Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Review: Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories #4)

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Author: Chris Colfer
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 432 pages

Fairy tales are just the beginning.

The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it's up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him...except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they're in danger.

With only the help of the ragtag group of Goldilocks, Jack, Red Riding Hood, and Mother Goose and her gander, Lester, the Bailey twins discover the Masked Man's secret scheme: He possesses a powerful magic potion that turns every book it touches into a portal, and he is recruiting an army of literature's greatest villains!

So begins a race through the magical Land of Oz, the fantastical world of Neverland, the madness of Wonderland, and beyond. Can Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man, or will they be one step behind until it's too late?

Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!



Protagonists: Alex and Conner Bailey are about to face their greatest foe yet. With the Masked Man on the run and the terrible secret behind his identity possibly revealed, Alex and Conner have been a bit stressed trying to figure out what he's up to, find him, and capture him. However that might just be easier said than done with Alex's powers on the fritz and the Masked Man using a potion that lets him vanish into storybooks. There isn't that much character development for these characters in this book, in fact the development for not only the twins, but Red, and other members of their group only trickle down to a handful of scenes, great scenes mind, you but not all that many. I didn't mind however because it wasn't as if the story or it's characters ever really got boring.

Romance: There is a small bit of romance in this book, though mainly for Alex, Charlie/Froggy, Red, and surprisingly enough Mother Goose. It's not all sunshine and rainbows though as tough decisions are made and as of the end of this book no one is truly living happily ever after just yet. While there wasn't all that much romance, the little that there is was both interesting as well as a bit unexpected. I'm trying not to spoil too much of anything, but let's just say I'm sort of shipping a couple that I'm not sure will make it.

World-Building: There is quite a lot revealed in this penultimate installment in The Land of Stories series. However, while this installment both reveals a plethora of useful information, answers the many questions readers were left with at the end of A Grimm Warning, and sets up the final climactic installment, this book in many ways felt a lot like filler to me. I mean, in all honesty, while the story is fun and entertaining, there wasn't a whole lot of meat on it's bones, or rather it's all meat and no substance. It's pretty much just a bunch of information and exposition woven through a rather hasty adventure.

Predictability: For the most part the things revealed in this installment I didn't really catch onto, until at least a few paragraphs from the reveal. There is one thing that I did guess, though one small modifier of that guess was incorrect but for the most part it was a rather easy assumption. Like I stated above there are a multitude of twists and turns in this tale, many of which help pave the way for the final installment of this series. It's easy to piece together the synopsis of this next and final adventure from the breadcrumbs left throughout the story.

Ending: My one big problem with this book, and something that definitely made it feel like filler was that there really wasn't any final climax or confrontation in this book. I knew the story was coming to an end, but it didn't feel like it was supposed to be the end. It was missing that last little piece of, well, something. The book does end with a cliffhanger, nothing as torturous or terrible as the previous installment, but surely something to think on while we wait for the last volume of this series.


So if you couldn't tell this review was very hard to write, because while I enjoyed this story very much, it just wasn't all there. I just needed a bit more, one more final climactic scene would have taken this book to a whole new level. Anyway I'm still ecstatic for the final installment and the year long wait, while hopefully worth it, will be agony.


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