My Rating: 5 Stars
I can’t get enough of the Land of Stories and the adventures of Alex and Connor Bailey!
After the battle, the Masked Man is on the loose. Driven by her need to find and discover the identity and plans of the villain, Alex ends up being thrown off the Fairy Council since no one believes they’re in danger. Together, Connor and Alex discover that the Masked Man is in possession of a potion turns books into portals and that he’s recruiting an army of villains to conquer the Land of Stories. In a race beyond the kingdoms and between worlds, can the twins catch up to the Masked Man and stop him before his plans complete?
In the fourth instalment of The Land of Stories series, emotions run high. The plot is very compelling and engaging, turning and twisting which is great. It’s also very easy to follow and, together with the amazing writing style, I fell in love with new characters and their respective worlds. On the contrary of the other novels, this one starts off with a really bad beginning. Everything goes wrong: Alex is kicked out of the Fairy Council and even her own twin doesn’t believe there is a reason to fear; and the Masked Man reaches out to other classic villains like the Wicked Witch, Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts. But even so, they manage to hold on to hope and, with a little help of Mother Goose, their motivation.
The characters keep growing in this book and it’s amazing to see, especially with Alex. She goes from child to teenager trying to deal with her growing powers and her unstable emotions while trying to protect the people she cares about. Everyone has moments where they think the world is against them and Alex struggles to both fit into the magical world and still be herself. I was pleasantly surprised to see her chemistry with Arthur; He was able to show Alex that she isn’t the only one that feels the way she does and actually offers advice that comes from the heart and from experience itself. In the end, it was his help that gave Alex the push she needed. Connor is still funny but I have more problems observing his growth as a character. Mother Goose also grew in as a character; she admitted her mistakes and finally has the courage to follow her heart and not the rules of the fairies.
Another great novel by Chris Colfer!
My Rating: 5 Stars
This collection is definitely one of my favourites so I finally decided to sit down and write the reviews for the books I’ve so far. The sequel to The Wishing Spell is just as good as the first.
A year after their first adventure in the Land of Stories, the life of Alex and Connor Bailey is as normal as it can possibly get. But peace or boredom isn’t meant to last forever and their world takes a turn for the worse when their mother is kidnapped. Knowing the twins well enough, their grandmother sets a tight security around them to protect them and to avoid their interference. Of course, that doesn’t stop Alex and Connor from finding a way into the Land of Stories and from starting a journey to put an end to the reign of terror of the evil Enchantress.
The style of writing is amazing and very engaging. I could read a certain maturity, it’s like the author grows with the twins. I appreciate the evolution and how the conversations between characters are more mature but at the same time, there is no loss of humour and wittiness.
The setting of the novel is just as colourful and captivating as before and I was glad to explore it in more detail together with the heroes and villains. I took my time to appreciate the villains, their personalities and background stories since they are an essential part of this world and how the plot develops. I’m not sure I should call them villains though because one of the lesson’s Colfer teaches the reader in this sequel is that everyone is both good and evil and no one is evil without a reason. Like in our world, good and evil are part of life and one can’t be without the other much like without fear there would be no courage. Furthermore, I admire the way the author mixes all the fairytales and ends up with the perfect cocktail of magic and storyline.
The storyline follows the same line as the first novel but, for me, it wasn’t predictable what would happen next. I think that in this instalment, the journey is more about relationships and growth than the collection of magical artefacts. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, but I think Colfer wanted to show that in the end, just magic doesn’t cut it, it’s about friendship and trust.
There is a greater character development in this novel. Colfer reimagines the characters that all fairytale lovers know and gave them a unique voice and personality. I particularly like Goldilocks, a complete badass and Red, for her hilarious personality and responses to Goldilocks. Who knew that Little Red Ride Hood could hold such a grudge? Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to like all the characters and really feel for the Enchantress.
A great sequel to a great collection that I can’t recommend highly enough for children and adults alike!
My Rating: 5 Stars
I’m fully aware that I’m reading this collection backwards, but I honestly say that it doesn’t make a difference to me. These tiny books are a treasure and it’s a true pleasure to read them no matter in which order I receive them. Beauty Within is just as good as Poor Unfortunately Souls and I would give it more stars if I could.
You think you know the story of the selfish, arrogant and proud prince that got cursed to live as a beast until he found true love and has loved in return? Think again. In this novel, you will have a glimpse at the past of a prince that is the fruit of privilege, richness but also loneliness and superficiality.
I fell completely in love with this perspective of the story of the Beast. The story-line is very well-developed and the style of writing is as beautiful as always. I really felt like I got to know Beast a bit better and to understand him in a level that the Disney version didn’t allow me to. It’s different, powerful and a bit scary. I couldn’t imagine that Miss Valentino could come up with such a version of the punishment that Prince Adam goes through before the curse is complete. I will not give any spoilers, but I can tell you the punishment is slow, painful and has a psychological side to it that is both perfect and a bit cruel. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s very efficient.
Like I wrote on my previous review of “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, villains aren’t born evil; there are circumstances outside their control, the environment they spend their childhoods in that shape who they become in the future. In the real world, we do bad choices and chose wrong paths but in the end we learn from our mistakes and just like the Beast, the thing we fear the most is unjust and cruel judgement.
A great book that I highly recommend to all the fairytale-fans out there!
My Rating: 5 Stars
It seems I started in the middle with this series, but I regret nothing. Little Mermaid is one of all-time favourite Disney film and Ursula definitely one of the best villains, so of course this book is a must-have! The best part? It wasn’t disappointing, quite the opposite: unpredictable, heartfelt and very addictive!
This novel tells the story of Ursula, the most feared sea witch of all time and her journey to becoming the villain so known and terrifying in the sea world. Haunted by her past, fuelled by hatred you’ll take a ride to the depths of the witch's' heart and beware, it’s a wild ride.
I loved this novel! It was amazing to see her story from the beginning and how it intertwines with the story of Ariel and scenes from the film; To read “Poor Unfortunate Souls” while reading Ursula’s line of thought gave me goosebumps! This story gives depth to the villain and proves that no one is born evil. Being left in a state of fear, loneliness and rejection, turned Ursula to the path of hatred; so strong that she has no chance at redemption.
I couldn’t help but feel for her and understand why she is the way she is. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but she has one or two good reasons to be the way she is and to seek revenge, even if I know that it isn’t the answer to the problem. I also could help but wish that the story ended differently and that her fate wasn’t the one we’re all familiar with.
My first read by Ms Serena Valentino and it’s my pleasure to highly recommend this book to any Disney villain fans out there! Can’t wait for the next volumes to arrive!
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.