Top critical review
Not for younger readers (IMHO)
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2019
loved reading the Land of Stories series aloud to our three older boys (ages 9,7 &6 at the time) so was excited to start this one as our pre-bedtime read. It was surprisingly heavy in subject matter and introduced a Judeo-Christian-ish religion into the Kingdoms that hadn't been present in LoS. While Colfer’s writing style is again superb, I surprised by the blatant introduction of a religious system (for which he has clear disdain) and the overall heavier/angrier tone of the book, given that it was billed as a prequel to LoS, which are based on fairytales and other fictional stories. Hadn’t bargained on reading about people punishing/executing children “in the name of the Lord to purge them of their sins,” so while older kiddos might identify with the strong theme of embracing your unique identity, we found it to be less entertaining/engaging for the younger boys.