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The Land of Stories – Book 2 (The Enchantress Returns)

….previous (Book 1 – The Wishing Spell)

Book 2 – The Enchantress Returns

The evil Enchantress, who cursed Sleeping Beauty, is back with a vengeance. Can Alex and Conner Bailey save the fairy-tale world from the greatest threat it’s ever faced?

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Whee!!, I’ve just completed my second adventure in the Land of Stories, and I’m speechless! (that’s why I prefer writing right now.. 😀 ). Seriously now, I myself came to the conclusion that Chris Colfer didn’t get his praise for nothing. It was earned. And I can’t find enough words to describe how wonderful his story is!

IMG_2696The first part was so entertaining and so much fun, but I didn’t suspect it can get even better in the second part. I love his brilliant ideas, the fresh and cheerful mood of the story-line, spiced up so amazingly with deep insights on more serious life matters which all of us can easily relate to. And it feels so heartwarming to find yourself in there, in between the pages of the book, as if it directly talks to you, as if someone really knows the depths of your soul, yet it’s not there to judge you but rather to show you how much of an adventure life can be. There’s so much kindness in this book; he doesn’t avoid heavy topics nor negative events, but the way he dilutes violence reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. He simply doesn’t need heavy drama to make his story highly entertaining. No, sir. Chris is no drama llama writer. I just love it. His story is such a delight, it all falls together so smoothly and so perfect. He breaks the traditional, conservatory patterns of fairy-telling in such a mindful, considerate manner.

Chris is such an alchemist; he’s not set up to judge and condemn all evil, but rather to transform it into something good. He seems to know that evil can’t really be fought against, but rather integrated. He goes to the root of evilness, trying to unveil whatever has happened in the past of each villain, trying to figure out whether is there a way to save the day without hurting anyone in the process. I can relate so much to this.

IMG_2694I remember as a kid, I was scared of the fairy-tales villains; however, I wasn’t very much at ease reading about how they were defeated… I felt it was a bit disturbing to read about the wolf who was split open to death, or about the dragon who had its head cut off, or about an evil step-mother who was tortured in public.. In my heart, I wished that everyone who had done evil to simply repent and move on. That was my version of a happy-ending. I think that this is how kids really would like fairy-tales to end, because a pure, genuine child is not vengeful. But rarely do adults understand what’s going on in a child’s mind. However, some of them luckily do.

Now, I’m not saying that the whole story revolves around morally “educating” the villains and turning them into nice persons. Not at all. There’s a lot of fight going on and lots of adventure. Some might choose to change, while some others might choose not to. Just as in our world. We can make amazing things happen… but it’s always about our choice.

IMG_2687Now, there’s a side of me who is not all gumdrops and rainbows. This side kind of made me… well, cheer for the evil Enchantress at some point. That makes me wonder: would I turn into a villain if I were to find myself in a fairy-tale? Probably yes. (and then Chris would have to find a way to conciliate me).

Compared to Evly (Snow White’s stepmother), I felt that the Enchantress had more reasons to become revengeful. I mean… Snow White’s stepmother was simply jealous and that’s not enough to wish to kill a girl not once, but 3 times! I myself as a woman, felt the jealousy and bullying of some other women, and it’s not a pleasant feeling at all. I can’t be very sympathetic with female evilness. But at least Evly has her stone-heart issue. Understandable.

But I was able to relate to the Enchantress quite much, actually.. Maybe a bit too much. I was almost cheering for her at some point: “You go, girl!”. Especially when Charlotte behaved like such a brat when saying “No one ever had trouble loving me”, “Careful”, Ezmia warned her, “there’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity. Darn right, it is! The woman was just sharing her story of all those unfortunate relationships with people (which led her to misbehaving the way she did, but.. never mind that), and this chick over there was acting like a special snowflake “oh, too bad for you, ‘cause everybody loves me”.

Problem is.. you can give your heart out to people, and people may still trample all over you. And it’s not about you, it’s all about the people around you. Now, of course, it IS a defeat the moment you choose to take it further on innocent people. And it IS a defeat to let others mold you. But at the same time, it’s not an easy job to simply stay positive when you hurt inside. (and hurting alone!). You do feel the need to take your pride back, and that’s what the Enchantress had been trying to do, although she went way to extremes with it. She sort of lost her marbles.

I really loved this part, it’s so fully packed with sooo much adventure, it’s simply fascinating! I liked how the twins found the portal when they thought there was no portal left for them to get to the LOS. The quest for the Wand of Wonderment is incredible, so I’m not even going to reveal anything of what happens because it’s so much fun to be the one who unfolds the story.

IMG_2690If (in the previous part) my first impression of Red was “who on Earth in the Land of Stories is this cheeky troublemaker?”, now in the second part of the series I just fell in love with her character. The whole story wouldn’t be the same without her. I surely like her more than Goldilocks. And adopting Clawdius was super-hilarious.

I didn’t expect to like Bob, because.. I was able to relate so much to the kids and I know how such events feel like… Usually when a stranger pops up in your life because of some other member of your family, s/he is usually interested in that specific member of your family and doesn’t care about you at all. A little spoiler (written with the same color as the background, so if you want to see it, just select the white paragraph): But Bob was so cool. Although I expected him to suddenly turn into something horrible, to prove himself a traitor of some sort and then “bam!” to see him pulling the rug from under everyone’s feet, he instead turned into a very cute and reliable character (his credit card was particularly reliable). He didn’t pretend to like the rest of Charlotte’s family for Charlotte’s sake, but his kindness and gracefulness were all authentic, and he truly cared for the whole family.

My heart felt a bit heavy when thinking about the Harp. She was always sooo lonely that my heart ached. It was as if everyone was living in a complete different world and there was no one to share hers. I’m not going to reveal what happens with her, so you better find out yourself. 🙂

IMG_2685I’ll also let you find out all by yourself what happens with Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Lady Iris, and her daughters- Petunia and Rosemary. Well… bad (or better said, toxic..?) people exist and not all of them have a valid explanation behind their actions. But I think the author did well with… customizing the after-story of the wicked stepmother & her daughters. However, I do remember about his customization of Hansel & Gretel story, and that one didn’t thrilled me that much because I found it rather sad, especially because Hansel & Gretel used to be one of my favorite stories as a child, and I longed for that bond that the brothers had despite all the hardship… He did, however, pulled out something good out of it. But still, man…

I want a Mirror of Truth! At least a tiny piece of it! I wonder how I’d look in it! Would it make me justice?.. 😀

The author’s sense of humor is delightful and entertaining, and I enjoy the way he weaves the fairy-tale thread into our world. This second part of the series is a lot about bullying and terror, but also about bravery and choices.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: you’re gonna meet the Snow Queen in her ice-land Palace and the Sea Witch underwater, you’re gonna explore the Giant’s castle among the clouds, fly with a balloon and oh-so-many more adventures! So… considering on how much stuff you’ve got to do, buddy, I advise you start your journey right away, ‘cause you ain’t got time to lose. The Enchantress’ curse is swallowing the Fairytale World with its deadly vines and the only way to stop her is to put together the magic Wand of Wonderment.

To be continued…

“But anyone can write, right?”, Conner asked. “I mean, that’s why authors get judged so harshly, isn’t it? Because technically everyone could do it if they wanted to”.

“Just because anyone can do something doesn’t mean everyone should”, Ms. Peters said. “Besides, anyone with an internet connection feels they have the credentials to critique or belittle anything these days.”

“Having something worth telling and a passion to tell is what make you a good writer”.

“Success can scar you as much as failure”.

“So many girls, especially in my world, are so insecure and jealous. We rely so much on one another, but we’re so mean to each other at the same time. We could use more women like you to look up to”.

“Jealousy is just a reminder of the frustrations you have with yourself. Who has time to only concentrate on that?”

“Find out what your sword is – find your own advantage – and wear it proudly. Beat those girls at their own game by seeming perfectly content in your own life”.

“You went through all of that for mom?”

“Of course. I would walk to the ends of the world if I had to – any world. But not just your mom, for you as well”.

“I hate you so much right now”, Conner said between heavy pants.

“That’s funny, because I’ve never loved you more”, Alex said with a big smile and rolled over to give her brother a big hug.

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