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BLOG: Classic Fairytales with Unexpected Twists Make Up “The Land of Stories”

Patch contributor Lauren Lola steps into unfamiliar territory as she dwells in on a recently released fairytale.

Fairytales are known to be the hallmark of childhood. 

Opening a book of such sort, a world is exposed where becoming a princess is definitely a possibility and the chances of running into a fairy are equivalent to that of smelling a deceased skunk here in the Tri-City Area. Magic exists without question in this world with each story beginning with “once upon a time” and ends with “happily ever after”… or at least, that’s what I know of.

I’ve never been into fairytales, not even when I was little. That’s not to say that I wasn’t familiar with the stories; it’s just that I’ve never been a big fan of them for some reason. Therefore, it was a bit strange for me as I stepped into unfamiliar territory and opened up a 438-page book called “The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.”

Originally released on July 17, this New York Times Bestseller tells the story of 12-year-old twins Alex and Conner Bailey as they fall into a magical book of fairytales they inherited from their grandmother. Having dealt with the aftermath of the death of their father within the past year, neither of them would have imagined being surrounded by fairytale characters they grew up hearing about as the ultimate escape.

The problem is neither of the twins is sure of how to get home. As a result, they go on a quest for a series of items that will come up with their only hope: the Wishing Spell.  However, as they are to discover on their journey, it is easier said than done.

This is the debut novel for Chris Colfer, a man many may recognize from his much proclaimed portrayal as Kurt Hummel on the hit Fox series “Glee.” 

As talented of an actor he is, is it possible for him to show as much talent as a writer, especially at only 22 years old?  The only writing of his I’ve been exposed to beforehand is a three-minute trailer for a movie he wrote and starred in called “Struck By Lightning.”

In my most honest and humble opinion, the answer is yes.

I cannot deny the fact that for a good half of the book, there was quite a surplus amount of similes and comparisons when describing certain situations.  While I admit that some of them were quite well done and were effective in what was being described, the number of them could have been less than what had turned out to be.

In addition, the fact that the dad is dead is definitely a downer, especially since it seems so repetitive in young adult fiction nowadays where the loved one of the main character has passed on or a character is dealing with a life-or-death illness of some type. At the same time though, it’s a smart maneuver on Colfer’s part, for it truly cements the deep meaning of the fairytales for Alex and Conner.

One of the things that I like about the book is that there are parts that had me laugh out loud. Being accustomed to reading books now where humor is a rarity, it was nice to get a good read with instances of wit incorporated here and there.

I liked how it had me on edge at some parts when the twins were dealing with a dangerous or suspenseful situation. In those cases, the most recent times I felt like that when reading a book was when I read all three books of “The Hunger Games Trilogy.”  As a result, it really makes you care about the characters.

The attention to detail is stunning. The stories and backgrounds of the characters- in particular those from the Land of Stories- are very well-developed about what goes on after “happily ever after.” The Evil Queen – yes, the one that tried to kill Snow White- especially has a tragic tale to tell that truly reflects something she says within the first few pages of the book: “…a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”

With so many twists and turns, so many well-developed characters and so many well-written dialogues that sometimes I would get so lost in the book that I would forget that it was written by someone who is only two years older than me.

Most of all, I like how it maintains the innocence of childhood. Alex and Conner are 12, an age where one meets the crossroads of childhood and adolescence, and so this is normally the age where, as Edna St. Vincent Millay once put it, “the child is grown, and puts away childish things.”  In a day and age where most young adult novels are filled with violence, sex and death, reading something that maintains that childhood innocence is truly a refreshing feeling.

Without a doubt, “The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell” is definitely a recommendable book.  It’s evidential that when Colfer puts his old soul and youthful heart to work, magic happens. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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