Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:
Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Kimberly Derting, Myra McEntire, Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees-Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Christine Johnson, Jeri Smith Ready, Shaun David Hutchinson, Saundra Mitchell, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton and Jon Skrovan.
Grim is an anthology written by some great YA authors. The short stories that make up it are all fairy tale retellings. I enjoyed all of them to a point, with the exception of one. Some of the stories were a little bit more enjoyable and memorable than others though. Therefore, I will give a quick review of each to showcase my feelings towards each story.
The Key By Rachel Hawkins, a retell of Bluebeard
I wasn’t sure of what to expect with Rachel, her writing style is usually more humorous and I wasn’t sure how it’d fit into the fairy tale re-tell. However I shouldn’t have doubted Rachel, she wrote this story amazingly. In just the few pages she created a main character that was extremely likeable and relatable. With this short story Rachel definitely put her own spin on the Bluebeard story. In fact, I didn’t even see the final plot twist coming. It took me by surprise and I found myself reeling from the ending. This would be a case where I’d love to see this short story as a full length novel. One of my favorites of the whole anthology.
Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready, a retell of Puss in Boots
I really didn’t know much about Puss in Boots going into this short story, other than Antonio Banderas voices him in Shrek and he has some really cute eyes (; Haha. Joking aside, this was a very interesting short story. It was told in a very interesting way, I can’t tell you exactly how without spoiling things. It was truly unique though and gave the story a great voice. There was also an understated creepiness to this whole story which I quite enjoyed. In the short time this story managed to make me invested in the characters, which is quite a feat.
The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo, a retell of the Twelve Dancing Princesses
This story didn’t work for me. Though it did derive enough from the original for me, I had other issues with it. Writing a short story is quite difficult and you need to engage the reader from the very start, there’s no room for a slow beginning. There’s also not much room for development, therefore you need to make the most out of what you got. For me this is where the problem in this short story lied. I feel like this story was too underdeveloped and could have been better explained in some points, which instead were used for other purposes that weren’t exactly needed. There was a romance between two girls, but for me it had no development at all and appeared out of nowhere. It felt very inorganic.
The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron, a retell of The Raven
This was a retell of the classic Brother’s Grimm fairy tale and I recognized it almost immediately. Overall there wasn’t much difference between the two which was slightly disappointing. There was a twist at the end which was nice though. The compulsive writing style this short story had was quite nice. This one wasn’t bad necessarily, just not very memorable.
Thinner than Water by Saundra Mitchell, a retell of Donkeyskin
I never heard of this tale before I read this short story. This short story was probably the most mature out of all the stories in this anthology and dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. It dealt with a unwanted relationship between a beloved king and his daughter. It definitely made me uncomfortable, which was the point. It provoked me, made me feel disgust, anger and sadness. This was amplified since I adored the main character. The ending of this story was pretty open, but I really hope the main character got her deserved justice. The ending also was different from the story which this was inspired by, which was nice.
Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins, a retell of the Snow Queen
This was probably the most disappointing story out of all of them. I just couldn’t read it, no matter how hard I tried. It was hard to get into and didn’t keep my interest. I feel like this was due to the fact that this was told in verse. To me, it made the story clunky and it just didn’t flow. It bothered me, I could read the lines just as if they were told in regular prose. To write it in verse seemed unnecessary. When I read poetry, it needs to be written that way for a reason. It needs to have a heartbeat. For me Before the Rose Bloomed didn’t have that. If you’re looking for a better retell of the Snow Queen, I’d recommend watching Disney’s Frozen.
Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton, a retell of Beauty & the Beast
This was good! It featured some classic elements from the original meanwhile taking some new points and melding them together to make a solid retell. The romance was quite well done and I adored the ending. I don’t really have much to say about this one. However out of the two Beauty & the Beast retellings, this one was the weak one for me. It honestly wasn’t that memorable , I really had to think about this one before writing this review.
The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa, a retell of The Three Little Pigs
I was most excited to read this short story, though I never expected it to be a retell of the Three Little Pigs! Julie masterfully crafted this short story and spun the original on its head while also keeping major points from it. I really enjoyed her darker take on things and I couldn’t tear my eyes from this story. It was developed so well, and I found myself holding my breath as the climax unfolded. Even now I can remember specific details from this story, it was really that memorable. The Brothers Piggett really was one of my favorite short stories.
Untethered by Sonia Gensler, a retell of The Shroud
This one was based on a very obscure story, one that I totally never heard of before. I found myself captivated by the tale and felt genuine sympathy for two of the characters. The ending totally baffled me at first, I had to re-read it again to fully comprehend it. Yeah, the ending definitely contained a major plot twist.
Better by Shaun David Hutchinson, a retell of The Pied Piper
This one had a sci-fi setting, which I found cool. It would have been nice to have that setting described better, but I suppose this is a short story. The ending was quite interesting, included a sacrifice which is always multi-layered and complex.
Lit it up by Kimberly Derting, a retell of Hansel & Gretel
This was fairly good, though the ending did seem quite rushed. Even though the ending was rushed and basically the same as the original, it still managed to spook me. I really felt a quick connection to the character and loved the relationship between the brother & sister. It felt genuine and they brought out the best in each other.
Sharper than a Serpent’s Tongue by Christine Johnson, a retell of Diamonds and Toads
This one brought up a thought provoking question, especially with the very last line. However it felt like not much occurred in the story itself and even for a short story it felt… well short. Really would have liked more development in this one. I feel like it had a lot of potential that wasn’t met.
A Real Boy By Claudia Gray, a retell of Pinocchio
This was another sci-fi story, but I feel like it was developed better. There was also a romance in it, which I really quite enjoyed. I felt it was pretty well developed for a short story and super cute. It takes inspiration from the original without losing what made the original great. I really believe that this would make an actually great full length novel.
Skin Trade by Myra McEntire, a retell of The Robber Bridegroom
Didn’t like this one very much. It was quite mediocre and the romance felt stilted. I expected a lot from this one and sadly ended up being disappointed.
Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan, a retell of Beauty & the Beast
For me this was the better retelling of Beauty of the Beast. It was actually a very funny read, which surprisingly worked for me. Some of the lines actually made me laugh out loud. The romance between a modern day Beast and a Beauty from the past was adorable and entertaining to say the least. It’s a completely new and unique take on the tale, which made it one of my favorites of this collection.
The Pink by Amanda Hocking, a retell of The Pink
I hadn’t heard of this one so I looked it up. That was a mistake of mine since this retelling follows the original super closely. Minus a twist at the end, this one didn’t really bring anything new to the fairy tale.
Sell out by Jackson Pearce, a retell of Snow White/Sleeping Beauty
This one was told by a male perspective, which was very much unexpected decision. It definitely made this story different from the originals. For me the story was just getting interesting as it ended, I would like to see this one done as a full length novel. I think it was a good story to end the collection with.
Overall Grim was anthology full of fairytale retells, some better done than others. I’d definitely recommend it to those who enjoy new takes on classic stories.
~Thank you Harlequin Teen for sending me this copy!~
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