The Wishing Spell
Author: Chris Colfer
Series: The Land of Stories (#1)
Publisher: Little, Brown
How Received: BookExpo America
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.
As we all know, Chris Colfer (of Glee fame) is a tremendously talented person. But does that talent extend to writing fantasy novels for a middle grade audience? In my opinion: absolutely.
I was super excited that I was lucky enough to grab a copy of The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell at Book Expo America without waiting on the uber long line that lead to the table where Chris was signing (downside was I didn’t get mine signed, but hey, I did get to creep on him for a few minutes until his body guard whisked him away from the crowd). This was one of the books that I was the most excited to read out of my haul, but I did have some trepidations about starting it. Mostly, I really didn’t want to be disappointed. I think Chris Colfer is a really wonderful person, from what I can gather, and even thought I don’t watch Glee anymore, his character Kurt was always my favorite when I did. I really wanted this book to be good and live up to my impression of its author. Thankfully, I could tell right from the start that I was in for a treat that would live up to (and maybe surpass) my hopes for what it could be.
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the story of twelve-year-old twins Alex and Conner Bailey. The two had grown up hearing fairy tales from their grandmothers old story book The Land of Stories. Alex is particularly passionate about these stories and the lessons they teach; the characters in these tales have become her best friends. Conner? … Not so much. Unsurprisingly to anyone who’s seen the cover of the book; the twins fall through a magical portal into the actual Land of Stories. This may seem like dream come true to any fairy tale lover, but there’s a twist: Alex and Conner have no way of getting back home. Their only hope is to complete the Wishing Spell; a legendary enchantment that will allow the casters one wish. No matter what it is, it’s guaranteed to come true. Their journey to collect the components of the spell takes them all over the fantasy world where they meet a plethora of friends and foes, some of whom you’ll be very familiar with!
Much like popular twists on classic fairy tales such as Wicked and Into the Woods, The Land of Stories puts a delightful spin on the tales we hold close to our hearts. Rooming with Nicole, I’m more familiar with all things Wicked than most, and Into the Woods played a big part in my life last semester when I costume designed a production of it and Nicole and I worked wardrobe crew. These things have made fairy tales much more meaningful to me, and I’ve seen how a good twist on these treasured stories can be executed. The Land of Stories definitely measures up. It’s charming, well-written, and hits you right in the feels when you meet one of your favorite characters and indulge in hearing their story from their own perspectives.
When I’m writing these reviews, I tend to be overly nice, and because of this, I’ve been trying to be a bit more honest and give criticism where it is due. With this book, however, I really can’t think of anything I didn’t enjoy about it. It’s that good!
You might like it...: I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy fairy tales in general, fantasy/adventure stories, Wicked, Into the Woods, and Once Upon a Time.
Julia is Nicole's rooommate and middle grade reviewer for WORD. She likes costuming. Check out her Tumblr at Adventures in Nerdland. You can find the rest of her posts on WORD by clicking here.