on August 9, 2013
I really liked the first book in this series, but it was obvious in some cases that it was a first book. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much the authors writing has improved for this second book. I absolutely loved this one. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. It was exciting and had a surprise ending that I didn't see coming, but upon reflection realized had been subtly hinted at throughout the story. I am middle-aged, but have a soft spot for fairytale related stories, so I really am enjoying this series and hope he continues them.
on August 9, 2013
I enjoyed the first Land of Stories book, so I was looking forward to reading this one. I wasn't expecting to be completely captivated with the story within the first few pages, but I was. The Enchantress Returns was so excellent I had a hard time putting it down; I ended up finishing it in just two sittings. The book is packed full of action and adventure, but there are some laugh out loud funny moments as well.
Like the first book in the series, The Enchantress Returns features twins Alex and Conner, who are drawn into the fairy tale world. The book contains many returning characters, along with some highly entertaining new ones. Readers will be familiar with many of the characters, who are taken from classic fairy tales, but Chris Colfer puts his own unique spin on each of them. He creates wonderful back-stories and weaves together the plots of seemingly disconnected fairy tales to create an entirely new fairly tale world based on all our old favorite stories. I especially liked his take on Rumpelstiltskin, who features prominently in the book.
The book is definitely appropriate for elementary school children, but it will also appeal to teens and adults of any age. I felt the first Land of Stories book sometimes struggled to find a balance between being linguistically easy enough for kids to read and understand and being sophisticated enough to attract older readers. The Enchantress Returns has no such issue. While the writing remains simple, it is also smooth and beautiful. The plot and the writing style will keep people reading.
I hope more books in this series are planned. After finishing The Enchantress Returns, I definitely want more!
on December 15, 2013
My 10 year old loves this series, but she came to us to let us know that in the chapter titled "Loosely Goosey" there were a few inappropriate comments made by Mother Goose. A little PG-13.
If you are picky, as we are, regarding questionable content, then these passages should be considered. Otherwise, she loves the book so far.
on August 9, 2013
I just finished reading "The Land Of Stories: The Enchantress Returns" and I still have a smile on my face! I really, really loved this book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Following I'll share my thoughts with you - there are a few *very* minor spoilers in this review, but nothing I would consider to be especially plot-relevant!
About the story:
It's been a year since twins Alex and Conner Bailey were magically transported into the Land Of Stories and went on a quest to put together the Wishing Spell to find a way back to their own world. A year since they found out that they are children of both worlds, and that their grandmother is the one and only Fairy Godmother.
But adventure awaits the Bailey twins again when their mother is kidnapped and taken to the fairytale world by an evil enchantress who wants to rule over all the kingdoms - and more. Together they travel back to the Land Of Stories, where they soon find out that another quest is in order. Only this time, they're not alone! They are joined by an unlikely quartet, and together this group must find a number of hard-to-collect items in hopes of putting together the Wand of Wonderment - the one thing that might help them defeat the enchantress and save the world!
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first book in the series, "The Wishing Spell", and thought it was good - but I also felt that it still left room for improvement (as is often the case with books by first time authors). Naturally I was excited for the sequel, "The Enchantress Returns", and the book did not disappoint! In fact, I have to admit I actually liked this one better than the first one ... :o)
Chris Colfer has really taken leaps and bounds as an author. I mean, he was a good writer and storyteller to begin with, but I feel that his writing has still improved quite a bit since his first book ("The Enchantress Returns" is actually his third one, with the YA novel "Struck by Lightning: The Carson Philips Journal" - based on his own screenplay - being the second).
The story is more well-rounded, the pacing and plotting tighter, the writing itself smoother, there's more depth to both story and characters, and he manages to effortlessly interweave various subplots and tie them all up neatly in the end. While I felt that the story was a bit slow in the beginning, it soon picked up pace and once Alex and Conner were back in the Land Of Stories there was not a dull moment to be found.
Chris Colfer's vivid imagination and knack for drawing readers into his stories continues to amaze me! His writing is incredibly descriptive and imaginative, and just like with the first book, this one too felt like I was watching a movie in my head (and on that note I have to say that both TLOS books would make really awesome movies!).
He is good at writing scenes for Alex and Conner, but where he is really at his best is when writing his fairytale characters, and especially when creating their back stories. He takes these stories and characters we all know and adds a whole bunch of new layers (and a lot more depth) to them. And more than that - he makes them feel so real they seem to leap off the pages!
There is plenty of humor and witty banter in this book! Mother Goose - or should I say "Mother Booze"? - is hilarious, and I have to say I love Chris for basically forcing Red and Goldilocks to spend the majority of the story in close quarters - their constant open animosity makes for some of the book's most funniest moments! In fact, those two might just be my favorite characters in the series ... :o)
It is really good to see Chris continuously improve as a writer, and honestly? If the three novels he has published so far are any indication then we can expect some really big things from him in the future!
To sum this up, "The Enchantress Returns" is a wonderful and well-written book not just for children - or adults - who love fairytales and fantastical stories, but for anyone who enjoys reading about adventures full of magic, wit and humor. I really hope that there will be more books in the series because I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye to Alex, Conner, and all the fairytale characters yet!
About the audio book: I read the hardcover book first and then listened to it after that. I'm not generally a fan of audio books but Chris Colfer always narrates them himself - and that is an absolute treat! He always manages to give every character a unique voice of their own, and I found his narration to be funny, engaging and often endearing!
on July 30, 2014
** spoiler alert ** If I could, I would actually give this 4.5 stars, because I liked book 1 better. This book had a slower start than book 1. I didn't really get that "non-stop" feeling until the idea of the wand developed. However, everything included is intentional, and it all ties together smoothly in the end. I felt there was a lot of back story dumping. I loved the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Evil Queen. The Enchantress dropped her story early on. But Colfer did weave in elements of her history throu...more If I could, I would actually give this 4.5 stars, because I liked book 1 better. This book had a slower start than book 1. I didn't really get that "non-stop" feeling until the idea of the wand developed. However, everything included is intentional, and it all ties together smoothly in the end. I felt there was a lot of back story dumping. I loved the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Evil Queen. The Enchantress dropped her story early on. But Colfer did weave in elements of her history throughout the book, which was very enjoyable.
Colfer is a master at lacing in well-known fairy tales into the story line. He's also great at developing personality for these characters. So there are new mysteries as well as old friends. There's good character development with a variety of people, and the humor is sharp.
Colfer also provides some very heartfelt moments. One of my favorite scenes is when the kids encounter Evly in the mirror. It was so well written. Colfer is excellent at developing emotionally-charged character moments. Its so easy to connect with his characters, including Rumpelstiltskin even though he's not in a lot of chapters. Somehow, Colfer gives small characters like this depth and makes them easy to root for. Colfer can juggle a mass of characters with ease along with creating well-developed back stories and unique, fun personalities. All fairy tale characters get a chance to shine in the book, which also works within the flow of the plot development.
Finally, Colfer finds a way to continually surprise the reader. Even the last chapter gives you a twist with Alex's story and the closing of the portals. I know her choice to leave her mom hit very close to my son's heart -- he felt how difficult a moment that would be. He even admits to feeling "choked up" at the end.
I'm very excited for more. Things are only going to get more magical.
on July 11, 2015
Colfer has grown so much as a writer with this second installment of The Land of Stories. The humor is spot on for young readers. The pacing is suspenseful and exciting, and it makes this a quick read despite being several hundred pages. My 4th and 5th graders LOVE this series, and I do, too!
on April 7, 2015
I love Chris Colder's imagination. He is an awesome writer. I cried at the end. I don't want to give up the end of the story so I won't say why I cried. I recommend this series to my children, my grandchildren, and when they are old enough to read this wonderful series, my great grandchildren. I belong to a book cub that has read the first book. I hope they continue to read this whole series and more by Chris. Thanking Chris for wholesome reads. I recommend this series to all my friends and acquaintances. Happy read all. Ann Bouvier
on March 21, 2016
This is the second book in the series. I can honestly say both young and old are hooked on this series of books. The author makes it wonderful all of us. My 9 year old says, adventurous and fun. My 12 year old says, stunning, stupendous, engulfing and courageous!