Title: The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories #1)
Author: Chris Colfer
Narrator: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette)
Acquired Via: Library
Release Date: July 17, 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 fairy tales.
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 tale retellings are some of my favorite things to read, and I'm pretty sure that middle grade versions of these are the best. That being said, The Wishing Spell did not disappoint. Many childhood favorite fairy tales are prominent in the so-called Land of Stories, and the book was a fun way to find out what happened to the main characters of those stories after their happily ever afters.
The basis of The Wishing Spell is Alex and Conner Bailey being trapped in the Land of Stories and they are travelling the land looking for ingredients for the Wishing Spell in order to get back home. They are as different as day and night - Alex is a brainiac loner who is the model child and student, and Conner is a bit of a slacker with a lot of friends - and forced to work together in order to get home. Unfortunately, it's not the easiest task and to make things more difficult, they are not the only ones looking for the necessary items.
The twins were fun to read about, but it was the side characters from the Land of Stories that stole the show. Goldilocks is a wanted criminal who has been on the lam for years since the bear incident. Little Red Riding Hood is a spoiled queen who fawns over and is in love with the one man she cannot have. The Evil Queen (Snow White's stepmother) had a bit more backstory that really kept me on my toes, and there's not much that I like more than a villain with some depth.
At first I was a little leery of Colfer voicing his own novel until I remembered that he's also an actor and singer. (I don't watch Glee, so that wasn't at the forefront of my mind.) I didn't really like his voice at first, but he really was best for the novel because he sounds like a child himself. There is also something special about an author reading his or her own work because they know the nuances of the language and each character best.
The Wishing Spell was a really cute book, and I'll probably continue with the series. There is nothing like cleansing the palate with a middle grade fairy story after all of the dystopia and science fiction novels that I read.
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