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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: A Grimm Warning (The Land of Stories #3)

Release Date: July 8, 2014
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 480 pages

Conner Bailey thinks his fairy-tale adventures are behind him--until he discovers a mysterious clue left by the famous Brothers Grimm. With help from his classmate Bree and the outlandish Mother Goose, Conner sets off on a mission across Europe to crack a two-hundred-year-old code.

Meanwhile, Alex Bailey is training to become the next Fairy Godmother...but her attempts at granting wishes never go as planned. Will she ever be truly ready to lead the Fairy Council?

When all signs point to disaster for the Land of Stories, Conner and Alex must join forces with their friends and enemies to save the day. But nothing can prepare them for the coming battle...or for the secret that will change the twins' lives forever.

The third book in the bestselling Land of Stories series puts the twins to the test as they must bring two worlds together!

    

Review:

Protagonists: Conner Bailey didn't think he would ever be truly involved in the Land of Stories ever again. The portal's been closed and his sister Alex is on the other side training to become the next Fairy Godmother and Head of the Fairy Council. However, as Conner had felt at the very end of the previous installment his adventures in the Land of Stories are far from over. Once again the Bailey twins must team up to stop war and chaos from descending upon their ancestral home. There definitely was a great amount of character development for our two heroes as they are growing up and experiencing new things. Unlike the previous installment the development felt natural and the lessons they learned shaped who they are becoming.

Romance: Yes, with growing up and experiencing new things finally comes romance. Though since Conner and Alex are still young, and this is a Middle-Grade series, the romance is all very innocent. However that doesn't trivialize the romances they each go though. The romance isn't in any way a driving force of the plot and is in fact really only used to fill in certain parts of the story or add to the twins' development. I rather liked seeing these two experience first love, or crushes, or whatever it is we call it these days. It was refreshing and realistic and showed that as the characters grow so do the content of these stories.

World-Building: So you know how the previous two books in this series revolved around a scavenger hunt of sorts leading our heroes around the Land of Stories finding important objects that will fulfill their goal whether it be to go back home or to defeat a great evil? Well, it wasn't until I was well into this book that I remembered that little detail, and that's because this installment doesn't follow that same format (also I'm a bit forgetful.) This book breaks it's confines of formula and structure (in a sense) and really begins to show just what this author is capable of. In this story our heroes don't just have to go against an evil villain, but an entire army set to take over the Land of Stories. Because of this change the story enters this whole new level that shows not only what the author is capable of writing but of what this story is capable of becoming.

Writing: I've recently figured out that while I would say this series is one of my favorite series, if not my favorite, I haven't yet given any book a 5 star rating. This is because while the story and characters are fantastic and brilliant, the writing and character development can seem at times a bit amateurish, or lacking the finesse and grace of a more seasoned writer. In this book specifically there is a moment in which a character from "our world" asks a question so out of the blue and blunt that it practically tore me right out of the story. It was a question that I don't think anyone would phrase the way this character did let alone ask it in the context is was asked in. Don't get me wrong, this was something that barely happens throughout the series and most of the time the author's writing is pure platinum, but there are just times that I felt the author could have phrased things a different way or written the scene better.

Predictability: Like the other books in this series this book is full of amazing and shocking twists. While the smaller twists are fairly easy to guess, the larger ones are so complexly foreshadowed that it's a mystery as to what will happen. I love this about these books as in times when the story isn't necessarily moving at a brisk pace I become more intrigued by the mystery than I am by the story, and that isn't a bad thing in this case. While this installment answers most of the questions it brings up there are a few things left unanswered,to many of which I have what I believe to be very sound theories on.

Ending: The Cliffhanger!!! Yes this book ends with a nearly catastrophic cliffhanger. The cliffhanger is also rather puzzling as many of the pieces don't match up, but like I said above I'm pretty sure I know what's going on for the most part. I seriously cannot wait until the next installment to this series and part of me wishes that I had waited until closer to when the next book is released, but thankfully unlike the previous installment there was no doubt in my mind that this was not the last of the series, though a part of me feels like the next book may be the final installment.

Rating:



While this is probably my favorite installment yet, like I said I just can't get over the writing at times. That being said this installment was spectacular and the upcoming year waiting for the next installment will be torture, but I swear I will read that fourth book the day it comes out, if I can't by some miracle read it sooner.


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2 comments:

  1. Pretty good review, with most of which I agreed. I LOVED "A Grimm Warning" and consider it Chris Colfer's best writing work to date. Colfer's writing skills and technique have grown exponentially and this installment in his "Land of Stories" series is amazing and gripping. I could not put this book down. I particularly loved the wonderfully rich, evocative descriptions of their travels and historical events, as well as the charm and sweetness of the twins' first romances. I loved "The Enchantress Returns" and was happy to see that the promise shown in Colfer's first (thoroughly enchanting and fun, albeit somewhat rough) "The Wishing Spell" is being fulfilled with each book that Colfer writes. Before long, I expect to see Chris Colfer joining the ranks of notable contemporary writers; he has such potential-!

    I'm curious as to what question threw you out of the story?

    That being said, I love "Struck By Lightning" almost as much; it takes me on a emotional roller coaster and provides encouragement and inspiration along with acerbic, biting wit. "The Enchantress Returns" and "The Wishing Spell" are

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful ans insightful comment. I definitely do think Colfer's writing is great and as I said there were only a few times that it felt a bit off. The question that threw me out of the story momentarily was when Bree asked Conner point blank if he had a crush on her. I just felt too awkward and not like something someone would just come out and say so abruptly. I haven't read Struck by Lightning yet, or seen the movie but they're both on my to do list.

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