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Cover image for Beyond the Kingdoms
Beyond the Kingdoms

Publication Information:
New York : Hachette Audio, ℗2015.
Physical Description:
7 audio discs (540 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Number in series:
bk. 4.
General Note:
Compact discs.
The Masked Man 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 twins Alex and Conner catch up to the Masked Man?


Call Number
Colfer, C.
+ BCD Colfer, C. Beyond
+ BCD Colfer, C. Beyond
J Colfer, C.

On Order



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

Author Notes

Chris Colfer was born in Clovis, California on May 27, 1990. While pursuing a career in film and television, he worked mornings before school in the cafeteria as a cookie scooper and summers as a clerk at a dry cleaners. He is best known for his role as Kurt Hummel on Glee. In 2011, he won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for this role. He is the author of The Land of Stories series and Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, based on his screenplay of the same name.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-7-Twins Alex and Connor, along with Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Mother Goose, and other characters chase a masked man-the twins' uncle-into stories such as The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. He is always a step ahead and bargains for troops to take over the kingdoms in the fairy world. Alex and Connor wind up separated in the stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood, needing to create a potion and get back to Oz. Peter Pan and the Tin Woodman join the adventures. Several subplots add depth to the narration-a girl finding genetic links to Wilhelm Grimm, Red Riding Hood marrying the Frog Prince, and a witch who takes life's energy from children. Colfer's narration is excellent, giving different voices to the many characters and keeping the pace of the rollicking story moving. VERDICT Adults will appreciate references to Hans Christian Andersen and other classic tales, while children will just appreciate good stories on their own terms.-Debbie Whitbeck, formerly of West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

The evil Masked Man is traveling through fantasy stories (both authored and folkloric) to gather an army of villains, while twins Alex and Connor, aided by fairy-tale friends, attempt to capture him. Slapdash character development is disappointing, but fans of the enjoyably imaginative series will be pleased with this madcap mash-up (think Lewis Carroll meets Once upon a Time). (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Twins Alex and Conner have traveled from our world into the Land of Stories before, but now other realms are available, thanks to a potion their deceased grandmother Anneliese (the Fairy Godmother) created to open portals. The potion has disastrous results when the twins' estranged uncle, Lloyd, uses it to enter fictional worlds and recruit an army of villains. With help from friends Red, Jack, Mother Goose, and Goldilocks Alex and Conner race against time and magic to try to stop Lloyd. This latest from Glee star Colfer takes readers beyond fairy tale kingdoms and into realms from literature: Oz, Neverland, Camelot, the Sherwood Forest, and Wonderland all appear. The pacing is fairly relentless, and readers new to the series may struggle to keep up with the large cast of characters (who are not what you might expect). Still, fans of reimagined fairy tales will be drawn to the whimsy, and Colfer's popularity ensures an audience. With a cliff-hanger ending to boot, fans may have a hard time waiting for the final installment of this series.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2015 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

YOU DON'T HAVE to own a knitted pink cap or the collected works of Roxane Gay to find the sexual politics of fairy tales troubling. Among the lessons fairy tales impart: Upward mobility is possible - if you're a ravishing beauty ("Cinderella"). Women don't need to talk - or breathe, really - as long as they are physically attractive ("Snow White"). Abducting women is a viable path to romance ("Beauty and the Beast"). The nonconsensual kissing of coma victims is a great way to meet your mate ("Sleeping Beauty"). Pretty retrograde, even in the post- Hillary era. Which is why recent retellings and mash-ups of fairy tales tend to give the Grimm brothers universe a feminist makeover, or at least a feminist sheen. Perhaps you remember Princess Fiona in the "Shrek" films, who had kung fu skills to rival Bruce Lee. Or Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," who helped slay the giantess - in part by directing her birds to distract her. In the recent live-action "Beauty and the Beast," Belle is an inventor and a proponent of female literacy (though she still falls in love with her kidnapper, so it continues to register high on the creepiness scale). The newest entry into the empoweredprincess genre is "Frogkisser!," by Garth Nix, who previously wrote the Old Kingdom series. "Frogkisser!" centers on a young princess named Anya who has to save the kingdom from a wicked sorcerer. To do so, she has to talk with dogs, ride an itchy magic carpet, rescue her sister's fiancé and kiss a pondful of frogs. Midway through the book, as Anya sets offto confront a coven of witches, one character asks her, "What kind of princess are you?" "Not the kind that needs rescuing," Anya says firmly. The revisionism doesn't end there. Three of Snow White's seven dwarves are female. And the prince she's trying to rescue? Well, he's handsome but not "all that clever." The audiobook is narrated by the actress and novelist Marisa Calin, who does a fantastic job. She has a British accent, which somehow makes all fairy tales 26 percent better. Her upbeat tone is wellsuited to the book's jaunty style and amusing quests - such as the search for a magic lip balm needed for proper amphibian kissing. My only complaint is that the book dragged a bit in the middle. I got lost trying to keep track of all the adventures and characters: "Now which is the half-otter, and which is the newt?" I'd ask my kids as we listened in the car. In my experience, keeping multiple characters straight is one of the few drawbacks of audiobooks in general. "FROGKISSER!" COMES several years after the actor Chris Colfer started to publish his own fairy-tale-inspired books with a girl-power twist. Colfer's series the Land of Stories follows a pair of 12-year-old twins who are magically sucked into a book of fairy tales. (My kids and I are on Vol. 3 of six of the hardcovers.) In Colfer's books, damsels are rarely in distress. Goldilocks, for instance, is a sword-wielding warrior and Sleeping Beauty hasn't slept in years because she's working tirelessly to reform her kingdom. Colfer's new audiobook, "The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales," is related to the series, but also a departure. It doesn't feature the adventuring twins, but instead is a straightforward collection of fairy tales. Twenty-five stories from the Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Andersen and others, are retold and tidied up a bit by Colfer. I recommend it for three reasons. First, Colfer - an actor most famous for playing a countertenor teenager on "Glee" - is a wizard at voices. In "Henny Penny," he gives distinct, birdlike cadences to a duck, a goose, hen, rooster and a turkey. His yawn from Goldilocks was convincing enough to make me yawn in the driver's seat. Second, I want my sons to know the original fairy tales, and not just get them filtered through reinterpretations. We live in a world where kids ingest the parodies before the real thing. My children have seen multiple "Twilight Zone" takeoffs (on "Futurama," for instance), but have never watched an episode of Rod Serling's show. I suffer from this too. I knew the Puss in Boots character from "Shrek," but embarrassingly had no notion of the original tale. (Which contains another useful moral: Blatant lies and fraud are the key to success.) Which brings me to my third reason, which is that fairy tales are great conversation starters. Not so much for the lessons they are trying to impart, which are often appalling, but as a way to spark interesting questions. When listening in the car, my kids and I talked about whether Jack is morally justified in stealing gold from the giant just because the giant is a terrible being. Also, does the maiden in "Rumpelstiltskin" owe nothing to the dwarf for his hard work? Perhaps not her firstborn, but at least a token? As I mentioned, Colfer has cleaned up the tales a bit. In terms of rawness, they fall somewhere between the Grimm and Disney versions. For instance, in the Grimm version, Cinderella's stepsisters chop offa toe and a slice of heel to fit in the slipper. Disney's "Cinderella" has no gore at all. Colfer's compromise: The stepsister "crammed her foot inside the slipper so tightly it started to bleed." Colfer has also, thankfully, leftout the truly horrible Grimm stories, like their tale "The Jew in the Thorns," about a miserly man who is sentenced to death. Not even Disney could make that palatable. But even when softened and redacted, listening to fairy tales can be demented, disturbing fun. A. J. JACOBS is the author, most recently, of "Drop Dead Healthy." His next book, "It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree," will be published in the fall.