“The Land of Stories is no longer the joyful world Alex and Conner Baily remember from their Wishing Spell adventure: the evil Enchantress, who cursed Sleeping Beauty, is back with a vengeance, and the fairy-tale world lives in fear.
When the Enchantress’s evil reach extends even to Alex and Conner’s world–and their mother is kidnapped!–they must defy their grandmother’s orders and find their own way into the Land of Stories to rescue her.
Can Alex and Conner save their mother and the fairy-tale world from the greatest threat it’s ever faced?”
Fairy tales getting twisted is no longer unusual. With Once Upon a Time skewering almost every available story (and not just limiting itself to fairy tales nowadays), the idea of a world where well-loved stories co-exist alongside each other and do not follow the stories that we actually know is no longer novel. But, to be quite fair, there are still some interesting ideas on how to go about retelling these stories.
Chris Colfer’s follow up to The Wishing Spell is an interesting idea… But it suffered because the author wanted to cram in as much information as he can, not letting the characters breathe on their own. And this gives us a book that’s very problematic (and very exposition-heavy) at the beginning, before growing into a better book near the end.
My main concern with the book actually has to do with the fact that our two heroes are going on a quest again. And because they go through the same motions from the first book, The Enchantress Returns feels formulaic. Formulaic and very boring, to tell you the truth, because since many of the characters have already appeared in the first book, things are easier for our heroes this time around. Heck, the main quest takes place in just a third of the book. And for a very important quest, one that’s supposed to take down the most powerful evil entity in their world, it sure is over quick.
Not that I would have wanted it longer. Off the six items our heroes had to collect, only three provided actual excitement–and you can even argue that one of said three was unnecessary.
Actually, you can say that for the whole quest. Especially when you reach the climactic part of the story. The only part of the book I can honestly say I loved.
Colfer doesn’t shy away from an evil villain. After the easy defeat of the antagonist in the first book, I was very disappointed when it seemed that the second book was gearing up for a retread. So I was extremely pleased when the villain in this book proved that she has earned the title villain. The Enchantress is a formidable enemy. Used sparingly, she was even more effective. My only complaint against her is that she is also afflicted with the bad guy syndrome of talking too much.
Almost everyone in this book has this syndrome to be frank. But that can still be fixed in future releases. Colfer has loads of potential. What he needs now to be a better writer is a more discerning editor.