Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Grim by various authors


Authors: Christine Johnson, Kimberly Derting, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Amanda Hocking, Ellen Hopkins, Shaun Hutchinson, Julie Kagawa, Malinda Lo, Myra McEntire, Saundra Mitchell, Jackson Pearce, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jon Skovran, Jeri Smith-Ready
Release: February 25th 2014
Genre: Anthology, Fairy Tales, YA


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.


Alright, since it's hard to simply review anthologies themselves, I'm going to do the same thing I did with my review of Enthralled, I'll say one or two sentences to each, state if I've read something by the author before and then try to do a little resumée at the end. Sound good? Right, here we go.

The Key by Rachel Hawkins

It was nice. It had a really different atmosphere, but no particular thrilling elements or anything in that direction, but it was alright.

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready

Awwww, this was REALLY cute. A very nice, fluffy and heart-warming story.

The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo

I'll say it was interesting, and I was intrigued because of the barely there mythology/fey aspects, but the ending was a bit ... too open for my tastes. 

The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron

Well, I liked it well enough, although it was a bit random after all.

Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell

This anthology is really blunt with its themes, so far we've had a gay couple, attempted murder and possibly even rape, and now again abuse and rape, kinda. I like that, actually, because I think it's important not to romanticize these things. So obviously, this short story was pretty terrifying, but I also loved how the heroine handled this very badass-ly.

Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins

I liked that it was written like a play, but I didn't exactly see the point of it. I think it would have been better if it had just been written as a normal short story, I appreciate trying to include different forms of literature, but ... it was a little awkward sometimes. Anyway, The Snow Queen is also a fairytale I've always adored, and so I quite enjoyed this one, however, it was a little too fairytale-y. Like, everything conveniently worked out so well for the character, others always offered their help for little to nothing in return, etc., you know? There was nothing "dark" or "twisted" about this fairytale other than the icy horror the original fairytale had already carried. 

Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton

I'd like to know what was original about this? I mean it was a pretty accurate retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but ... where was the catch? Where was the "improvement", or whatever, because I didn't see it? Like I said, it was a 1:1 retelling, with no new things added or something...

The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa

Weeeell, this was a simple retelling as well, yeah there were some minor things altered and added in, but essentially, the same as the original fairytale. However, Kagawa gets a few bonuses: First, she didn't choose a very "mainstream" fairytale that everyone knows, secondly, for some reason I always loved this fairytale when I was younger, and thirdly, she's also brutal. I love that about her and her books, she's not trying to cover up the violence. Also, a thousand bonus points for having a character named Isaac. I love this name (No not because of Isaac Lahey, not at all)... Seriously, if you can name one good YA novel that has a character with the name Isaac in it, TELL ME.

Untethered by Sonia Gensler

MINDFUCK. Man, this really surprised me at the end, I never would have expected that. It seemed so simple at first, and it actually is because there's not much happening, mostly only talking, but it manages to have a huge plot twist nevertheless, so ... I quite liked that.

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Well, it was interesting, I'll say. I liked the end, because I've noticed that a lot of these short stories had real fairy tale, trademark happy endings and I'm left to wonder where the "dark twists" are that the blurb promised me. 

Light It Up by Kimberly Derting

Oh man. I love modern versions of fairytales and just when you think you couldn't really modernize Hansel and Gretel, Kimberly punches a hole through the wall and is like, "HEARD YOU WERE TALKING SHIT."  A really cool retelling.

Sharper than a Serpent's Tongue by Christine Johnson

If I had to guess, I'd say that this was a retelling of Mother Hulda? I don't know, I think there's a pretty "unpopular" fairytale that's very similar to the Mother Hulda one, but I can't think of it now. Anyways, it was a little random too, especially the end, but still nice enough, I guess.

A Real Boy by Claudia Gray

Well. I have read another short story by Claudia Gray before, but not an actual full-length novel. Anyways, I really liked this one, I'd say it was my third favorite of them all, because while it was similar to Hutchinson's one, I think that Gray managed to make it seem a bit more ... real. It was more heartfelt and simply written a little better in my opinion. 'Twas cute.

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire

I have absolutely no clue which fairytale this is supposed to be based off of, but whatever it is, I'm sure I don't want to ever read that one. It was creepy and I still have no clue what I actually read right there. What? What?! (Although I do love the title for some reason)

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan

Man. This was pure freaking genius, you hear me? This short story right here was my absolute favorite with a huge headstart, I think I've seldom come across such a brilliant idea. I never would have thought of this, nor would I ever have expected a Beauty and the Beast retelling to be this creative and awesome. Seriously. I was feeling a little annoyed because I was like, Ugh yet another retelling of Beauty and the Beast in this anthology, but damn, Brennan was the first one to really bring a new and exciting twist into it. My motivation to read something else by her has spiked anew.

The Pink: A Grimm Story by Amanda Hocking

Hmm. This one was also way too happy and cheesy for my taste, but then again, it was still nice, I guess.

Sell Out by Jackson Pearce

Same here. Read a short story by her before, but not a book of hers (though I own one). Again, no idea which fairytale it's based off of, but then again, this time I think I would like to hear the original. Although not much happened in this one either, I mean I get that you don't have time to write a lot if you're composing a short story but honestly... something needs to happen! Short stories are supposed to go out with a bang, end with an unexpected plot twist, stuff like that ... 

And that's basically the flaw I have found with a lot of the short stories in here. Grim promised me an anthology of fairytale retellings with a dark, sinister twist, but most of the time, I was wondering where the hell along the way that dark, sinister twist went missing. There were some gems in there too, but most of them were really cute and not at all dark, and I do feel a little cheated having finished it. Whatever, I still enjoyed most of these short stories and they really do address a lot of issues in society. Rape, abuse, gay rights, gender identities and so on, which I think is important and it's really nice that these authors brought these points up in simple short stories, thus also bringing the point across more clearly. 

Also, whoever designed this should receive an award or a medal or something. It looks really neat.

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