, the main reason I enjoyed the book was because of the widespread presence of characters from all the fairy tales we know and love, including Snow White, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. The only criticism I had with this book was the way Chris Colfer twisted some of the stories to comply with his plot. For example: in the book, Red Riding Hood is an elected queen, and has her own kingdom. This is obviously a departure from the original story, but it can be easily forgiven. Because of its universal subject matter, this book will appeal to a wide range of audiences, but I would particularly recommend it for ages 8-13. It would also be a good book for a group read. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the perfect book for a reader who loves fantasy with a little action.
Extra Note: In case you loved this book and want more, there are three more books in this series, which I have listed below. Enjoy!
2. The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns
3. The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning
4. The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms