(Note: This post was originally published on the Chapters Indigo Kids Blog.)
Once upon a time…
Featuring images of fairy tale queens, a distant castle and elevated gold script on the flap jacket, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell physically represents the magical tale contained within its pages. Author, Chris Colfer, is already well-known to the world. His portrayal of the character Kurt Hummel on Fox’s Glee has earned him a loyal fan-base. However, upon the release of his first novel, and its appearance on my work computer screen each day, I became curious as to whether or not Colfer was the real deal as an author. Climbing into bed with a book fixated on fairy-tales is something I have not done since I was a child myself. The fact that the novel had such girth (438 pages!) made me mentally prepare myself for some sort of epic adventure. And I must say, Chris Colfer delivers!
I felt my heart swell a little when I read Colfer’s dedication to his grandmother who said, “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.” Fear not, Chris Colfer, your book is quite the magical adventure.
The Wishing Spell centers around a brother and sister duo, Conner and Alex Bailey, who have recently gone through a devastating family tragedy. Forced to give up their beautiful home and move into a rental, the twins attempt to make the best of their days, but can’t seem to get used to not having their father around. Then a visit from their grandmother and an unexpected gift change everything. Since they were children, The Land of Stories was an escape; a book their grandmother would read to them whenever they were together. Now it belonged to them. But this book wasn’t your average fairy tale. Falling into stories is normal. Falling into the physical book is not.
Conner and Alex find themselves in the literal Land of Stories, where the characters from their favourite fairy-tales have continued on with their lives after their written stories have finished. However, it isn’t just the heroes in this land; the villains still lurk!
Reading this book made me forget that I was twenty-three, and brought out the fairy-tale-loving kid that still exists beneath the adult exterior. Colfer included so many characters that I had fallen in love with myself as a child and brought to life the recurring childhood dream of someday meeting them. His smooth prose and witty dialogue helped create unforgettable characters that will make you return time and time again. As a bonus, the book includes a map of The Land of Stories, with the magically illustrated homes of some of our most beloved characters.