This whole review will be filled with spoilers.
Carson is a student who hates his circumstances. He lives in a small, close-minded town, with class mates who have no more motivation than his divorced parents. He lives with his mom who is always taking prescription pills and has lost the will to live after Carson’s father left. The only light in Carson’s life is his grandmother, but she has Alzheimer’s, lives in a nursing home, and doesn’t even remember who he is most days. Now, he can’t wait to get accepted into Northwestern so that he can get out of the town and start his career in journalism. His “guidance” counselor tells him that Northwestern wants a literary magazine, and since his horrible excuse for a writer’s club won’t do, Carson has to go a step further and blackmail people to writer for him.
I’ll be frank. I hate d Carson. I get it, he had divorced parents, a crappy social life, and everyone in his town was trying to drag him down. But was it really that way? Or did the other people in the town have problems as well that he just overlooked while he had a pity party for half of the book. Vicky, the girl who he blackmailed for being a devil worshiper, accidentally flashed her wrist cuts to him one day. Nick and Scott, who he blackmailed for having sex in the bathroom, were trying to keep their relationship hidden so they wouldn’t be shunned out of the town. Claire, head cheerleader, is sleeping with the father of her boyfriend who is also a school coach. She might seem happy with this man, but it could also be a case of an old man manipulating a young girl into feeling like she is in love. These are only a few of the people whom he targeted. This doesn’t seem like a town where everyone but Carson is happy and dancing around in the daisies, but no, Carson wants us to feel bad for him only.
Not only this, but Carson seems to be the time to just not even want to work with people that aren’t like him. Sure, he had a tough time in his high school where “no one” shared his interests. However, in the real world, there will always be people that you have to work for that you don’t like or don’t have anything in common with. That doesn’t mean that he could simply shut down, say that everyone else is stupid, and not work with them. Honestly, by the middle of the group, even I started to agree with the other kids about how annoying Carson was, constantly acting as if he was better than everyone else. I was glad when his mom threw his acceptance letter into the trash, because I thought that would finally show him that just because things don’t go the way that you wan’t doesn’t mean that they don’t have to go at all. Even if he had gotten in, with his attitude he wouldn’t have been a good journalist if he was stuck learning under a teacher or working under a boss that he didn’t like and decided to just give up.
Of course then, he died. That was so boo-hoo sad, he was struck by lightning and died at the end, of course it was because he was so happy and finally satisfied with his life. That should have been the ending I wanted, but at that point I was too annoyed with Carson to care.
Personally, I loved the first book of the Land of Stories series. Therefore, when I saw another book by Colfer, I immediately snatched it up. Now I understand why he focused more on the Land of Stories series, and I appreciate how much he’s grown as an author over the years. But for this book, I don’t recommend it.
Overall Rating: 1/5