THE LAND OF STORIES BOOK REVIEW

Chris Colfer, that plays Kurt Hummel in the high college musical “Glee,” has actually composed a novel that bears an unmistakable televisual stamp.

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In confecting this fairy-tale homage, which he began working on when he remained in grade college, Colfer has actually composed dialogue according to sitcom laws of quippery and also developed his narrative via an actorly sense of character motivation. Still, a type of stern traditionalism undergirds the story. When it pertains to imagining the proceeding resides of our storybook legends, the author appears to side with the sixth-grade teacher of his major personalities — twins lost, literally, in an excellent book — who denounces the Disneyfication of the classics: “Fairy-tale ‘adaptations’ are generally stripped of eextremely moral and also lesson the stories were initially intended to teach, and replaced with singing and also dancing forest pets.”


Colfer’s Scurrently White has actually no time for bluebirds. In the prologue, she sets a pop-Gothic tone by paying a visit to her dungeon-bound stepmommy, who ideas at a sympathetic earlier story. “What the civilization falls short to realize,” the evil queen claims, “is that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.” When she finally explains the roots of her evil, it’s after she’s escaped her cell, just before a climactic castle-storming battle, and also the payoff is as handsome as a prince. Shrewdly, Colfer leaves her behind-the-scenes tear-jerker hanging from a cliff for practically 400 pages while our 2 heroes dangle from Rapunzel’s tower, fling themselves from tall trees into enchanted kingdoms and reach other heights of metamythical activity during their visit to the Land of Stories.

Once upon a time, in contemporary Anytvery own, lived Alex Bailey and also her brvarious other, Conner. The 2 are passably lively variations on acquainted types: she’s an energetic egghead sitting at the head of the class; he’s a jokester snoozing in the back row. Their adendeavor starts a year after their father’s death, and Colfer brings a light touch to describing their grief even while laying it on thick through thematic resonance. (Mr. Bailey passed away driving residence from his bookstore.) Their paternal grandmother, twinkling right into see on their 12th birthday, bequeaths to them a family heirloom, an old storybook anthology whose cover transforms out to be a dimensional gatemeans in the legacy of C. S.

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Lewis’s passage to Narnia.

Stumbling via this bookwormhole, the kids plummet right into a world where Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and also Snow White have each married a boy of King Charming; wright here Goldilocks is a glamorous fugitive installed on a cream-colored steed named Porridge; and also wbelow Red Riding Hood, in a room pulled together by a wolfskin rug, overdresses to impush Jack, of beanstalk fame. Colfer, probably grvery own exhausted of treating his personalities with gentle reverence, imagines the red-caped lass as a camped-up tart, vain — and pining in vain for the giant-killer: “She was reflecting also much skin, wearing as well much makeup, and also was dressed too well for the middle of the day.”


This is no area for young kids, what via its gibbering goblins and also echoing wolf howls. Relying on the kindness of strangers, foremany an amphibious gentleman plainly in need of a smooch, the twins seek out relics, including Sleeping Beauty’s spindle and also Cinderella’s slipper, in order to activate a “Wishing Spell” and also make their escape. Off they go on a pursuit that combines a scavenger hunt, a breaking-and-entering spree and a tour of the stars’ homes.

“The Land of Stories” may appeal to a rather narrowhead demographic. A kid that is all set to catch Alex’s interpretation as soon as she exclintends, early on, that “ ‘Cinderella’ is . . . around karma!,” is perhaps likewise ready to cock an eyebrow at such an arguable statement of didactic intent. (In fact, such a son has perhaps currently talked you into letting her view Kristen Stewart play a PG-13 Scurrently White at the summer multiplex.) But I suspect that when this little bit of genial revisionism hits a reader in the Goldilocks sweet spot of just-­rightness, it will hit massive through its combination of earnestness and also playful poise. Heigh-ho, Porridge, away.