|The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: The Bailey twins return to the Land of Stories in order to defeat a huge army with a secret weapon: a dragon.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: July 2014|
|Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers|
|External links: Author's website|
My house is a mess, the laundry is piling up around me, my poor children haven't been fed and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Chris Colfer. From the moment I opened the cover of his latest book, I have been spirited away to a magical land of fairies, elves, dragons and trolls and I'm afraid all of my mundane, everyday tasks and responsibilities have been sadly neglected ever since.
A Grimm Warning is the third book in the Land of Stories series and Colfer's fairytale universe has definitely developed a distinct personality and mythology of its own. Getting reacquainted with Froggy, Trollbella, the Bailey Twins and the rest of the fairytale world was like a warm reunion with old friends.
Connor and Alex are now 14 years old and leading very different lives: Whilst Connor looks forward to a school trip to Germany with his crush Bree, Alex is getting ready to attend the Fairy Inaugural Ball, where she will be officially presented to society and tested as to whether she is worthy to sit on the Fairy Council. The twins' worlds are about to collide again however, when Connor deciphers a warning left by the Brothers Grimm that has direct implications of the safety of the Fairytale kingdoms; a huge army is crossing the portal between worlds, led by a ruthless General who will stop at nothing in order to make a name for himself.
Colfer has a real skill for crafting stories and every chapter was packed with action, emotion and adventure. He is equally skilled at creating memorable characters and has breathed new life into old favourites like Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and Little Bo Peep by giving them interesting story arcs and well-rounded personalities. He also created some wonderfully wicked villains in the form of the French General, who is completely heartless and vindictive; and the mysterious masked man, who is plotting to get his hands on a dragon egg to attack the fairy kingdom. Both villains are capable of acts of incredible cruelty, but Colfer adds a few surprise twists in the villains' tale to reward and surprise his readers.
I was relieved that Colfer moved away from the 'lost objects quest' plot from the first two books. It would not have worked as well third time around and the resulting story has a slightly darker tone, with more action scenes as the armies from both worlds come together in battle. There are still several flaws in the style of the narrative, though. I found the constant repetition of the word Nooooo! whenever something went wrong rather annoying. Colfer also needs to work on his habit of slipping 'Deus ex machina' plot twists into the narrative. For example, there is a chapter where one of the characters confesses to the others that she is unable to bear children. Two pages later and they pull up into a burned-out city and just happen to find an abandoned baby in the ashes. It seems as though at times, the author is so impatient to resolve a plot element, that he provides quick fix solutions that tend to feel awkward and out of place. Despite this I cannot fault his talent for weaving the most wonderful and memorable stories and characters and I am confident that he will become more polished as time goes on.
A Grimm Warning is a completely absorbing read that had me hooked from the first page. It also finished with a huge cliffhanger and I can't wait to see how it is resolved. I can't wait for the next book in this wonderful series.
Readers new to the series may struggle with this book, as so much content is based on the previous books in the series. Bookbag recommends reading The Wishing Spell, followed by The Enchantress Returns in order to get the most out of the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer at Amazon.com.
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