ARC Book Review: Grim edited by Christine Johnson


Title: Grim
Edited by Christine Johnson
Release Date:  25th February 2014
Genre: Young Adult, fairytale retelling
Format: ebook
Page Count: 480 (paperback)
Source: Netgalley
Rating: (actually 3.5 but am being generous)

4 of 5 hearts

Grim is a collection of 17 short stories based off fairy tales collected by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Some of the tales are better known such as Beauty and the Beast and The Snow Queen, and some are lesser known, such as The Shroud and The Robber Bridegroom.

Overall Grimm was quite a good book and served to introduce me to a range of new authors, some of whom I have become instant fans. Grimm is good as a taster of sorts, to try out authors without committing to a full-length novel. I’m not reviewing each individual story here: for that, you can visit my Booklikes blog for status updates or see my status updates on my Goodreads review.

The only 1 star story was:

  • Skin Trade (The Robber Bridegrom) by Myra McEntire

I believe this one to be the most poorly written. I know short stories have brevity but this missed out a whole lot of details and made me feel like I was only getting half the story. I was also unsatisfied with the conclusion as it left too many threads open.

The 2 star stories were okay:

  • Before the Rose Bloomed (The Snow Queen) by Ellen Hopkins
  • The Pink (The Carnation) by Amanda Hocking
  • The Raven Princess (The Raven) by Jon Skovron.

These three stories were straight retellings, just the original fables in the author’s own words, with nothing unique or twisty or particularly dark about them, and sometimes didn’t take full advantage of the fairy tale elements of their particular story. They were written in a strangely detached way which meant I didn’t care about the characters, and I wasn’t impressed, although they were fine as straight retellings.

I liked the 3 star stories:

  • The Key (Bluebeard) by Rachel Hawkins
  • Light It Up (Hansel & Gretel) by Kimberly Derting
  • Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue (Diamonds and Toads) by Christine Johnson
  • Sell Out (Snow White) by Jackson Pearce

These were good stories with clever twists, but they were missing a certain oomph, often had strange or sudden endings, and in my humble opinion weren’t as imaginative or as well written as the higher rated ones. I also had different issues with each story and can sum it up as they simply didn’t hit all my buttons.

I really enjoyed the 4 star stories:

  • The Twelfth Girl (12 Dancing Princesses) by Malinda Lo
  • Thinner Than Water (Cat-Skin) by Saundra Mitchell
  • Untethered (The Shroud) by Sonia Gensler
  • A Real Boy (Pinocchio) by Claudia Gray
  • Beauty and the Chad (Beauty and the Beast) by Sarah Rees Brennan

These stories had imaginative, unique twists and were beautifully written, and used the fairy tale elements in clever, unique ways. I’m going to look up the authors that I’ve not read before up, because I imagine their full-length novels would be just as good.

The 5 star stories were amazing:

  • Figment (Puss in Boots) by Jeri Smith-Ready
  • Beast/Beast (Beauty and the Beast) by Tessa Gratton
  • The Brothers Piggett (The Three Little Pigs) by Julie Kagawa
  • Better (The Pied Piper) by Shaun David Hutchinson

These stories made me instant fans of the authors. I want each in a full-length novel. Not only were they beautifully written, but the fairy tale elements were used in a unique, imaginative way to assist in the amazing world building, and I had ALL THE FEELS while reading these stories. They made my heart sing with love. I’ve not read any of these authors before but I am for sure going to get my grubby little mitts on their books, because anyone who can create that level of emotion in me with just a short story deserves all their books to be read.

Thanks to HarlequinTeen and Netgalley for providing this review copy for an honest review.

View all my reviews


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Grim edited by Christine Johnson

    1. Nemo

      Some of them were absolutely amazing and some not so much, but that’s what you get when you throw a bunch of writers together and don’t clearly define what you’re setting out to achieve.

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