Review: Pages & Co. Tilly and The Lost Fairytales

A magical adventure to delight the imagination. The curl-up-on-the-sofa snuggle of a series from a uniquely talented author.

Tilly Pages is a bookwanderer; she can travel inside books, and even talk to the characters she meets there. But Tilly’s powers are put to the test when fairytales start leaking book magic and causing havoc . . .

On a wintery visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend Oskar bravely bookwander into the land of fairytales to find that characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed-up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. Can Tilly work out who, or what, is behind the chaos so everyone gets their happily-ever-after?

The second enthralling tale in the bestselling PAGES & CO series.

Tilly Pages and her best friend Oskar are off Bookwandering into the land of Fairy Tales, where they come across beloved fairy tale characters and ultimately find themselves at the heart of another mystery that raises the stakes and may alter the fabric of British Bookwandering forever.

I’ll say from the offset I wasn’t as enamoured with the follow up as I was the first book. The main reason being this doesn’t have as strong of a feel good nature throughout. This is because the story has shifted gear into a heavier political and bureaucratic tone with the Pages family having increasing tension with the British Underlibrary, as well as there being multiple tensions within the Pages family.

Tilly is much edgier in this read, which was interesting, but sadly disappointing when it came to her family. I understand teenage rebellion and appreciate it when it’s well conceived and used, which I can’t say it wasn’t, yet it still didn’t sit right with me. When I think of Pages & Co., I think of cosy and happy reading… which this wasn’t imo. There was too much tension between Tilly and her grandparents, which predominantly came across as sad and brought the mood down.

I felt a lot happened and I can’t help but feel, if it had been stripped back a little, I’d maybe have enjoyed the read more. It’s hard to explain without giving some plot spoilers, but one minute we’re in France, then Bookwandering, then Britain again and then Bookwandering. Combined with the angst in the Pages family and with the Underlibrary, it was actually quite stressful to read, if I’m honest. That’s what I meant by the feel-good-factor isn’t as much this time around. It’s by no means a bad story, it’s extremely well plotted and has clear development, I guess I just missed how magical the atmosphere of the first book was. In one way, my anxiety shows how much James has created a world and characters I love wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, I definitely felt the book was too full on- like the quantity of plot events trumped the quality of the plot events – just marginally – to make me feel a bit overwhelmed by the volume but left wanting in substance.

But Pages & Co. has hands down one of the best make-your-blood boil villains I’ve read in children’s fiction! I love to hate the baddie so much. I genuinely was spluttering with rage at one point; James has wrote the villain so well!

I really enjoyed the adventure and mystery side of things. This time around, Tilly and Oskar are venturing into fairy tales – where they meet a variety of colourful characters, from Jack and the Beanstack to Rapunzel and Prince Charming.

I would pay good money to see these books brought to life on the big screen, preferably animated. I want to see if my imagination did James’ writing justice – I could see the woodlands, the castles, the ink splatterings.

By the end of this book, I was holding my breath and then gasping “that’s it?! Really? No! You can’t leave it there!”… This instalment leaves a lot of open threads to be explored in the third book, which I’m really looking forward to. But, at the same time, I loved the idea and foundation of this series. I’ll be honest and say, my continuation of the books is really dependent on what Tilly and the Map of Stories delivers. I thought Tilly and the Lost Fairytales was a dramatic, interesting and world expanding instalment, which has great series development but regrettably didn’t have nearly as much heart as Tilly and the Bookwanderers.

But also, once again, the illustrations and hardcover design of this book are delightful. I didn’t think the publishers could outdo themselves, but alas, I was so wrong. The naked hardcover design and the illustrations within are absolutely stunning and will make any bookworm’s heart swell, and undoubtedly will be a hit with children too. Well done and thank you!


Buy It Now

Pages & Co. Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James
Published September 2019
Genre: children’s fiction, fantasy, adventure

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