Author's Odyssey
by Colfer, Chris; Dorman, Brandon (ILT)

"Conner learns that the only place to fight the Masked Man's literary army is inside his own short stories. When the twins and their friends enter worlds crafted from Conner's imagination, the race begins to put an end to the Masked Man's reign of terror"-

Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, Stranger Than Fanfiction, and the books in The Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning, Beyond the Kingdoms, An Author's Odyssey, and Worlds Collide, and the companion books A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales, The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Curvy Tree, and Trollbella Throws a Party.

It's been a hard year for twins Alex and Connor since their father passed. They miss his stories, especially the fairy tales he used to teach them about life, as well as soothe their fears. They know better now: life rarely has a happy ending. But then a magic book from their grandmother, a gift on their twelfth birthdays, sends the twins hurtling into the Land of Stories, where happy endings are usually expected. Their biggest concern is gathering the materials needed for the Wishing Spell, which will send them back home. So begins a scavenger hunt for some of the most recognizable symbols and characters in fantasy lore: Cinderella's glass slippers, a lock of hair from Rapunzel, tree bark from Little Red Riding Hood's basket, etc. Golden Globe-winner Colfer writes for an audience that will likely include plenty of teen readers (i.e., fans of Glee), and generally they will not be disappointed by the giddy earnestness of the writing, cut with a hint of melancholy. Dorman's evocative spot illustrations kick off each chapter. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Witches and other fictional baddies move to conquer this world when a portal opens between the Land of Stories and a branch of the New York Public Library.For the finale to his popular series, Colfer recaps the first five episodes, then brings together most of the teeming cast to wage, as the narrator admits, "an overdue battle of good versus evil." Flanked by a wish-fulfilling frame story in which Conner, one of the white twin protagonists, has grown up to become a revered writer of middle-grade fantasies, the climactic struggle begins with the portal's opening in the sumptuous Rose Reading Room. It spreads to Central Park and other locales as the then-teenager and allies fictional or otherwise (including a lot of ineffectual Marines) square off against his powerfully gifted sister, Alex, the dastardly witches who have ensorcelled her, and a Literary Army led by (among others) the head-chopping Queen of Hearts. Many set pieces ensue, from a pitched battle with gingerbread so ldiers to no fewer than six individual witch-fairy duels in a row—not to mention gags and one-liners aplenty, topical references, and adolescent posturing ("Knock it off, boys," Merlin snaps at one point, "there are much bigger issues in this story"). With one exception, characters who die bleed words instead of blood, and all of the destruction in both worlds is neatly fixed at the end by an albino dragon ( see Book 3: A Grimm Warning). Dorman's vignettes at the chapter heads offer glimpses of settings and characters.A busy if ultimately tidy wrap-up for fans. (foldout map of lower Manhattan) (Fantasy. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Celebpub collides with fairy-tale redux in this unsuccessful debut. Alex is enraptured with fairy tales and soaks up her teacher's lessons on their universal truths. Twin brother Conner, on the other hand, falls asleep in class. On their 12th birthday their grandmother gifts them her treasured Land of Stories, a book their late father often shared with them. Predictably, they fall into the book and encounter all the fairy-tale characters, albeit some years after their happily-ever-afters. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel are now queens, while Jack (of beanstalk fame), Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood are embroiled in a fierce love triangle. Alex and Conner must collect eight fairy-tale items in order to return to their world, all while being pursued by a snarling wolf pack in the employ of the Evil Queen, whose life Snow White has spared. Unfortunately, Colfer's prose, though sincere, drowns in bizarre imagery and trite phraseology. A Curvy Tree is saved from loggers because of its "uniqueness." Alex wants to be in this fairy-tale world because it is "where good things [come] to good people." Conner, upon learning that he is part fairy (grandmother = fairy godmother), "sarcastically" opines that "[t]he guys at school can never hear about this." Cardboard characters and awkwardly episodic situations result in a poorly manufactured tale. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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