The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Posted On 13 February 2020

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Sisters2The Sisters Grimm is a difficult book for me to review.  There are aspects to this story that are so good and coupled with the excellent writing and bringing together of fairytale characters I really did expect this to blow me away, and yet I’ve come away from this with mixed feelings.

This is a story of four young women, told in alternating pov chapters and with each chapter ominously counting down the days.  The four of them share many similarities – they’re all struggling to stay afloat financially and need to make tough decisions, they all have something magical within them that they know little about and they’ve all met before, in a sort of dream landscape called Everwhere – a place where they honed their magic and became friends,   There is also a fifth character, a soldier named Leo.

The premise of the book centres around the original dark fairy tales and the content is quite shockingly blunt in places. The four girls are Bea (Beauty), Goldie, Scarlet and Liyana.  When they were much younger they met in Everwhere but after reaching the age of 13 they were no longer able to enter this dreamscape.  When their 18th birthday takes place they will once again be admitted through the gates to Everwhere where they will make a tough decision that could cost them quite dearly.  All the girls share the same birthday and the same father.  Grimm, is a demon who is intent on causing chaos in the world and he gives all his daughters the chance to join him.  If they fail to make the choice to turn to evil then they will be killed by his army of soldiers.

What I really liked about this was the writing.  I really enjoyed reading the four different storylines and finding out more about the girl’s and their pasts as the novel progressed and in fact these stories were beautifully told.  I also really liked the way magic was easily worked into the girl’s everyday lives.  They all have different capabilities and sometimes can make strange things occur.  There were also extra little touches such as the girls quite often almost meeting or being on a very close course with their lives almost intertwining without their knowledge.

Goldie was probably my least favourite character, I’m not sure why but I found myself not enjoying either her or Leo’s story.  Scarlet’s chapters were very intriguing and in fact I found myself wishing for more and similarly with Liyana.  Bea is the odd one out of the bunch, she is quite abrasive and aggressive.  All of them have suffered through different childhood experiences and this speaks to their behaviour here.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that didn’t quite work for me here.  There is a definite feeling of bloating to parts of the story and a bit of repetition – but not enough to irritate me.  I found myself very perplexed about the underlying story of Grimm and his daughters and soldiers, I also didn’t really understand why the girls were forbidden entry to Everwhere when they reached the age of 13 – it seemed contrived somehow.  I think I would have preferred them to simply forget the place as they grew older.  I think my main issue is that for the most part this has a contemporary feel with everyday modern issues, and, I enjoyed that part of the  story very much I just found it difficult to accept the Everwher chapters.  They didn’t sit right for me somehow.  Plus the ending was definitely a little rushed and in some respects disappointing – but I don’t want to give away spoilers.

To be fair, I can see that the author obviously wanted to write a book about sisterhood, about sticking together and helping each other when in need and I do think she succeeded in that respect, but, I just didn’t feel like the two different elements of the story sat well together, and I had far too many questions that remain unanswered.

I would also mention a quick trigger warning here, sexual abuse and self harming spring immediately to mind for example.

On the whole this wasn’t a bad read and I don’t want to appear overly negative or to put others off picking it up. It just didn’t quite work as well as I’d hoped.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3 out of 5 stars



Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag and here’s why:

TheSisters.jpgThere are hundreds, possibly thousands, of sisters Grimm on Earth.
You may well be one of them, though you might never know it. 
You think you’re ordinary. 
You never suspect that you’re stronger than you seem, braver than you feel or greater than you imagine. 
But I hope that by the time you finish this tale, you’ll start listening to the whispers that speak of unknown things, the signs that point in unseen directions and the nudges that suggest unimagined possibilities. 
I hope too that you’ll discover your own magnificence, your own magic . . . 

This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire. They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again.

In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do. Then they must fight to save their lives and the lives of the ones they love. Three will live, one will die. You’ll have to read on to find out who and why…

Due for publication : February 2020