The Wishing Spell is a young adult book which meshes together the modern world and the world of classic fairy tales such as Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and lots more.
Alex and Conner Bailey (twins) have grown up on fairy tales, specifically from a huge book which their grandparents have always read to them. On their twelfth birthday their Grandma passes this book down to them and then the trouble really begins.
After some strange happenings, the twins fall through a portal into the book – landing themselves in The Land of Stories. The portal doesn’t seem to work both ways so they find themselves stuck until they can find a way home again.
The Land of Stories is full of fairy tale folk which the twins meet along the way – most are well known or descendants of well known characters in fairy tales – so you’ll have no trouble in following who is who.
There are also some general fantasy type creatures such as goblins, trolls and fairies – their role in this alternative world is well explained but there isn’t much depth to their stories.
There are two stories running alongside each other in this book – that of Alex and Conner, making their way through the different Kingdoms, trying to find a way home and that of the fairy tale folk.
Unfortunately it seems the twins, although the main characters are much more of a pawn in Colfer’s game to gain a way to write about classic fairy tales. To give another character’s perspective on a classic story or simply document that there was life after that “happily ever after” and it wasn’t all roses.
Whilst it’s interesting to see these different views – I didn’t feel a whole lot was done with them once they were “uncovered”. Without giving any spoilers – it felt very much like “this happened, and then that happened, and then this happened” and so on and so forth. Nothing really strong connected one scene to the next, or one storyline to another.
Unfortunately this left the characters – for the most part – largely flat. Alex the overachiever and Conner the comedian just about sums up what you get to know about the twins.
That being said, I did enjoy the book – it’s just very obvious that this is on the younger end of “Young Adult”. The story is fairly simple but enjoyable. I felt it was sort of a bridge book – between the very simple stories for 9-10 year olds to the more complex, longer books of teenage fiction.
There is a second book in the series and I must say, I’m rather hoping this first book is mostly doing the setting up for that – as it does have the potential to be pretty good.
Author Website: http://thelandofstoriesbook.com/
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult, Children’s, Fantasy
Purchased From: The American Book Center
Side note – Decided to do my reviews a little differently – with a rating system and extra information. What do you think? Does this help you more?