Note: Unfortunately (and for some reason I do not know), Nemira Publishing House had discontinued the publishing of the Land of Stories series in Romanian. They only published the first book and that was it. I hate that when it happens. So, now I got the whole series in English. From now on, I won’t buy translated series unless they’re complete.
a little bit of…: Introduction
So… I’ve just completed my first journey to The Land of Stories. I’m now in a hurry to jump into my second adventure on this realm, but first I’m gonna tell you a little bit of how I got there in the first place.
First things first. When I got these books, I had no idea who the writer was. I only read a short synopsis of the series and I thought it was worth buying it since I’m so much into fantasy literature, especially children literature. I also enjoyed The 10th Kingdom and I thought they might be somehow similar. Well, the only thing The Land of Stories has in common with The 10th Kingdom is that they both connect reality with the fairy-tale world and that they both take stories further aback & further ahead of what we already know about our favorite fairy-tale characters. Compared to The 10th Kingdom, I’d say that The Land of Stories is more suitable for children, because the whole action develops around two 13 years old kids. Both series are wonderful though, in their unique way.
I’m always curious to read a few reviews before buying a book. I know that people are all so different and they see things through various perspectives, so it’s difficult to trust any of it without solid arguments or examples. I’ve read some reviews of people whining that the writing is so simple and what-not. I even read the review of a lady complaining about the morals of the story, apparently concerned that the scene where Alex cheats on her teacher in order to help her brother pass the test might negatively impact her kids (..and turn them into some future delinquents?..). Well, dude, if any of you happen to have kids who never cheat in school, then you should indeed be a little bit concerned. And whoever claims s/he never cheated in school (or at least wished & planned to), shall be smacked in the head with an 800 pages’ worth dictionary. There were also complains about the language..? The language is perfectly fine, so chill out. I mean, if you have a kid who stumbles upon the word “shucks” and then suddenly gets traumatized and goes around cursing and hurting people, then again, you have one hell of a child. I simply start to think that some parents go a bit to extremes with their parenthood ideals.
So… is this story a simple writing? Yes, it is. (update after just finished the 3rd part: no, it is not). Does this book read a bit like a screenplay? Probably. (update after finishing the 3rd part: no, it does not. Only the 1st part sounds a bit too simple, but the rest of them get more & more complex as they advance further into the story). Was this story fun and enjoyable? Heck, YEA! It was even more than fun, it was delightful, it was beautiful and it was MAGIC.
You know, I recently reviewed Cornelia Funke’s Mirrorworld and she’s without a doubt one of my favorite writers, I’ve always praised her rich & descriptive writing. Cornelia’s writing style is more like a.. rich, tasty pizza, with a delicious crispy crust loaded with juicy, fresh vegetables of the most appetizing kind, perfectly seasoned and spicy here and there where you least expect it, covered all over with the freshest mozzarella topping that makes you mouthwatering as you see it stretching when you grab your hot slice. Well… Chris’ writing style is rather like a downright delicious fruity cocktail which looks absolutely cute and bright colored and makes your soul sigh with a cozy heavenly feeling as you feel it quenching your thirst for something simple, fresh and delightful. Or maybe like a molten lava cake, filled with intense flavored hot chocolate and seasoned with creamy vanilla ice-cream topped off with strawberries and raspberries all over it. You get the idea. Quite simple, but it makes you smile from ear to ear! I do love pizza quite a lot, but… I just need some fruits and cakes to make the day perfect. 🙂
I was never able to understand how some people could be so aggressive and rude when reviewing a book. I mean, you may not like it, or you may even find it appalling in some way, but… does it really need to hate on it that much? I admit that there have been some books which I could just not swallow, but it takes quite a lot for a book to get me angry enough to completely reject it. Even then, I wouldn’t find it easy to criticize it. I’m sure that The Land of Stories may not be the cup of tea for everybody and it’s quite normal to be so. But I had a hard time to understand the heavy criticism of certain (and rather very few!) people. After reading the book, going through the mean comments seemed quite hilarious because they made no sense whatsoever. It seemed to me that the random heavy criticism was rather a personal attack against its author rather than reviews. That made me want to do a research about the author, whom I knew nothing about.
Well… what I found is that Chris Colfer is quite a strong and inspiring young man, but for some reason his lifestyle may not comply with the policy of the Abrahamic religions that some people are very fond of, and hence such people perceive Chris as a threat to their righteous families. They somehow feel as if they have the “duty” to keep children away from any possible “threats”, and that is, the “threat” of being who you are. As for me, I admit that I find Chris to be inspiring; he inspires me to believe in myself that I am strong enough to go through all the pain I feel sometimes. He proved that we can turn pain and escapism into something beautiful and magic. He’s an alchemist, as I like to call such people… who have the wit and will to turn something bad into something beautiful.
In my opinion, it is a bit hard to find a good storyteller. I find one once in a blue moon. And it happened that we did have blue moon recently. So that’s how I found Chris Colfer. It’s amazing that someone can write such a masterpiece at such a young age, it’s just incredible.
Thanks, Chris, for giving us such a wonderful gift. My soul felt almost literally hungry for such an adventure. To be honest, it really helps me on my daily basis… to have a place where I can escape to, a place where I can make anything possible. I was saturated with the grey colors in which (my) reality was painted. But reality is often what we make it, and I guess that my palette desperately needed a refill of bright colors.
The Land of Stories oficial website – a place where you can find lots of info about LOS (it looks awesome!).
Book 1 – The Wishing Spell
When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: The Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real. The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?
I like the way Chris empowers the characters that people usually expect the least of. You can be a very strong person despite the fact that a fragile and childish look is all that people can see in you. A straightforward person is not always mean, just as a forever-smiling person is not always benevolent. Also, being young or a child doesn’t mean you’re also immature. There are so many preconceptions that are still lingering in the world, and Chris gracefully weaves new refreshing perspectives into his wonderful stories.
I know how it’s like to the see struggle of a single parent who’s medical assistant and who has to work night-shifts. It was easy to relate to the kids, but Alex & Connor have very different personalities, therefore it’s easy for any reader to relate to one of them, if not to both of them. They are both so delightful, I just can’t get enough of them. Alex’s enthusiastic nature is balanced so well with her brother’s healthy sarcasm.
I like how Chris emphasized on each fairy-tale character’s strong point instead of simply chopping their reputation as others had done in their attempt to re-invent old stories. I did feel a bit of annoyance about the Red Riding Hood adulthood at first, but then I had to admit to myself that it was actually fun, and whatever bothered me at first about her, I actually started to love later on. Too much convention could only make a story boring. I also loved the way he pulled through with the little mermaid’s story; I felt as if he did justice to her. The author manages to maintain such a healthy balance between good and bad in the fairy-tale world. We can’t have good without the bad, we can’t have happy endings without quite an adventure to go through… and yet the story-line makes you so often wonder “oh, but what if… what if..?”. It does keep you on your toes.
The Wishing Spell is packed with great adventures, and it’s only the first book out of 6 wonderful books that shall grant you access to a magical World. What i like the most about this series is that it does FEEL magic. Even after you put the book aside, the feeling stays with you, as if it’s enchanted.
Before he died, my friend told me “Life itself is magic, and although you might not believe it, try to at least live it as if it’s magic”. He said that it was an Einstein quote (aren’t they all..?). Ever since then his words stayed with me because his words opened a door through which I can step up and look for him. It makes me feel that he’s closer than I think, and that there is so much more than meets the eye. He was right.
I definitely recommend the series and although i don’t use to re-read books, I’m sure I’m gonna read this series again. And again.
“Does it ever get frightening living here and knowing that at any moment a fairy could fly by and grant you a wish, or an ogre could run up and eat you?
Smithers looked at her curiously: does such a place exist where people can’t unexpectedly be helped or hurt?”
…and now on to the Book 2 (The Enchantress Returns) review… —>
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