The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

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TLOS review

Post  fantastica on 6/29/2012, 2:39 am

Paulo: since you are hte first one among us to have this book, and it's been many many many days since you got it, and it's a short book lasting about half a day, please give us a reivew of some sort, and do not post any spoilers!

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  paulopf on 6/29/2012, 6:18 pm

fantastica wrote:Paulo: since you are hte first one among us to have this book, and it's been many many many days since you got it, and it's a short book lasting about half a day, please give us a reivew of some sort, and do not post any spoilers!

"A long time"? Don't make me feel like a lazy ass. I just got it last Saturday and I've read more than a half of it! And how am I going to give a proper review without posting quotes and spoilers???
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Emile on 6/29/2012, 7:22 pm

paulopf wrote:And how am I going to give a proper review without posting quotes and spoilers???
Find a way. mrgreen

No, wasn't serious or maybe I was; I just don't think that for now you should worry about doing a perfect review, it will be appreciated in any case.

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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Jellyrolls on 7/17/2012, 2:19 pm

I thought it would be nice for us to have a discussion thread for the book for those of us who have read or are reading it. Please share your thoughts, ask questions, and discuss the book here!

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  FunnyLady on 7/17/2012, 2:26 pm

Jellyrolls wrote:I thought it would be nice for us to have a discussion thread for the book for those of us who have read or are reading it. Please share your thoughts, ask questions, and discuss the book here!

I envy you so much!!! You can buy the book today!! But I won´t wait till it comes out in Czech republic, I´m going to order The Land of Stories from UK, so I hope I can soon share my opinions.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/17/2012, 11:04 pm

I am busy so I have only read 18% of the book (my kindle version only gives percentages, not page numbers). so far so good. remind me of Narnia's magic wardrobe thingie.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Divalicious on 7/18/2012, 2:17 am

Being the impatient person I am, and although I do have the book and the audiobook coming,I just went ahead and bought the book on my Nook. I've read the first chapter now. I am a book snob, and will try to hold most of the book until I have the hardback. But supporting Chris is worth multiple copies.

It does lack some polish, but it is very visual. I can just "see" this as if it were a film. I like his descriptions of people, especially where students thought the teacher's hair might be a hat. That is just the thing kids would think of, to be honest, sometimes my mind still would go there.

I like the flaws that he has written for Snow White, that she was more aware of what her stepmother was doing than has been shown in the animations. She let her stepmother do things because deep down she was trying to understand why she was doing what she did. She seems to have Kurt levels of forgiveness. Razz The stepmother having a real heart of stone is interesting. It shows I need to check out my Grimm's, because I don't know if that is Chris, or true to the fable.

I am surprised that the word bastardized was okayed for a young persons book. I guess as long as two boys aren't kissing, you have a little more leeway.

A promising first book, and it is terribly exciting knowing there are two more coming, one with these same characters. I have always been a fantasy buff, and look forward to finishing this book.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/18/2012, 5:00 pm

i haven't finished reading yet, but i just want to make some comments. i remember reading earlier responses based on leaked tit bits from the first chapter that Alex sounds too mature for her age. actually she doesn't. She is almost 12 (and soon hits 12 in the second or third chapter) and by then most girls have reached puberty and have probably stop growing vertically already and are no longer "children".

only a few chapters in and I must say this book is VERY chris.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 7/18/2012, 5:06 pm

I plan on buying both book and the audiobook soon. I am looking forward to reading and listening to the audiobook.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  tanita_mors on 7/19/2012, 4:12 am

I have it !!!!!!!!!!!!!
If anyone who wants an ebook copy, send me a PM.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/21/2012, 4:28 pm

i am more than 1/3 way into hte book and really love it. will talk more later.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  valkeakuulas on 7/21/2012, 4:36 pm

The twins just entered the Charming Kingdom in my reading prosess and the story starts to really pick up. So far I've enjoyed tremendously of all the female characters that have been in the book so far. I mean Huntress has only been seen once so far and hopefully she'll be seen again. I really like, no I love Alex, she is a fantastic character.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/21/2012, 5:11 pm

^ haha, we are ariving at the same point!

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  tanita_mors on 7/21/2012, 7:51 pm

I've just gone throw the prologue. There is a very modern feel and use of language in it and I guess the book as a whole. While the older readers may find it sort of simplified, I think that the intended audience will love it more because of it. This book can very well connect to a child. I agree with Karen that there are some strange editing choices in it, on 2 places in the prologue alone that sort of bothered me.
Spoiler:

"the stepmother said, and turned to look at her stepdaughter." - it feels redundant to mention both stepmother and stepdaughter
"You spent more time with strangers with anti-aging methods than you did with your own daughter." - to use "with" one after another in secession sounds wrong to my ears
I would have worded it differently, but it's really just a little nitpick. On the whole, so far so good. I'm having a strange desire to record myself reading this book.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  tanita_mors on 7/21/2012, 8:18 pm

The second chapter is phenomenal.
Spoiler:
“You know what your dad would say if he were here?” Mrs. Bailey asked the twins. “He’d say, ‘Right now, we’re living in an ugly chapter of our lives, but books always get better!’ ”
crycry
Once you get used to the writing style, the book sure is very engaging.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/21/2012, 9:07 pm

wait til go to the 5th chapter (or 4th? I lost count of it...) anyway wait til the evil queen shows up again... that's when it really really gets EXCITING!

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  kac on 7/21/2012, 10:06 pm

I am listening to the audio version as I go to bed at night, I am up to disc 4, almost halfway through, it is quite delightful! It is like someone telling you bedtime stories.

I have some thoughts about some details, I can hardly wait to see if I am correct. How lucky are we to get Chris himself reading his story, sigh.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/21/2012, 10:11 pm

well, thoughts are highly individualistic. you don't have to have someone else agree w/ you. neutre

I don't always agree w/ everybody else's. I will write about my opinion when I am completely done. I don't think it's fair to judge it before i am through w/ the whole thing.

one thing is certain - whether it's movies or books, chris colfer's own projects are always entertaining. now you can dislike his styles, approaches, techniques or simply his view of hte world, but he definitely made entertaining his audiences/readers a priority.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  kac on 7/21/2012, 10:17 pm

Just a thought, I really think the audio version is great because Chris is interpreting the voices of the characters the way he intended. That is a big plus for me.

I think the twins are great characters, very well done. A little bit of stereotyping, the brainy girl and the underachieving sarcastic brother, but they feel quite real and the characterization does go beyond this.

I am trying to avoid posting spoilers for people who haven't got too far yet.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  brisallie on 7/22/2012, 2:34 am

I just started to read the book some hours ago and currently I'm in chapter 2. I'd say that my fist impression of Alex if she reminds me so much Hermione from HP, an intelligent girl who's a bookworm and is the first one in the class but deeply she felt alone; also she reminds me my childhood somehow. Conner, since the beginning he put a smile on my face, I think he's intelligent too, but I think the word "witty" fits better to describe him.

Until now it has been mostly an introduction to the story to understand what's have been through the twins's life, personally I'm eager for the adventure but the way Chris has described everything it has make the time elapse faster for me, probably because the writing style is focused on children , and I have read some phrases that're very Chris. So I could say that my only problem has been the vocabulary; I only understand the umm 90%.


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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/22/2012, 8:53 am

I finished the book yesterday. I had one of those 'focused on reading a book to the exclusion of all other activities' moments. It's been a while since I last had one, and I miss the feeling. It's a good feeling neutre

Before I say anything about TLOS, bear in mind that I've mainly read adult fantasy/sci-fi, so it's quite difficult for me not to hold TLOS to a higher standard (and unfairly so, I know). Out of all the children fantasy books I've read, I've only been impressed by Neil Gaiman's 'The Graveyard Book', but that was (a) Neil Gaiman and (b) a Young Adult book. So... now what did I want to say in this round-about way of mine again? Oh, I just want to say that if I make any somewhat critical comments about TLOS, it's because I'm incapable of judging it as a children's book (which is totally a fault of me as a reader, and not the book).

General impression: It's a good book. It makes the reader think. It reignites the reader's interest in stories, and fairy tales and the lessons they teach. Chris wanted the book to entertain, and it really does. Chris's wit and sense of humour shines through in the book, mainly through the mouth piece of Conner Bailey (who, btw, is my favourite character of the book).

I think I understand what Chris meant by this book being a small piece of his soul. The Bailey twins may reflect different sides of Chris's own personality, but I find that one of the vilains in the book shares the same wisdom (acquired from hard and bitter experiences) as Chris. There had been words in the book that made me think 'This sounds a lot like how I imagine Chris really feels or thinks.' Of course , I'm making my own assumptions here, but let's see if anyone else here agrees with this assessment:

- "Every driven person comes from a mountain of pain they wish to keep hidden."
- "It's easier to hate, blame and fear than it is to understand."
Also, I wonder whether the thing about baskets is Chris's way of making a reference to the numerious llamas he's getting in real life Smile

The characters in the book who seemed to have the most 'chemistry' together would be Alex and Conner, and (surprisingly) Goldilocks and Red. I just love reading about their interactions. I find the twins' almost offhand display of sibling love and willingness to sacrifice for each other quite touching at parts (e.g. when Connor nearly brained his scary teacher with a book to distract her from Alex)

The various princesses in the story seem to be less-well-defined in their personalities (because, let's face it, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella are generally 'nice, friendly, compassionate and beautiful' women in the fairy tales, so there is very little leeway when it comes to shaping their characters)

Now for the less-than-positive views of the book:

As sparkysparky had mentioned before, Chris sometimes wrote in different POVs in the same pararaph, most noticeably in:

'Mrs. Bailey loved her job and loved taking care of children at the hospital, but hated that it took time away from her own. In a way, the twins felt they had lost both their parents after their dad's death.'

There are quite a few lessons/morals in this book all right, which Chris had alluded to in his interviews. I find that the delivery of them can sometimes be a bit too heavy-handed, but I think this is probably necessary for readers who are children.

The 'weak' points in the book for me would have to be the fight scenes, which I have difficulty visualising with the simple descriptions Chris had written. But then again, being a children's book, Chris probably couldn't use a lot of descriptions such as 'disembowel' and 'smash its teeth in' and 'blood fountained out of the gaping wound'. It's all very PG-13. tonguue

And then there's this (possible) hole in the plot-- Why did the Evil Queen not use the mirror earlier to find a way to break the curse?

Ah yes, I think too much sometimes. ooppss
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/22/2012, 9:04 am

fantastica wrote:i haven't finished reading yet, but i just want to make some comments. i remember reading earlier responses based on leaked tit bits from the first chapter that Alex sounds too mature for her age. actually she doesn't. She is almost 12 (and soon hits 12 in the second or third chapter) and by then most girls have reached puberty and have probably stop growing vertically already and are no longer "children".

^ Oh! And I agree with the above point.

12 year old girls can be very mature, and the lesson the teacher gave in the first chapter isn't that 'age-inappropriate' after all.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/22/2012, 11:51 am

despite their stated age, many readers assumed they are "children" and therefore in their mind probably envisioned them to be 7-8.

I know when I was 12 I have long reached my mature height and 2 yrs past my puberty and many assumed I was almost 18. boys however usually lag behind girls in maturation, which is not a "stereotype" but just a biological fact. While some boys that age started to have signs of voice change some still sound like little boys w/ high voices.

one thing that stood out from the book is how self-aware chris is of his own high pitched voice. he apologizes often in public events to people who may not know him (like in BEA event) that when he gets excited he would sound high pitched. I think throughout his life too many people have asked him what's wrong w/ his voice so his awareness is totaly understandable, and honestly i feel quite sad about it. in the book he used hte word "high pitched.." many times - probably more than he should (could replace it w/ other words like "shreaking") and everytime I see these 2 words it reminds me of how much his voice had brought him pain and embarassement over the years. sigh...

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ColferGirl on 7/22/2012, 1:48 pm

Delight wrote:
Before I say anything about TLOS, bear in mind that I've mainly read adult fantasy/sci-fi, so it's quite difficult for me not to hold TLOS to a higher standard (and unfairly so, I know). I just want to say that if I make any somewhat critical comments about TLOS, it's because I'm incapable of judging it as a children's book (which is totally a fault of me as a reader, and not the book).

You have no idea how relieved I am that you wrote this....I actually started a post about my thoughts on the book last Thursday, since I finished reading it quickly, but I had several critical comments about it so I was afraid to post my opinion...and you posting yours made me feel better about posting mine. (I have the self-confidence of an ant unsure )

I'm an English major in college with an emphasis on creative writing....and my opinions are often colored by what I've learned in classes, so sometimes I sound more critical (about literature) than I mean to. I want to be a writer myself, so books are serious business for me. Every writer I know says to become one, you must write and read voraciously. I took that to heart ever since I heard Stephen King say it, so I've read countless books across most genres and for various ages...so I, too, have an unfairly high standard.

But I finished The Land of Stories Wednesday night, and started listening to the audiobook version Thursday at work (got through the first 3 hours). Overall I really liked the book. I felt the first 70 or so pages were rather slow (basically all the parts in the real world), but the story picked up considerably once the twins actually fall into the storybook.

Spoilers ahoy from this point! (For those not done yet)

I loved Chris's spin on many of the fairytale characters, and liked that he approached it from a "What happens after for these characters?" standpoint rather than having the twins live through rehashes of the original tales in their original timelines. The love triangle with Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, and Jack was by far my favorite part of the book, and Goldilocks herself was my favorite character overall. Goldilocks isn't often spun into new tales or given a fresh take (for example, the tv show Once Upon A Time, which is also about all the classic fairytales but brought to a modern day setting, doesn't include her), so I love that Chris not only incorporated her in his story, but gave such a fun, strong, different spin to her. The same goes for Red Riding Hood, and how he decided to give her a much more negative, selfish, self-absorbed persona than you'd think based on the classic tale.

The plot itself was fun and engaging, if very straightforward. Chapter by chapter the twins not only enter a new realm of The Land of Stories, but usually obtain the item they need for the Wishing Spell by the end of said chapter before moving onto the next realm to get the next item. I'm used to reading novels that are much more complex and spend much more time developing singular scenes before so quickly progressing to the next main plot event, but there's nothing wrong with the very "point A to point B" way Chris wrote this, persay. It just makes the story very plot-driven, as opposed to character-driven. On that note, while the characters were all very fanciful and entertaining on a base level, there wasn't much character development. At least in my opinion. I felt the Alex who fell into the book was very much the same Alex that returned home at the end, and the same for Conner. They may have learned some morals, but they didn't have a huge impact on the characters or changed them in a significant way - there wasn't much of an emotional journey. (At most, the pain of losing their father was eased by the revelation of who he was.) Instead most of the focus was on the adventure and the creativity of Chris's enjoyable and often amusing take on these fairytales, but using Alex and Conner as our avatars to traverse the tale. Because of this, I felt more swept up by the fun of the journey than truly feeling for or connecting with these characters.

Despite saying that, I did find myself unexpectedly moved by Evly's (the Evil Queen's) incredibly tragic backstory toward the end of the book. I even teared up over it. The final image of her sobbing over her dead lover's body as the Magic Mirror crashes over them and shatters into millions of pieces is a haunting moment I'll never forget. I really liked her character and the motivations and background Chris gave to her, and how the Magic Mirror ended up being her lover, and I especially liked the twist that she got to use the Wishing Spell for herself (so technically, the villain succeeded in this story in a way...to be followed by greater tragedy).

I also liked that Chris remained very faithful to the originals of these fairytales and their traditional intents. I love The Little Mermaid, but most people only know her tale through Disney, and are completely unaware that her true story is rather tragic and ends with her dying and turning to sea foam. When she appeared in Chris's book in her sea foam form, and when the dagger she was given to kill the prince was one of the items used for the Wishing Spell, I was incredibly happy. Some may find the many morals he sprinkled pointedly throughout the tale preachy, but I didn't mind it simply because the original fairytales were meant to teach morals, so it simply felt true to their origin for me. But, somewhat contradictory, I also liked how different the fairytales were by how Chris expanded and fused their worlds together into one continent.

True to Chris's charisma and witty self, I found myself laughing or smiling through several parts of the story. Conner himself was amusing with his constant sarcasm, but I found some aspects of the fairytale world itself charming as well as funny; the silver star designating the exact place where Cinderella's shoe fell on the palace steps, like a Hollywood walk of fame star; the many Prince Charmings all being brothers, thus the same last name; the Wanted: Dead or Alive poster for Goldilocks; the very idea of the Happily Ever After Assembly and C.R.A.W.L., etc.

However, there was definitely some flaws, and most of them were on a technical level. If Chris was ever to be made aware of these mistakes either through a formal writing class or a future editor, he could easily fix them (in fact, I'm really confused as to why his editor for this book didn't bother to point out these mistakes to him). He sometimes had very strange usages of italics for emphasis in words or even entire sentences - this is okay in moderation, but he overdid it at times or chose to use it oddly; there were several awkward point of view shifts, meaning you had one character POV in a paragraph that changed to character B's POV in the next paragraph and back to character A's POV by the third paragraph; there were instances of repetitious language; there's some unnecessary dialogue attributers. His writing style was simultaneously very visual and empty of detail at points; sometimes I could picture something perfectly (Froggy's house, the perspiration dripping down the glass of the Magic Mirror), or not at all (Goldilock's fight scene with the Huntress).

His unpolished writing took me out of the story several times, but overall I truly did like the book. It's not one of the best I've ever read, but I did genuinely enjoy it. I look forward to seeing how Chris's writing style develops and changes and gets more polished with subsequent books (and better editors!). I'm definitely excited for the sequel, and I hope we get to see more adventures with Goldilocks and Jack on the run. I'd also love to know if Evly survived the mirror crashing somehow, and if the Huntress is still alive - I thought the Huntress was awesome, and I'll be sad if she's dead already, because I'd love to see her again and learn more about her. (oooo, and I'd also like to see Alex and Conner explore their fairy origins, because they might have some hidden powers! fanny2 )

As for the audiobook, I second whomever said it was delightful. It really is - in fact, I've enjoyed the book for a second time through Chris's audio telling of it even more than I did just reading it on my own. Chris really tried his hardest to give each and every character a unique voice, and his hard work definitely paid off. I've been really impressed so far (granted, I don't normally listen to audiobooks, so maybe all of them make the effort to have each character have a separate voice?). His voices for the Magic Mirror and the Evil Witch at the gingerbread house are my favorites so far, I never thought I'd hear either of those voices ever come out of Chris's mouth, and when they did I was so surprised and happy that my grin practically split my face, I was smiling so hard. Smile
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  kac on 7/22/2012, 3:30 pm

So I have finished the book, fun in the fluffy way. Keeping in mind, it is for children, not for us adults, and I do believe it works in that way. It does start off a little slow, but you need the background. Exposition is never really the most fun thing, but Chris did a good enough job there.



SPOILERS AHEAD.




So I figured out the grandmother/father connection to the Land of Stories (as soon as the story of the journal writer was told), I didn't see Froggy's true identity though (I liked the "husband material" line by Red Riding Hood).

It was fun to see what was imagined as the happily ever after stories for different characters. I liked some of the throw away lines about characters like the Bo Peep farms and the fertilizer comments for example. Always with the little reminders of other stories and nursery rhymes.

I liked the two "lovers kept apart stories", they had satisfying resolutions, even if the Evil Queen's was quite sad. Humanizing her was interesting, I like multi dimensional bad guys.

It was simplistically written, but once again, it's for children. Some things were telegraphed (like breaking the shell necklace, knew that had to happen). Sometimes the resolutions for problems were too convenient, but hey, again, it is for children.

Overall I liked it, it was fun. Now, keep in mind, I went the audio book route, so it might have been a different experience than reading the book in print.
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