The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer – REVIEW

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Little, Brown Young Readers, 438 Pages
Sub-genre: Retelling
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age Group: Middle Grade
Series: The Land of Stories #1

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.

The Wishing Spell follows Alex and Conner Bailey, a set of twins, as they navigate their way through the fantasy land within their family’s storybook. This magical world encompasses all of the well-known fairytales, and each has their own “kingdom”. Stuck in this alternate world, the twins must go through each of these kingdoms on a scavenger hunt of sorts to collect items they need to get back home.

No doubt about it, this is a middle grade book. And while I liked it, it was definitely in need of some better editing. Some of the sentences were choppy and often “told” too much of the story, rather than showing the readers and letting them interpret things for themselves. Despite that, the actual story, itself, was very captivating and I found myself unable to put it down. It had unexpected takes on some of the characters and I liked how well the kingdoms and various fairytales were weaved together.

Each chapter begins with an illustration and Brandon Dorman’s talent is evident. I know there is color map that will be included in the final version of this book, but I wish it could have been in the ARC for reviewers to see. I had a chance to see it when Chris spoke at the Children’s Author Breakfast at BEA and it’s a great visual aid.

Yes, I will admit that I was initially interested in this book because I watch Glee, but after hearing Chris talk about how this book has been years in the making (with his grandmother being his first editor, when he was a kid), I truly wanted to read it. It was a really fun adventure of a book and I hope to read more about the Bailey twins and whatever the future holds for them.

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