Title: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Pub Date: 7/2012
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I had a little trouble getting into the book, to be honest. In the beginning, when you're introduced to Alex and Conner, it was hard for me to stay focused on what was happening; it wasn't particularly interesting. Then Alex was given the book "The Land of Stories" and the plot just picked up from there! Alex and Conner fall into the book and are sent on a quest to find eight items in order to cast the Wishing Spell, a spell that can grant any wish. They need to travel through the different fairy tale kingdoms in order to find each item.
I love fairy tales and that was one of the reasons I was so excited to read this book. It incorporated stories that I love while adding all new twists to them. It was really awesome to read because the twists weren't predictable. I would think one thing, but then it would turn around and be something completely different. Another thing I really liked was that Colfer used the original stories -- not the Disney remakes and that made the story even better because it added layers to the fairytale characters that most people don't see because they only know the Disney versions.
I noticed that there didn't seem to be much character development for the twins, but since this is a series, that makes some sense. I'm hoping that Alex and Conner will gain a little more depth than they did in this book in following stories. However, I didn't really notice that until I looked back on it after finishing the book. It didn't bother me that much, so I'm not sure it's really that big of a deal, especially since the lack of obvious growth in this book leaves a lot of options for the next book.
Memorable or Forgettable: One of the things that made it memorable for me was the use of fairytales, which I sort of talked about already. In a lot of fairytale remakes, authors will only focus on one of the major, well-known stories: Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. In this book, however, we see other stories that aren't as well known and that don't get as much attention.
Another memorable thing was that Colfer didn't just rely on the traditional stories for plot points. While he did utilize them, he also added his own plot points and plot twists that weren't as obvious, which I loved. He wove in these other plot points in so well that, when it's all revealed in the end, you're sitting there shocked. I'm not going to like, I actually screamed when I finished the book, because I was so surprised and pleased: there were some obvious cop-outs that he could have used, but he didn't. He didn't make the obvious choices, and that made it even more memorable.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal