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The Wishing Spell
The Land of Stories
Attribution
Author Chris Colfer
Original title The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Cover Artist Brandon Dorman / David Gilson (FR)
Publication information
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date July 17, 2012
Genre fantasy, children's literature
Pages Unknown
ISBN 978-0-316-20157-5 (hardcover)
Chronology
Preceded by (First book of the series)
Followed by The Enchantress Returns
For The Wishing Spell (Magic) click here.

“My most educated analysis, with all means of science and technology in mind, is that it’s magic!”

Alex Bailey. [TLOS I, ch 4, p. 71]

The Land of Stories: Wishing Spell is the first children's fiction novel in The Land of Stories series written by Chris Colfer. The book was first published on July 17, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.), New York.

The Land of Stories follows the story of twins Alex and Conner Bailey as they fall through a magical book into another dimension where all the famous fairy-tale characters live.

Publisher's Summary & Jacket Interior Summary

Publisher's summary: "Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, the twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about."

Jacket Interior Summary: "Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change. When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real. But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven’t ended in this magical land—Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother! The twins want to get back home. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?"

Cover Map of the Fairy-Tale World:

TheLandofStories MAP

The map of the fairy-tale world kingdoms

Dedications, Epigraphs & Acknowledgements

Dedication: This book is dedicated to Chris Colfer's Grandmother.

To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: "I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer."

Epigraph: "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again." -C.S. Lewis

Acknowledgements: I’d like to thank my family, Rob Weisbach, Alvina Ling, Brandon Dorman, the Little, Brown team, Glenn Rigberg, Meredith Fine, Alla Plotkin, Erica Tarin, Ashley Fink, Pam Jackson, Jamie Greenberg, the cast and crew of Glee, and last but certainly not least, Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.


SPOILER WARNING: Plot details follow.


Plot by Chapter

Prologue: The Queen's Visit

The story begins with Snow White, now Queen, visiting her stepmother known as the Evil Queen in the dungeons. Snow White tries to find the real reason behind her stepmother's actions, not believing somebody could just be pure evil. At first, the Evil Queen refuses to tell Snow White anything, not wanting sympathy. As the young queen insists, the Evil Queen agrees to tell her story.  

Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time

The twins are introduced, in class.

Chapter 2: The Longer Walk Home

The twins discuss the meaning of fairy tales and find out their old house is sold.

Chapter 3: A Birthday Surprise

The twins' grandmother comes over for their birthday and brings gifts, among which is The Land of Stories storybook.

Chapter 4: The Land Of Stories

Alex and Conner discover that the storybook is a portal to another dimension.

Chapter 5: From the Mouth of a Frog

"I've learned that the more people embrace their disadvantages, the less disadvantaged they become! Please, call me Froggy. I'd prefer it." - Froggy

Having fallen through the book to an alternate dimension, Alex and Conner find themselves along a dirt path surrounded by trees, in the Dwarf forests. They are unaware of where they are; they start arguing over how they ended up there and how they could possibly go back home. Their discussion is interrupted by a cavalcade of soldiers passing by, dressed in armors and holding shields with red apples painted on them. Once the situation is calm again, Alex notices a poster hanging to a nearby tree. The wanted fugitive's name is Goldilocks.

This clue helps them to make the stunning realization that they are inside of the Land Of Stories.

They are startled by a frog man - later nicknamed Froggy by Conner - who asks if they need help. At first, Alex and Conner are skeptical and scared, but the sound of wolves howling and Froggy's promise that he has no intention to harm them convinces them to follow him to his home in the forest. Once they arrive, they find out that Froggy collected many of Alex's books when they fell into the The Land Of Stories and that they are currently in the The Dwarf Forests. Froggy tells them a part of his own story and shows them a map of all the kingdoms of the fairy-tale world. He tells them about the Happily Ever After Assembly and when he finds out Alex and Conner are from a different world, he also tells them about The Wishing Spell, a spell which could transport them back to their own world. He then gives them a journal written by a man who managed to collect all the items needed for the spell.

Alex and Conner spend the night at Froggy's home as his guests, having decided to begin their journey to collect the items the next day.

Chapter 6: The Dwarf Forests

The twins try to get out of the dangerous Dwarf Forests but unfortunately run into the Gingerbread House Witch, The Big Bad Wolf Pack, and Goldilocks on their way out. They aid Goldilocks in fighting the wolves, and save her life.  She gives them a weapon to use to take care of themselves.

Chapter 7: Rapunzel's Tower

Alex and Conner read the journal to find out how to start collecting items for the Wishing Spell and find the first item with little trouble: a lock of Rapunzel's hair.

Chapter 8: A Hidden Place

The Evil Queen meets with her Huntsman and his daughter and commands them to retrieve the Wishing Spell items so she can use it before Alex and Conner do, since the Spell can only be activated one more time. The Magic Mirror warns her that the spell can only be used twice and was already used once before.

Chapter 9: The Charming Kingdom

Alex and Conner run into a Bridge Troll, try to sneak into Cinderella's castle, are discovered, meet Cinderella, and leave without taking her glass slipper, which they came for. They then discover one of the slippers in their backpack.

Chapter 10: The Red Riding Hood Kingdom

The twins meet Jack and Queen Red Riding Hood and manage to get a piece of her basket for the Spell. The Huntsman's daughter retrieves a piece of the basket for the Evil Queen as well.

Chapter 11: The Troll and Goblin Territory

Alex and Conner are caught and enslaved by a troll and a goblin but manage to escape with the help of Trollbella, daughter of the Troll King, and find one of the items for the spell (the Troll & Goblin Crown).

Chapter 12: The Fairy Kingdom

In order to get ahead with the spell, the twins find a distraught fairy named Trix and collect one of her tears for the Wishing Spell. They then help her at her trial before the Fairy Council and clear her name.

Chapter 13: A Wolf Pact

The Evil Queen and and the leader of the Big Bad Wolf Pack, Malumclaw, make a pact to exchange the twins for Red Riding Hood.

Chapter 14: The Sleeping Kingdom

Alex and Conner meet Queen Sleeping Beauty. She allows them to borrow her spindle for the Wishing Spell, if they promise to bring it back.

Chapter 15: The Northern Kingdom

The twins find Snow White's castle. After nearly drowning in the river to get there, they find out that her glass coffin is kept in the dwarf mines.

Chapter 16: Through The Mines

After a narrow escape from Malumclaw and his pack in the dwarf mines, Alex and Conner are taken captive by the trolls and goblins again. Conner purposefully leads the Malumclaw's wolf pack back onto their trails to attack their capturers. They escape by jumping into Mermaid Bay.

Chapter 17: Goldilocks, Wanted Dead or Alive

On the run for justice, Goldilocks ends up hiding in an abandoned barn that has a magic mirror. The Evil Queen talks to her through the mirror and tells her it was Red Riding Hood who set her up with the Three Bears. Goldilocks is enraged and decides to take revenge on Red.

Chapter 18: The Mermaid's Message

Underwater, the twins meet the Seafoam Spirit who reveals the last item they need -- her dagger. It is in the Thornbush Pit. She gives them each magical necklaces for protection from the thorns, since they pull anyone who goes near them into the pit.

Chapter 19: The Thornbush Pit

Alex and Conner find the dagger in the pit, but nearly perish as Conner's magic necklace is lost. Froggy saves them and tells them the Fairy Godmother is looking for them. Goldilocks has captured Red Riding Hood and wants to throw her in the pit, but the Huntress captures Red instead. The Wolf Pack then captures the twins and Goldilocks. Froggy manages to escape and goes to seek help.

Chapter 20: Heart of Stone

The Wolf pack brings their captives to the Evil Queen, who tells her life story to Alex and Conner. Alex becomes emotional from hearing such a sad story. She cries; the Evil Queen collects her tears, and as Alex is a fairy and a fairy's tears were were the last needed item for the Wishing Spell, the spell is activated.

Chapter 21: The Mirror

The Evil Queen performs the Wishing Spell. She wishes for her beloved Mira to come out of the Magic Mirror. Her wish is granted, but it is too late for Mira to live normally again. He is taken out of the Mirror, but immediately dies in the Evil Queen's arms. Then the castle is attacked by the Northern Kingdom army, led by Froggy and Jack. After the battle, the twins, Red and Goldilocks are free.  The Magic Mirror falls on top of the Evil Queen, trapping her inside of it like Mira was. The Queen's Huntsman dies, his daughter is killed from falling off of the castle's roof while in a duel with Goldilocks, and Malumclaw is killed by a Northern Kingdom army cannonball that was fired at the castle and hit him directly. Goldilocks is pardoned for her crimes by Queen Red, but arrested in name of the Northern Kingdom anyway.

Chapter 22: Snow White's Secret

Queen Snow White confesses to having freed the Evil Queen out of pity. Queen Red Riding Hood saves Goldilocks from prison and Jack decides to go on the run with her.

Chapter 23: A Royal Invitation

Alex and Conner are invited to celebrate the birth of Cinderella's daughter and meet with the Fairy Godmother -- who, upon meeting them, reveals that she is their grandmother.

Chapter 24: A Fairy's Tale

The twins learn about their family history and find out they have fairy blood, which explains Alex's tears activating the Wishing Spell for the Evil Queen. Their grandmother then sends them back to their own world.

Reception

Praise for the Land of Stories Series:

"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise." (The New York Times Book Review).

"It's hard not to love [the book]...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures." (Publishers Weekly).

"A magical debut." (Family Circle).

"Captivating." (Teen Vogue).

"In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters." (Los Angeles Times).

"There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of." (USA Today).

Editions

Foreign language editions:

Tlos-FR2

Cover of the French hardcover version of The Wishing Spell by David Gilson

Tlos2-FR

Cover of the French paperback version of The Wishing Spell by David Gilson