Published: July 7th, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Book 4 in The Land of Stories
Length: 422 pages
Genre: Middle grade, fantasy, fairy tale retelling
Source: Borrowed from library
Summary from Goodreads:
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!
There are likely going to be spoilers for the first three books, so if you haven’t read them and don’t want them spoiled, you’ve been warned. 😉
For those of you unfamiliar with this series, this is a Middle Grade fairy-tale retelling. It’s kind of like Once Upon a Time in MG book form. Alex & Conner find out their grandmother is the Fairy Godmother and that there’s a fairy-tale world that exists in another dimension. They end up travelling to that world and meeting all sorts of different fairy-tale characters, learning magic, etc.
One thing I really liked in this book was that we got to see more worlds besides just the fairy-tale world and the “Otherworld” (our world). Alex and Conner travel to Neverland, Oz, and some others and I loved that we got to see a little bit about these different worlds. I would have really liked getting to see more of them, but since Alex and Conner were just trying to catch the Masked Man and he was moving pretty quickly through the stories, that didn’t happen.
With that said, I did feel like maybe the book was a little bit too long and perhaps one of these worlds could have been cut out to shorten the story a bit. As much as I loved getting to travel to all these different worlds, the book seemed to drag on and I think cutting out just one of these different worlds could have cut the story down enough where it wouldn’t seem to drag on so much.
I loved getting to return to all the characters from the previous books. Alex and Conner are always fun to read about, as I love the dynamics between them. Mother Goose is probably my favorite – she’s hilarious and I love how Colfer ties her into the history of our world.
Overall, Beyond the Kingdoms is another great installment in The Land of Stories. It’s a fun, exciting, and at times downright suspenseful story. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, The Author’s Odyssey.