Adventure · Children · Fantasy · Middle-Grade

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories #1) by Chris Colfer (Author) & Brandon Dorman (Illustrator)

I’ve read this book a while back and finally got around to write its review. Chris Colfer, also known for his character Kurt Hummel in the TV series Glee, revealed himself to be a great writer, not only in his style of writing but also with his imagination.

Alex and Connor Bailey have a very ordinary life: they live with their mother, they go to school and have their own friends. As their birthday approaches, the twins receive a collection of fairy tales stories called “The Land of Stories” given by their grandmother. But not everything is what it seems: when Alex and Connor accidentally fall inside the book, they will come face to face with all the magical characters and kingdoms they grow up to know and love. Stuck in the Land of Stories, the twins have to gather the ingredients for the “The Wishing Spell” to be able to return home, but they aren’t the only ones looking. A famous villain escaped prison and she’s ready to take her revenge. Alex and Connor start a journey through the fairy-tale land, racing against time to return home, making new friends, enemies and discovering secrets that will change their lives forever.

Being a fan of fairy tales as I think many readers are as well, I completely fell in love with this world. This universe of the Land of Stories is full of colour and it’s exactly like I imagined it when I was younger. But like the original stories, it’s not all good. I really enjoyed the structure and the construction of this world, and the detail of the map in the beginning of the book is just perfect to help create a mental image of this magical place. The novel takes place after the “happily ever after” and it’s incredible how Colfer managed to introduce the “after”. What happened to the princes and princesses? What were the consequences of the sleeping curse from the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Absolutely brilliant! It made me wish that I was right there with Alex and Connor; I never wanted the book to end.

The style of writing is engaging, witty and sometimes comical, which works perfectly for me. The storyline is solid and very entertaining; not a single boring moment! The reader is introduced to characters that we all know very well, and they are all very well developed; they have their own personality and their own voice and together they create this amazing and unique world where magic rules. A detail that I particularly enjoyed is that the princesses aren’t at all damsels in distress: they are feminine, compassionate, but they also have a unique strength of character that makes them not just symbols of beauty but also of leadership.

The unique style of Chris Colfer also showed in the way he presented valuable lessons in the story. The messages are presented in crucial moments of the story; they are simple to understand and essential for children to learn and for adults to remember. For example: always be yourself, don’t let anyone change you into something you are not; no one is born evil, circumstances of life changed them and their vision of the world; never judge someone based on their appearance, you don’t know the trials they went through. These are just a few, there are plenty more.

A magical experience and a novel that brings back memories and emotions from childhood! I can’t recommend this book enough!

5 Stars

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