Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer

five out of five dragons
five out of five dragons

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I like the cover for Beyond the Kingdoms Honestly, I sometimes think middle-grade covers are better than YA covers. Partly because there is less pressure to put a pretty girl in a dress or an attractive boy without a shirt on the cover when the book is written for twelve-year-olds. I also like that the cover gives us a little hint of the story and how it will unfold.

I love that Colfer was able to take his idea further in this book than any of the others. Obviously in the other books he had other things going on, but in this book he was able to shift the focus and bring in more depth to the characters and the plot which I personally enjoyed a lot.

I can’t decide if I hope the series is done at five or six or if I hope it goes on a while longer. As long as there are still fresh ideas I think I can hop on the “go forever” bandwagon. If it starts to drag, then by all means go with the answer the red queen suggests “off with her head.” Just kidding, kind of.

I felt more connected to Alex and Connor in this one than in all the others. There is more development of how they feel and how they think. Also, there are some pretty big developments in this one in the characterization department. Alex thinks she can handle everything and maybe she can, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean. To put it simply Connor and Alex feel more real and less like tropes. There is no more “ugh boys are gross and girls smell like flowers” for which I was very grateful.

There was great action in this one. So many spells and decisions are made even within the first fifty or so pages. The idea for this one was super well done. If you haven’t read the other books in the series or the blurb on Goodreads about this one then this counts as a *spoiler* but if you have read them then you’re fine. The Masked Man is out and he is wreaking havoc by jumping into other stories. If you’ve made it this far in the series then you clearly love the idea of being able to jump into a fictional realm and this book takes it so much farther. It is the inception style book of jumping into books, but instead of a dream within a dream within a dream this is a book within a book within a book. Sounds trippy, but Colfer pulled it off. Honestly, I think his writing skill is improving with each book too. Which is why I’m happy he didn’t start off writing this book, but rather gave himself growing time with the first three. *end of spoiler*

I listened to this as an audiobook also (like half my books this year have been audiobooks, it’s weird) and it was read by the author. This can be a blessing or a curse. Due to Colfer’s acting ability it was a blessing, but he does have a high voice that struggles a little bit when he has to do a more rugged sounding character like Mother Goose, but that was part of the fun.  

I recommend this to lovers of middle-grade fiction and anyone with kids in this age range. You can read it together, like my husband and I did because we’re practically children.

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