I hadn’t read an MG book in awhile, well unless you count the Son of Neptune, so I was really excited to pick this one up. Also it’s cover is gorgeous.
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 fairytales.
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
So, this book is written by an actor. And whenever a “celebrity” book is published I usually stay away. Far, far away. I absolutely understand why publishers will publish books “written” by Tyra Banks or that Snooki person. Instant money makers are important. They allow publishers to take risks on smaller projects that they are unsure of. But I don’t generally read these books.
But there was something about this one. I don’t know what. It just struck me that Chris Colfer wrote it because he wanted to tell as story. And it wasn’t a publicity thing or anything like that. And if you randomly came across this book in the bookstore you wouldn’t even know it was written by a rather famous person. I liked that.
Also, I love fairy tale retellings, especially when all the fairy tales are all smooshed together. And Goldilocks has to interact with Rapunzel. Or whatever. Throw in two modern kids who were raised on fairy tales and you’ve got a really interesting premise.
Throughout the story you can tell the author is aware that this is not a completely original story and I enjoyed how he embraced it and sometimes made a joke of it. Also, no matter how many fairy tale retellings I read, I’m always intrigued by the way everyone imagines classic characters slightly differently. Some people make Goldilocks a villainous little cretin, some make her a Robin Hood-esque hero. And I loved getting to meet all the familiar yet new characters in this book.
Also, I loved that the siblings pulled into the book, Alex especially, treated it almost like a vacation at first, and a little throughout. She wanted to see all the things she had grown up imagining and who cares if it might be dangerous or difficult. It was as if she was a tourist in her own imagination and she wasn’t going to miss a single bit of it.
I do have to say though, that despite all the good things in this book, I found the writing to be a little condescending. Or, it felt as if the author was talking down to the people reading the book. Things were over-explained and not a lot left up to interpretation. And you might think, “that’s okay, it’s a kids book.” But I disagree. I’ve ready plenty of MG books that were easier reads, and definitely written for people reading their first novels, but they did not make me feel that way. You know? It doesn’t kill the story but made it less enjoyable for me. And gave me a lot to skim.
Other than that, I was happy with the quality of writing this book has.
Have you read it? Did you like it? How do you feel about celebrities writing books?
Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a copy!