Whenever I have breaks from school, my preference in reading material tends to regress to
the young adult and children’s sections.
As an English major, I spend my semesters reading excellent, canonized works full of deeper
meaning, so my brain demands a bit lighter reading when classes are done. Just because we
are “adults” now does not mean we cannot appreciate literature that is written for a younger
Over winter break, I settled down on the couch with a copy of Chris Colfer’s debut novel.
Colfer is best known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on Fox’s hit television show, “Glee,” but
do not let that make you underestimate his writing ability.
“The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell” opens with an intriguing start. Snow White of the
fairy tale legend has gone to visit her jailed wicked stepmother in order to ask one question:
The reader is held in suspense as the scene switches to a modern schoolroom. There, the book
introduces twins Alex and Connor Bailey. They are 11-years-old, but otherwise share little in
Alex is a know-it-all without friends, while Connor is the class clown who takes nothing
seriously. After a lesson on fairy tales in class that day, the twins walk home, passing by their old
house that their mother was forced to sell after the death of their father.
They walk in to a surprise visit from their grandmother, who brings the twins “The Land of
Stories,” a book of fairy tales, for a birthday present. The book is very special to both Alex and
Connor, because their father used to read the stories in it to them before his death. However,
Alex soon discovers that there is something odd about the book; it glows and makes noises at
random hours of the day.
In an attempt to figure out the curious gift, Alex leans in closely and, to her and her brother’s
shock, falls in. In order to save his sister, Connor jumps in. It does not take them too much time
to figure out that they somehow landed in the Land of Stories.
Unfortunately, finding their way back to their world is not as easy as they hoped and leads
them on a terrific quest in typical fairy tale fashion.
Along the way, they encounter all the classic characters from Cinderella to the son of the Big
Bad Wolf. Soon, the twins learn the truth behind these fairy stories and that not everyone is what
or who they seem.
This novel was a pretty fun and enjoyable read. I was not necessarily glued to the pages like I
have been with other books, but I think that is just because I can figure out plot points that were
written for kids. That being said, Colfer does have some good plot twists and surprises along the
way to keep a reader interested.
If you have never liked fairy tales, however, you will never like this book. Fairy tale stories
are the heart of the book, and they are written beautifully. Colfer takes classic characters and
gives them both hilarious and clever spins.
My personal favorite is Goldilocks, a dangerous outlaw on the run who is wanted by nine
kingdoms along with her horse, Porridge. Colfer’s skill in depicting quintessential storybook
characters, who would otherwise be boring and tired, makes his transition from actor to author
The book is 438 pages, which includes the cover and a map of the Land of Stories. It is not
a difficult read, so this would be an ideal read during the semester if you need a break from all
those Tartan PDF files.
If you love fairy tales and quests, take the jump and fall into “The Land of Stories: The