Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update. Colfer packs his text with vocabulary-enhancing words, like "interaction," "temperament," "rhetorical," "consequences," "euphoria," "catastrophizing.
Strong messages of diversity, inclusion, respect for one another's particular talents, teamwork, kindness, and loyalty. Also, eye-rollingly broad-brushed bashing of everything Colfer likes to sneer at, like religion and gender stereotypes, from the snarky protagonist and the snarkier narrator.
For example, "'Magic is an insult to God and nature, and a danger to morality as we know it,' King Warworth of the West remarked. Luckily for him, the statement distracted his people from rumors about the eight illegitimate children he had fathered with eight different mistresses. Definitely behind the door when humility was passed out, Brystal rarely considers the possibility that she might be wrong about something, foreshadowing her adult self -- smart, courageous, determined, kind-hearted, and never reluctant to give "uplifting," bossy speeches to everyone from small children and friends to kings and witches.
Her teen pals, who will also appear in The Land of Stories in later life, are believably flawed and vulnerable one mentions having gambling debts, and another's magic powers have killed people by accident but also bound by strong loyalty and each getting a chance to shine. On occasion, the teen characters do something they know is wrong -- like when they break into their revered teacher's office, snoop through all her stuff, and guzzle her non-alcoholic drink stash -- with no consequences whatever.
Adult characters, even well-meaning ones, are conflicted and compromised by a lot of closed minds and bad choices but sometimes offer support and wisdom. Violence is pretty much everywhere, whether in mortal combat between magical beings or a human society that uses the death penalty with gusto against anyone it finds threatening, and frequently imprisons and enslaves others.
Characters are captured and threatened with death.
A spell to bring a murdered man back to life goes badly awry. A kid whose magical powers have gone out of control and caused massive destruction tries to commit suicide.
One incident involves a vivid description of a family instantly frozen to death in mid-dinner. One character bursts into flame a lot.
A character is scarred from what she describes as a past attempt to burn her at the stake. One scene has a woman feeding live chickens to a Venus flytrap.
Brief reference to a king's "eight illegitimate children he had fathered with eight different mistresses. The teens four girls and a boy dive into bed together because of a scary storm, but there's nothing sexual. A character says, "I'm a friggin' fairy!
More reliant on good storytelling and plot coherence, and shorter on the wisecracks and slapstick than the earlier stories, the tale retains lots of classic Colfer touches: He satirically skewers hypocrisy, politics, religion, gender stereotypes, and more, while frequently bursting into cheerleader-like inspirational speeches. It's a compelling, fast-moving tale with well developed characters, many of them "fairies," magical beings fleeing oppression and murder, often at the hands of their own families. There's a lot of violence, magical and otherwise, including a vivid description of a family instantly frozen to death in mid-dinner, and a kid whose magical powers have gone out of control and caused massive destruction tries to commit suicide.
Amid the mayhem, there are strong messages of kindness, teamwork, inclusion, and being the best you can be. Add your rating See all 3 parent reviews. Add your rating See all 15 kid reviews. Aided by her kind brother, Brystal's been sneaking books for some time before her secret compulsion le her to volunteer as a maid at the library, while not being exactly truthful with her parents about what she's doing.
Before long, she discovers a secret room full of banned books "History and Other Lies," "The War on Women," "Losing Faith in Faith," and more and soon devours them all. Of course, it doesn't take long till she's caught. Will she be sentenced to death like so many before her, or is this just the beginning of her adventures?
Chris Colfer's in fine form in this lively origin story about characters who, later in life, play ificant roles in The Land of Stories series. Especially year-old Brystal Evergreen, whose determination, brains, and kind heart pit her against prejudice, ignorance, and cruelty. The fast-moving tale is more tightly written and less slapstick-silly than the original series. Both Colfer and his audience have matured a bit since the first series launched in A Tale of Magic 's characters are complex, relatable, and often deal with their own tragedies as they face many perils in trying to make the world safe for people like them.
Punctuating it all, encouraging pep talks like this from Brystal:. So don't think worse of yourself, let this change how you think of yourself. Start valuing who you are, more than what you are. Prove you're better than most people by showing more acceptance and empathy. And fuel your pride with what you earn and createinstead of what you're born with. Do you think reading about the characters as they appear here gives you a better understanding of their older selves in the original series?
Or, if you haven't read the original books yet, does this make you want to ?
As you look around your own community and school, do you see rules and customs that make no sense to you? Do you just live with them, or try to change them? Have you ever figured you were the only person who thought a certain way about something, and then you met someone who felt the same? Did anything change in your life because of it? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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A Tale of Magic.
Popular with. Imaginative, lively tale launches Land of Stories prequels. Chris Colfer Fantasy Rate book. Read or buy.
Based on 3 reviews. Based on 15 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Get it now on Searching for streaming and purchasing options Did this review miss something on diversity?
The parents' guide to what's in this book. Educational Value. Positive Messages.