SYNOPSIS: On their twelfth birthday, Alex and Connor’s grandmother gives them the storybook that they used to read when they were younger. When Alex discovers that the book opens a portal to another world, her and Connor end up falling in and getting stuck in the Land of Stories. The only way out is to gather the items in order to cast the Wishing Spell, but they aren’t the only ones looking to cast it.
What I really appreciate about this book is that there isn’t a smart twin and a dumb twin. Sure Alex does a lot better in school than Connor, but it is highly emphasized that Connor isn’t stupid because of it. Also even though Alex is highly intelligent and doesn’t have a lot of friends, it doesn’t earn her Connor’s ridicule. Frequently throughout the book you can see their teamwork and their intense love and respect for each other. They have a wonderful and believable sibling relationship I found. There were times when the writing felt a little flat and juvenile, but I loved how Colfer took the things we know and love about the written fairy tales as well as adding something new. We get a small glimpse at what after “Happily Ever After” is for Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty and I hope those get explored more in the rest of the series. There were a lot of touch and go moments, so I hope more depth is brought in as well. I just really enjoyed traveling through this world where fairy tales are real and actually happened and I’m always a sucker for brother/sister relationships. I loved the moments where Connor would stand up for his sister and others that needed help and I loved the moments where Alex would be excited and allowed to be a little girl and when her knowledge and compassion would come into play. I enjoyed all the little references to other fairy tales as Connor and Alex traveled through the Land of Stories and I can’t wait to see what other easter eggs are hidden in the rest of the books! I also liked how the Evil Queen was given a sympathetic back story, but it was emphasized that even though she had a sad life she still made bad choices. Of course this book had its predictable moments, but it isn’t really a fairy tale land if there isn’t some predictability. I’m excited to see what other fairy tales come into play in the later books and to see what happens to the ones that we’ve already been introduced to.