I've been struggling to decide between 4 and 5 stars; I feel it would have been 5 if it wasn't for the way the Enchantress was defeated. Yeah, it was nice and politically correct, but I still didn't buy it. The rest of the book was amazing. I guess it's a 4.5.
Again, the story caught me and made me believe I was in the Land of Stories too. The way the author mentions several fairy tales and establishes connections between them is one of my favorite things about this series. I love catching even the smallest references. Everything makes sense and gives the original concepts more depth. I particularly loved the connection among Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin and the Beauty and the Beast. And the true meaning behind the spinning wheel!
My other favorite point: the characters. Especially the female ones. Even Red is a great and strong character, despite all her flaws. It's refreshing to read a story where the "strong female character" is the rule and not the oh-i'm-so-special-and-not-like-the-other-girls kind of exception. You don't think, while reading the book, "Oh, this is such a strong female character", because the book makes you take for granted that any female character is more likely to be strong. It feels more natural than the average fiction with the one and special "strong female character" we are used to.
I also like how the twins seemed more developed and showed more differences between them than the stereotypical ones, and more agency.
I supposed that Alex was staying in the Fairy-tale world since the beginning (I always felt she belonged there), and I was convinced of that since the Snow Queen's prophecy. The moment the twins realized that Bob was there too, it was more than confirmed. But I liked how those clues were given throughout the story.
What I didn't expect was the definitive closing of the portal between the two worlds. I still have a love-hate relationship with that part. It was good from the story-telling point of view, but it hurt my feelings and had me crying, so I don't know how to feel about it. Thanks Chris for making me laugh in the next page (he specially thanked HIS CAT BRIAN, I love this guy). And Brian's cameo in the book was hilarious!
What else could I say? The plot was more original and character-driven than the first book's, and the whole thing showed significant improvement. Again, I absolutely loved this book. I hope Chris decides to write a third one.
And I love Goldilocks even more now.