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The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories) Paperback – July 2, 2013
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From School Library Journal
"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise."―The New York Times Book Review
"In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters."―Los Angeles Times
"A magical debut."―Family Circle
"It's hard not to love a book dedicated to the Glee star's grandmother...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures."―Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Children (especially those who have feelings of inadequacy or who have suffered early tragedy, just like Colfer did as a child) will find lots of hope within its pages, along with bravery and kindness and self-acceptance. It's a book about how every seemingly happy ending creates a new set of struggles to contend with, which you have to keep trying your best to overcome -- while also making good moral decisions and finding some kind of peace in spite of hardship. It's also a book about how things often seem to happen for a reason, and how unexpectedly wonderful things can happen as a result of painful struggles.
The book has some interesting meditations on the nature of deep loneliness and longing -- and what people are capable of doing to remedy those heartaches. It's one of the strongest themes that run throughout the story. It appears as a theme in many ways with a variety of outcomes, and manages to be melancholy and uplifting at the same time, which is really lovely. Even with all of that sadness being examined so deeply, the book manages to be really funny and light.
Another thing the book does strongly is preaching the power of understanding and compassion, even towards people who have done terrible things. It doesn't condone those terrible things, and it heavily emphasizes doing the RIGHT thing, but it deftly paints the characters as more complex humans than the classic Good Vs Evil stories do, which makes it all much more interesting and more relevant to real world conflicts.Read more ›
The book is nicely written, but the real stars of the book are the characters. All the characters have disarming vulnerabilities and a wisdom you don't expect in a book written for kids, or even in a book written by someone so young.
It's especially noteworthy that the female characters are always independent, driven, wise and strong. That isn't always the case in traditional tellings of these tales.
There are still a few typos in the Kindle version, but nothing too distracting.
Honestly, I'd recommend this to almost anyone, ages 8+. It's a fun, easy read and I'd be a lot happier about kids reading these fairytales than pretty much everything else out there.
So, I wonder if I'm the only Glee fan to give Chris a poor review. Now, the premise is pretty good, and I love how all the kingdoms are next to each other, and there are parts so far that I have enjoyed. I am on Chapter 10 - about halfway through - and this is such a weak book. I think too many people were "supportive" before this book went to print. Where was his editor? I quote: Alex and Connor (the main characters) "were so petrified, they were paralyzed." Um, yeah, that's kind of the definition of petrified. Earlier in the story, when the twins were given the (magical) storybook by their grandmother (a book that had been treasured by generations of their family, apparently), Alex thinks "It was like receiving an heirloom from a relative that was still alive." Yes, Chris, getting a treasured family object from a visiting grandmother is a lot like receiving an heirloom from a living relative - in that those are exactly the same things.
Last example, when the children are in the storybook land, and Alex is looking at the buildings of the city, she thinks "It was like being in a storybook."
This is harsh, but there's an episode of "Friends" where Joey has to write an official letter, and so he uses a thesaurus to change every other word to a synonym, reducing the letter to gibberish. There's a place or two in this book where I imagine Chris did the same thing.
This is why it's worth having a really good editor. I don't know if there were too many "yes-men," or if Chris Colfer refuses to listen to any constructive criticism, but I expected a lot more from him.Read more ›
Colfer puts most of his story in the dialogue and the narration seems to be just a means to link those speaking parts together. He misses the beauty that can go into a well written narrative. A story should not leave its reader breaking away from the flow to consider how awkwardly written it is. Truly though, I could go on and on, and that would be too harsh. So, here are a few things that bothered me in a (sort of) list:
The extreme overuse of poor similes:
"Mrs. Peters was staring at her as if she had just witnessed a gruesome rural animal give birth."
(I couldn't think of a gruesome rural animal...pig, cow, mouse. Dunno.)
"Alex clambered up the tree faster than any animal she had ever seen in a documentary."
(Doesn't that just flow off the lips.)
Compares the witch with the gingerbread house to: "...staring at her as if she were a rabid Tyranosaurus rex about to pounce on them at any moment."
(#1 rabid T-rex. #2 would pounce be the best word to describe the movement of a T-rex? #3 the word rabies makes, I believe, 3 appearances. At least one more I flagged when the twins come upon some unicorns. )
The similes go on and on and on and on...
Lack of revision.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the wishing spell was one of the greatest books i ever read.the characters are funny ,witty,and very smart. (mainly Alex in the first book.)one of myfriends suggested it to me. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Lessaleey
This book was amazing I loved it I couldn't stop reading it when I come home from school I read it after dinner I read it at 10:00 in the night I read it. Keep it upPublished 2 days ago by Parizad Bharucha
It was good. I like evil characters and there are a lot of them. (Written by Gemma Rose my eight year old niece.)Published 3 days ago by Mozart Brain
I read this book because I want to buy it for my Grandson. I love the idea of the story. It is told well, but I think the opening is a little to sad for him right now. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Rebecca L. Zortman
Extremely clever and charming! Chris Colfer is witty, sharp and well versed in his fairy tales. His writing style is fun fast-passed and totally engrosses the reader onto a world... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Adrienne Cantor
Fun reading. My granddaughter loves these books so I had to try one.Published 16 days ago by Sandra Gibbs