A Tale of Witchcraft: A Tale of Magic, Book 2

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
A Tale of Witchcraft: A Tale of Magic, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Magic, villainy run amok in wildly imaginative sequel.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy, meant to entertain. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages of inclusion, friendship, compassion, courage, and thinking outside the box to help your loved ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not everyone is what they seem, as various characters learn to their cost. But Brystal (even when she's delusional) never veers from trying to do the right thing, whatever the situation. Having picked up the mantra and the mantle of Compassion, she holds up well under a barrage of neediness from just about everybody.  Lucy, the future Mother Goose, retains her talent for trouble (and also for figuring out when it's lurking), which puts her on the outs with Brystal and sends her to a witch academy. As usual, her version of world-saving is often highly unusual, but often works (when it isn't causing disaster). The various young members of the Fairy Council are kind, supportive, talented, and good at teamwork. Once again Colfer bashes true-believer characters who preach religion and want to stamp out magic, and as usual they are over-the-top cartoons. Young witches are into gambling, and have a betting pool on practically everything.

Violence

An entire royal family is murdered. A wedding is bombarded with ancient magical weapons. A character is killed and returns from the dead; an entire subplot involves the troubled relationship between Death and his daughter, who wants to go on living. Curses and other witchcraft cause havoc. A villain raises an army of dead soldiers. Aspiring witches learn that every spell they cast alters their physical appearance in some way, usually grotesque.

Sex

Some attraction between Brystal and a prince.

Language

A character exclaims, "Piss off!" Occasional butt references, and some humor around Dam Day, a village's celebation of the structure that keeps it dry. A bit of bathroom and fart humor, especially as a character is partially transformed into a skunk, and another turns people's beer into dog pee. Insults are frequent and lively.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brystal's older brother has become a pathetic drunk in the wake of Book 1's events.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chris Colfer's A Tale of Witchcraft is the second volume in his A Tale of Magic series, which in turn is the origin story for The Land of Stories series and its many spin-offs. Compared with many of his other works, there's relatively little religion-bashing (although the villainous secret society seeking to stamp out magic and tolerance are cartoonishly religious, in the male-dominated and human-supremacist variety of religion), and less bawdy humor than usual. Character motivations are dashed off in hurried, platitudinous, italics-packed soliloquies. Basically, it's the minimal amount of narrative glue required to connect one outrageously imaginative scene after another, culminating in an epic battle and setting up the next installment. Violence includes an entire royal family murdered, a wedding bombarded with ancient magical weapons. There are corpses galore, a tale of Death and his daughter, a character who returns from the dead, and an army of undead soldiers. Also, as the title suggests, witchcraft. One character is a drunk.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byjpurdy500 March 17, 2021

AN AMAZING MUST-READ

"A Tale of Witchcraft" is a truly WONDERFUL book that I think all kids should read no matter what their age. I know a couple of adults who've ac... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 19, 2020

A Tale of Greatness

I have been a fan of the Land of Stories for a long time and I have never seen something be such a good book that it passed the original. I specifically liked t... Continue reading

What's the story?

As A TALE OF WITCHCRAFT opens, Brystal Evergreen, age 15,  is settling into her newfound role as Fairy Godmother and protector of magical beings, supported by her friends on the Fairy Council. Since she's set out to be the most compassionate being ever, Brystal's starting to get a bit worn down with the steady barrage of mundane neediness in the various kingdoms, but freedom and tolerance prevail, all is peaceful... But no. Called from the sleep of centuries, the Righteous Brotherhood (which liked the way things were before Brystal came along, i.e. male-dominated, repressive, and authoritarian) rises from centuries of sleep determined to get rid of Brystal and magical folk in general. And, testing the bounds of tolerance, a witch arrives on the doorstep inviting the fairy kids to come check out the witchcraft academy. Also, a shadowy would-be king seems to be plotting the death of the throne's current occupant. It all leads to a series of unfortunate events, culminating in a huge quarrel between Brystal and Lucy (the future Mother) Goose, followed by Lucy heading to the witchcraft academy. With, of course, the best intentions.

Is it any good?

Chris Colfer spins yet another wild tale of magical beings, free spirits, repressive patriarchies, old-school villains, witches, and also Death. Yes, it's all part of the continuing saga of Brystal Evergreen, Fairy Godmother, Compassion Personified, and matriarch of the world of his proliferating series. And it becomes A Tale of Witchcraft when the mysterious Mistress Mara shows up to recruit would-be witches. What could possibly go wrong -- even before Lucy Goose gets involved? Lots of bad guys are out to get Brystal and her fairy friends. Fortunately, they have a deep bond, plenty of courage, and an infinite supply of improving speeches.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how A Tale of Witchcraft takes well-known traditional characters and turns them into something else entirely. Do you like Chris Colfer's versions of fairy tale characters, or do you prefer the originals? Or do you like both?

  • How does the version of witchcraft that appears in A Tale of Witchcraft compare with how it's portrayed in other stories you know?

  • How can you tell whether someone is taking charge because they're a hero in a crisis or if they just like bossing other people around?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and humor

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