Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsPerfect for a YOUNGER audience!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 18, 2012
First I must say that I did enjoy this book. It is a wonderful, fantastical story involving many colorful fairy tale characters living all in one world after their "Happily Ever After"s. BUT, it was definitely too young of a read for me. I do understand that a 23 year old man is not the target audience, though.
I can see how Chris Colfer has been working on this since he was young. The world has depth, with many of the kingdoms ruled by a traditional fairy tale princess. Reading this book reminded me of so many books, as well as other media from my childhood. The twins, Alex and Connor, as well as their storybook reminded me of the kids from The Magic Tree House series. Harry Potter also came to mind, although this book isn't as well structured. Warriors of Virtue and other fantasy 90's children's films where kids are thrust into magical worlds also came to mind. Something from my early childhood that this book reminded me of was the Wee Sing VHS tapes. One of my favorite computer game series as a child was King's Quest. Many nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters are in both of these. This book especially reminded me of King's Quest because of the list of items they needed to collect to complete the Wishing Spell. On that same note, there is a game called Enchanted Forest that has a similar theme of collecting storybook characters' items. Since Chris Colfer is around my age, I wonder if any of these things actually did inspire him.
This book is a very easy read. Many of the big revelations were very predictable. I thought everything in the story was too easy for the twins. I wish there would have been more difficult hardships and conflicts to conquer. At some points the story was unusually dark. There were some deaths in which no repercussions were mentioned. I wanted to see more of the wolves' stories. They were seen as merely bad guys. I wanted more depth. Red Riding Hood's Kingdom is surrounded by a wall discriminating against all wolves of all shapes and colors. I thought this was going to lead to a message about not generalizing groups of people, but that never came. The story is generic, but what really pulled me in was the rich characters and the rich world they inhabit. Colfer took a clever take on many of the well known fairy tale characters.
My favorite character was the Evil Queen. I really enjoyed her back story. I could not get The Mayor from Once Upon A Time out of my head whenever I imagined the Evil Queen.
In the end. I give this book a 3/5. Now, this is my rating for me, a 23 year old man, reading this. If I was age 10 to 12, I would probably have given this a very strong 5. I recommend this to anyone interested in fairy tales and magical worlds. I recommend this even more so to a younger audience. If you have a niece, nephew, son, daughter, or if you just know a youngling that likes fairy tales, this would be a PERFECT gift!