Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Early Review: Grim by Ellen Hopkins, Julie Kagawa, Amanda Hocking, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: NetGalley

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.

Anthologies are hard to rate, so this 4 star rating is for the book as a whole, and not the individual stories.
I had fun with this one, because I was determined to find out what fairytales all of these stories were retelling.
Let me say, it wasn't all that easy. I'm not sure I'm even right with quite a few of them, but after spending hours searching the web for clues, I think I've figured most of them out. However, if you think I'm wrong, please leave a comment and let me know what you think the story really was!
Here goes nothing...

The Key by Rachel Hawkins
4 stars
Really short story about a girl with the ability to touch people and read their thoughts. It was very creepy and the ending left quite a bit to the imagination! I had an extremely hard time finding a fairytale that even remotely resembled this one, but finally settled on a story I found called The Golden Key. That fairytale is short, has a cliffhanger ending (albeit, a rather boring one), and, uh...they word key is also in the title.
Anyone else got anything?

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready
3 stars
Weird story about a good-luck charm that acts as sort of an imaginary friend. The story kinda grew on me, and I thought the ending was cute and sweet.
This was one of the ones that I couldn't find anything on when I searched the Grimm library. I did find a story called Good Luck is Better Than Gold (by Juliana Horatia Ewing), but I don't really think it counts as a fairytale. It's not a story the Grimm brothers collected, and it's not really folklore. Is it?
So...anybody have any other ideas about this one?

The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo
3 stars
This is a pretty obvious (Finally! Thank God!) retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It's set in modern times at an elite boarding school. The main character wants to become part of the exclusive group of girls, who seem to come and go as they please on campus. Rumor has it they dance the night away...
This one is darker, and the ending is left to the reader's imagination.

The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron
3.5 stars
Ok. I'd never heard of The Raven, but at least this one wasn't hard to find.
The short story closely mirrors the actual fairytale, with the exception of the ending. I liked the author's twist on things, and I enjoyed finding a new fairytale, but it didn't blow my mind. It gets the extra half star for introducing me to something new.

Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell
5 stars
This story rocked my purple fuzzy socks off!
It's a retelling of Donkeyskin...but served with a steaming cup of revenge!
If you aren't familiar with the tale, it involves a king who wants to marry his daughter. Ewwww! The original story didn't quite end the same way, but I think most of you will love the way Mitchell's version goes down!
This is definitely not a fairlytale for children.

Before the Rose Bloomed: A Retelling of the Snow Queen by Ellen Hopkins
2.5 stars
As the title suggests, this was, um...a retelling of The Snow Queen. It stays fairly faithful to the original, which is fine, but it would have been cool to see something different.

Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton
4.5 stars
This was a really good retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  Beauty had a wild edge to her, and the Beast was very mild-mannered. It focused on why the freedom to choose who you love means so much to us. Lovely ending!

The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa
4 stars
This was a dark retelling of The Three Little Pigs.
No, seriously! That ending is freaky!
Loved Kagawa's creepy twist on the tale.

Untethered by Sonia Gensler
4 stars
It's a ghost story with twist...
Well played, Ms. Gensler. I didn't see it coming.
Here was another one that had me burning up Google till the wee hours of the morning. What fairytale was this based on?!
Well, I think I found it!
Ok, there's this obscure tale called, The Shroud. Has anyone heard of it?
Yeah. Didn't think so.
Anyone else got a better guess?

Better by Shaun Hutchinson
4 stars
I love that this one had a sci-fi setting! A clone used for medical experiments on a spaceship falls in love with a boy. She's been told she's not real, but what actually makes us human?
I'm guessing this one was Pinocchio.
I'm a REAL boy!
And by the way, does anybody know if Pinocchio is in the Grimm collection? I can't find anything definitive, and if not, it would go a long way toward my Good Luck is Better Than Gold theory!

Light It Up by Kimberly Derting
4.5 stars
Damn fine modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel!
Nothing says 'I love my step-kids' quite like dumping them in the woods with a cannibalistic serial killer. But the real moral of the story should always wear flame retardant clothing when you are preparing to cook children.

Sharper than a Serpent's Tongue by Christine Johnson
4 stars
Cool twist on the classic Diamonds and Toads story. The good sister receives the blessing. Jewels and flowers that fall from her mouth with each word. And the bad sister receives the curse of snakes and toads falling from her mouth.
But which is the good sister, and which is really cursed?

A Real Boy by Claudia Gray
3.5 stars
Dystopian/sci-fi setting for what I'm guessing is Pinocchio. A human and an android fall in love, with a sweet Happily Ever After ending to it! Cute story.

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire
1.5 stars
This entire story made very little sense to me as I read it. Creepy musicians who are in a band, like to take women home and skin them alive. So they can sell the skin.
One of the guys fall for a woman in the crowd...and decides to change his ways. She loves him, so I guess they live happily ever after?
Looks like this one is a retelling of The Robber Bridegroom.
Gee, can't imagine why Disney hasn't made a movie out of this yet...

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan
4 stars
This story doesn't take itself seriously at all, so it's a really nice addition to this collection. Beauty lives in a fairytale-like reality, and the Beast (or The Chad) has been sucked into that world from ours. Beauty is honorable, and tries to take on her father's (alleged) debt to The Chad, by pretending to be a boy.
Doesn't make sense?
Don't worry, it totally does, Dude!
Very cute Beauty and the Beast!

The Pink by Amanda Hocking
4 stars
This was (yet another) story I hadn't heard of, but Hocking made it easy to find. The Pink is the actual name of the story she retold, so...yeah. Thank you!
This one follows the original closely, with the exception of what happens to the Queen and King in the end.
The gist is that a young prince, who has the gift of wishes, gets kidnapped by an evil palace cook. He wishes for a  female BFF, and they eventually fall in love.
Now all they need to do is get their HEA, right?
I gave it an extra half star for telling me a new fairytale!

Sell Out by Jackson Pearce
3 stars
Modern day retelling of Snow White, but from the perspective of the prince. Prince Charming is broke, has a crappy home life, and lots of bills. However, his kiss can raise the dead. Somehow, he works for an agency that sells services like his to the upper crust. He makes his living reviving dead rich folks and their kids. Guess it doesn't pay much, though.
Enter the evil step-mother.
Will he take her bribe and leave Snow dead?
Eh. It was ok, and it was definitely a different take on the classic.

Some average stories, lots of good ones, a few stinkers, and a couple that blew me away.
This is one of the better anthologies I've read, and I had a ton of fun reading this sucker! I'd highly recommend it to fans of this genre. Besides, I want you to read it, and let me know if you guys think I've got any of these stories wrong!


Laura Thomas said...

These all sound really fun. What's great about collections is there are some that are really good and since they're all short, you aren't spending too much time with the ones you don't care for. And when written by multiple authors, you get a sampling of their writing.


I agree!

Anonymous said...

"Figment" is based off of the French fairytale "Puss in Boots".

Beth Gray said...

I'm pretty sure The Key is meant to be a retelling of Bluebeard.

Anonymous said...

The Raven Princess is more of a crossover of The Raven and The Swan Princess

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