By: Larissa | February 11, 2014 | (31) Comments

Review: GrimGrim by Amanda Hocking, Christine Johnson, Claudia Gray, Ellen Hopkins, Jackson Pearce, Jeri Smith Ready, Jon Skrovan, Julie Kagawa, Kimberly Derting, Malinda Lo, Myra McEntire, Rachel Hawkins, Sarah Rees-Brennan, Saundra Mitchell, Shaun David Hutchinson, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Romance, YA
Pages: 480
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!~

3.5 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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31 Responses to Review: Grim

  1. I had requested this book, but was sadly rejected, and after reading your review, I’m sure I would have loved it! I’m very into my retellings at the moment, or I’m at least excited to be, and after your review, this book is quite high on the list! I’m intrigued by the stories of Beauty and the Beast Puss in Boots. This is a fantastic review Larissa! 😀
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    • Larissa says:

      Awww, that’s disappointing! I hate when there’s a book you reallllly want and then your request gets declined. It stings haha. I’m glad you enjoyed this review, thank you so much for the lovely comment

  2. Jasprit says:

    I’m not typically one to pick up anthology books (I blame this entirely on the previous anthologies which I picked up and which didn’t leave the greatest impression with me). But this book sounds like something that I would enjoy. I’m especially excited about reading thr stories by Kagawa, Gratton and Brennan! Fab review!
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    • Larissa says:

      I’ve only read one other anthology, which I don’t really remember honestly. This one definitely captured my attention with the authors involved and the fairy-tale theme. Thank you 🙂

  3. Anthologies are very hit or miss for me, though I must say this one sounds rather promising. I love that it seems to be solid all-around, which is usually not the case. Lovely review, Larissa!
    Melissa @ i swim for oceans recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Will Make You SwoonMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, anthologies do tend to be that way for most. It really was solid, I enjoyed all of the stories really. Minus the one that I didn’t finish of course. Thank you 🙂

  4. Megan says:

    I love retellings, so I might try this one. Anthologies are so hard to review!
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  5. Siiri says:

    Even though the Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tales ever (I literally read it back to back so many times when I was a kid that I can tell you it was definitely more than 20 lol. I was 5 or 6 back then. YEAHHHH, I was a fan :D), but I’m not that big on verses–they’re so hard for me to follow so I get why you weren’t that into it. Sarah Rees Brennan can make anything into an original thing, even a text book I’m sure lol, so I’m fairly excited to see what she has done to my other favorite–Beauty and the Beast. I’m happy you enjoyed it and gosh, this cover and the authors in it are just friggggin amazeballs. I’m sorry you didn’t love it as a whole that much, but I’m glad you enjoyed some of these stories a bunch. Thanks for sharing, Larissa:)
    Siiri recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You SwoonMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I actually have never read the Snow Queen. Heinous, I know 😉 I definitely do need to check it out. Yeah, I’m okay with some stories told in verse however that one didn’t work for me at all. I really do need to check out more of Sarah Rees Brennan’s work. I do the cover! Oh, I still think I enjoyed the collection as a whole, just a few bad apples in there.

  6. Aww it looks like all the stories did really well for the most part, so yay! I didn’t know Julie was contributing to this anthology but her retelling sounds great! Fantastic review, Larissa! <33
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  7. I think I bought this book…if not, I have to have it! Beauty and the Chad seems like a really good part of the book! Great review, Larissa 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Haha 🙂 I hope you enjoy this one just as much as myself, or maybe even more! Beauty and the Chad was gave the book a much needed break from the darker stories, which was quite nice. Thank you!

  8. I don’t know a lot about the original fairy tales, so I think some of these would work better for me since I won’t know how they are meant to end. Seems like a fairly good anthology overall.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, some of these were more familiar then others for me. However for the ones I didn’t know, I looked them up. Maybe not the best choice. Still, this was a pretty good anthology 🙂

  9. Emily Mead says:

    This sounds really cool! Ellen Hopkins and Amanda Hocking and Sarah Rees Brennan, just…WOAH. I have to read this 🙂
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  10. Melliane says:

    I’m sorry I won’t read your whole review because I’m currently reading it and I confess I was sad by the first one because well no end but I liked it and the second is nice. For now I’m here lol but well I’ll try to finish it soon. I’m glad you liked it in the whole.
    Melliane recently posted…Waterlocked by Elizabeth HunterMy Profile

  11. I REALLY want to read this! Jon Skovron! I laughed out loud in Man Made Boy (pity his is a bit on the boring side?) So many awesome authors here and I’m SUCH a fan of the weird and creepy and fairy tales. 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      I hope you get to read it soon! I’ve never actually read any other books by Jon Skovron, I’ll have to check out Man Made Boy. It wasn’t boring per say, nothing just really stood out for me. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy this one then! 🙂

  12. Oooh I’m really excited to read Grim now, it sounds fantastic! I actually haven’t read the Grim version of these fairy tales (makes me think I really should) and I’m glad this one is chock full of the retellings. Great review Larissa!
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  13. Once I heard about this anthology I wanted to read it, and after reading your review I want to read it even more. I love fairy tale retellings. There are a few stories on here I haven’t heard of before which is really exciting, I especially like fairy tale retellings that aren’t your run of the mill. Great review, thanks for sharing 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      I hope you get to read Grim soon 🙂 I also quite love fairy tale retellings. I hadn’t honestly heard of the majority of the original stories, so it was interesting to learn more about them through the retellings. Thank you!

  14. Aimee says:

    I usually get bored reading anthologies considering the fact that they might get confusing since the authors can only tell us so much in a couple of pages. But I’m interested in some of these stories, such as The Key (I love Bluebeard!), The Twelfth Girl (The Twelve Dancing Princesses is a cute and interesting story–I mean, the Barbie version, lol! But sad that it didn’t work out for you) and Sell Out (Two fairy tales in one? From a male? Yes, please.) And there are some that I would read just for the author: Julie Kagawa’s & Jeri Smith-Ready’s. Lovely review(s), Larissa. ^_^
    Aimee recently posted…“Waiting On” Wednesday: Stitching SnowMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I’ve only read one other anthology and it had quite a lot of problems. I really loved the Key 🙂 I hope you enjoy the twelfth girl more than I did. The original story is pretty cute. I also remember watching a lot of barbie based fairytale movies, like Rapunzel and the Nutcracker lol. Sell out was quite the lovely surprise. Some of the authors I’ve read books from before, which made me want to read Grim even more. Thank you Aimee 🙂

  15. Oh gosh, I forgot this was coming out soon! I love fairy tales and am always drawn to retellings, even if I don’t always have the best of luck with them. I think the short story format might be helpful, though, since they mostly start out as short stories to begin with.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again for the nudge. I need to get it for the Hawkins alone, it’s good to hear that the transition from humor was done well.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Literary Swoon 2014: YA Authors Dish on their Fictional Crushes!My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Haha, I’m the worst at remembering release dates so I often also experience forgetting when a certain book comes out. I hope your luck with fairy tale retellings will improve with this anthology 🙂

      Hawkins, along with a few other authors, were the nudge I needed to read this one. Her story was definitely a lot less humor and more darkness/action. Though she did still manage to fit her paranormal elements in, which was interesting.

  16. I haven’t really read everything in this anthology yet (only the first four stories) and I agree with all of them, especially regarding the Raven Princess. Now, I haven’t finished it yet but it’s only because I found it hard to be so engaged in a story that had such convenient twists… I dunno, I really did not like the Raven Princess ._. I kept on asking, “Why does the girl know how to speak English when she lived her life as a raven?” BOOM TWIST “Ohhhhh, I see, she becomes normal one hour after midnight x_x O…kaaaay….” haha. I just can’t accept stuff like that ><
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