THE LAND OF STORIES – THE ENCHANTRESS RETURNS
[ book 2 of THE LAND OF STORIES ]
Copyright © 2013 by Chris Colfer
Jacket and interior art copyright © 2013 by Brandon Dorman
Little, Brown and Company [ a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. ]
First edition : August 2013 ; 520 p | ISBN 978-0-316-20154-4
Rate : 4.5 of 5
The twins, Conner and Alex Bailey already return to their world after unforgetable adventures that not only reveal family secret, they also getting known each other, why they both always feels a little-bit different than all boys and girls at their age. Now, after knew who they are (or more where their family come from) and meet someone really close and love, the twins Grandmother who happens to be A Fairy Godmother of the Land of The Stories too (in human’s world also know as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother).
On the last encounter, both Conner and Alex say goodbye to their grandma, but she promise to keep in touch with both grandchildren. Now...is already over a year past, Alex who always been exceptional student got an offer to attend honor program at college in another town and even Conner’s grade improve really good (specially when he already learn that he is not stupid just need another ways to learn something). But lately, Alex having ‘sighting’ or more like ‘day-dream’ that really bother her. Specially when their grandma did not contact them any more over this past year.
Not only misses her, Alex who feeling more attachment to the Land of The Stories than Conner, really missed having good (or worse) time in those world. Cannot contact or even talk to their grandma, makes her almost miserable. Then, another issue coming up, that on the first time Alex did not thinking about what bothering her lately. Conner find-out that our beloved mother, now having serious relationship with Dr. Bob – who happens really good guy, friendly and likeable for both children. He even gave a dog for the twins’ pet. But that before they smell ‘another-agenda’ in his good attitude.
Despite the twins cannot thinking there will be another man in their mother’s life, they both agree that Dr. Bob have genuine and strong feelings for her, as well to the twins. And for all the choices, seems he is a perfect choice for her, then he asking permissions for the twins to marry their mother and becoming a whole new family ...owww, can both Conner and Alex refuse and denied his intension ? So the story rolls into the secret plan, when one perfect day, Bob and the twins preparing a surprise, involving the perfect romantic proposal in their home. But all the great plan have to change immediately, when their mother never coming home after works.
Someone else show-up at the front door, and surprise...surprise...it the one that laready inside Conner and specially Alex for the whole year : it’s their Grandma !!! And she’s not coming alone, there’s a whole bunch strange looking soldiers with her too. While both the twins still confuse and wondering what’s happening (and Dr. Bob are too stunning to be shock), another ‘bom’ reveals, that their mother are kidnapped into Land of Stories. That’s explain why Fairy Godmother show-up, with an army to protect her grandchildren. Over the last year (according to the time in the world of human : Earth), there’s new development in the Land of Stories. The Greatest Enemy is back, the one that make an innocent girl turn into Evil Queen, the one that consider death, poison by her...now coming for the revenge.
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The Enchantress is Return !! The great and powerful witches, who long ago was part of Fairy Council, even consider the promises apprentice’s of Fairy Godmother, but not after she turn-on darkness power and magic. Now the whole living things in Land of Stories are in danger. Everyone will have to surrender into her, giving everything she want to, because The Enchantress knew, no one, even the Fairy Godmother, have the power against her new source of magic : Darkness and Hatred. One by one, the kingdom in those world, with all their people, captured with darkness. All hope and safety are gone, only fears and hopeless surrounding every corner where livingthings still fighting for their life.
While people of Land of Stories struggle for their life, Alex and Conner are angry and upset. Their Grandma only show-up briefly, and left them under guardian of soldiers (who magicly turn into gnomne-statue in their yard) and Mother Goose acting as ‘prison-guard’ – that the terms on describing how the twins feelings. They cannot allow to be outside their home. No school, no playing around, just stay inside as long as needed. Thank God there is Dr. Bob who willing to help like buying groceries for them and visited as many as he can (he never got a chance to purpose, and hearing the story that the woman he love are nowhere to be found, sucks into another wolrd, is really devistate for him).
But Alex will never let her self to be hopeless. She believe that there is another way to help, but first she must find a way or a door into Land of Stories. The book where they both ‘entering’ year ago, already brought back by their Grandma (who already thinking that the twins will sneak-up to enter the world again, and the situation are to danger for them to be there). So Alex runaway from home, searching old cottage where they use to meet their Grandma in childhood. Even she did not want bring Conner into any difficulties and catastrophe ahead...she forget that they are twins, with an occasionaly rare time, sharing similar thought. So Conner can guess where she is going, follow her in the perfect timing when she is in danger. Now together, both twins are find another door to Land of Stories, ready to expect the unexpected, looking for their mother and falling into danger !!
When Alex and Conner finally ‘fall’ into Land of Story, the adventure begin and surprises are the first thing they see, because Land of Stories are so different than the last time they were here. The Darkness Magic of The Enchantress are staring ‘eating’ the whole world. When they meet old-friend : Froggy (who actually Prince Charlie, from Prince Charming’s family that had been curse by evil spell, but later the spell can be broken with the twins helps), who turn back into Frog by Fairy Godmother, so he can become spies in the jungle. And like the first adventure where they must finding and collect all items to fulfill The Wishing Spell – that will brought them back into their world, this time they also must collect several items to make powerful weapons agains The Enchantress. The weapons known as The Wand of Wonderment, who formed when combining the six most prized possessions of the six most hated people in the world. The best candidate is The Evil Queen, The Snow Queen, The Sea Witch, Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother, The Giant, and The Enchantress it self. How they can find and collect all the items from those villains ... that’s another challenge.
I must say, the second book of this series are more complex and really contain several issue that might not suitable for younger readers. Even the main characters are grow-up, they both already knowing their strength and weakness, and pursuing their goals even when many obstacle and difficulties almost always show-up in their face (literaly). On thing I like, the whole ‘fairy-tale’ which is always decribe as enchanting-beautiful-flawless (like Disney’s characters) is transforming into something more ‘human’ – with are their weakness and negativity against courage and strong willing, with good heartness (that not easy to dealt when you have to face the most hatred person in the world). Like the first book, when both Conner and Alex found that the reason why Snow White release her stepmother, The Evil Queen from prison ... is all about forgiveness and compassion on the person who already become the victim, when her heart are taken and imprison in the stone by The Enchantress.
Now in this story, we also will taking a journey to look into the past, where The Enchantress before she having Darkness in her life. I love how the author gave such explicit details on each characters, even the antagonis one. It will makes us thinking twice before judging them, and no matter how horrible what they done, there is another explaination on that. You know one other reason why I also really like character of Kurt Hummel plays by Chris Colfer in GLEE’s Series, because it so unique, show up all vulnerablelity and strength at the same thing. Through all the bad characters, like bullies who like terrories others, is not a strength or powerful thing, but just the opposite, all bitterness, fear, sad, and revenge are behind them. And those are not to be affraid, in fact the person who having so much of this, should be pity and give them lots of forgiveness and compassion.
The theme of this story is Power can be from LOVE or HATRED, both can be as strong and powerfull if anybody can use it as fuel to their energy. The main different is not on how different is those two thing, but how we pick the right tools to use them. I must say, if we use Positive Thinking, both Love and Hatred can be use as weapons and powerboost ... but when all negativify surrounding the whole mind, it never be Happy Ending or Success on long time. It might just another fairy-tale, but there is so many lesson can learn from it. I really surprise that this author, who really very young, can write such complex idea, characters and plot that so amazing to read. If you have younger children, I suggest give them this book and accompany them in learning the lesson. After all, it a story where both children and adult can enjoying reading them together (^_^)
Special Note : new characters in this story really capture my heart. Starting the main antagonis, The Enchantress, who later know as Ezmia – a promises fairy with lots of tallents but missjudge and missguided, who changing into something really evil. Then poor Rumplestilskin (who actually the 8th Dwarf, that never been speak off because his name are disgrace the family), just another young dwarf who want to be different and pursue another dreams in his life, but rejected not only by the sociaty, but with the whole family it self ... this topic are really close to mine, as well some personal experience. The hardest thing in this life is to pursue your own destiny and reach out your dreams. If you are becoming different that others in your environment, it does not meant you are failer, is not meant you are disgrace, just move on and proving them that you are worthed, not for them but mainly for you self. After all, God’s created all humans with unique and spesific marks, no one else in this world are same, even the twins.
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[ more about the author and related works, just check at here : Chris Colfer | The Land of Stories Official Site | on Wikipedia | on Goodreads | at Twitter | at IMDb ]