Book Review: Grim Edited by Christine Johnson

Posted January 30, 2014 by Kara in book review / 9 Comments

Book Review:  Grim Edited by Christine JohnsonGrim Published by Harlequin Teen on February 25th, 2014
Genres: paranormal, retellings, young adult
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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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 Jon Skrovron

When I first heard of Grim I knew I had to have it.  What promised to be a gripping anthology full of twisted fairy tale retellings delivered 100%.  I’ll be up front though – there were a couple stories I skipped over because I knew the author’s previous books didn’t work for me.  So I didn’t read stories by Ellen Hopkins, Julia Kagawa, Kimberly Derting, or Sarah Rees Brennan.  I’m just not a fan of any of those authors, so I knew I wouldn’t enjoy those stories.  I did skim them, though, and it turned out I was right.

There were two stories that really stuck out to me and the first was “Thinner Than Water” by Saundra Mitchell.  It tells the story of a princess whose father is a disgusting, incesty monster and how she is able to rise above the abuse he inflicts upon her, outsmart him, and eventually forge her own destiny.  I loved the main character, Merula.  She could have been impossibly broken by her father’s actions and the abandonment from the people she most trusted, but instead she turned that anger into determination and totally fucked shit up.  She ended up being a pretty kick-ass character by the end, which I really enjoyed.

My second favorite story was “Untethered” by Sonia Gensler.  This one was a haunting ghost story that ended with a fantastic twist.

Almost every story in this collection ends with a twist ending.  I loved getting to the end of each story because I knew a surprise was coming.  I was pleasantly surprised by quite a few of these authors whose work I’d never read before, particularly Claudia Gray and Jeri Smith Ready.  

The stories Grim features are not your average fairy tale retellings.  These authors came up with refreshing ways to turn our beloved stories on their heads, and they also dug up some old fairy tales that I had trouble identifying.  I absolutely recommend Grim to any fairy tale lover – these stories were fresh and exciting, and even sometimes haunting.  


9 responses to “Book Review: Grim Edited by Christine Johnson

  1. Great review! I’ll be honest, I haven’t read too many fairy tales, but I love hearing about retellings and seeing some of the new movies that have been coming out about fairy tales. This book is going to get added to my TBR pile (:

    • I honestly haven’t read too many fairy tales either – just the basics! Everything that Disney covered, basically. Other than that, I have to do my research when it comes to retellings.

  2. Great review Bekka! It’s what I love from these anthologies you can pick and choose what you think will work for you and skip the ones that you doubt you’ll like. I requested this one bc of a few authors in there like Ellen Hopkins and Kagawa (even though I never read anything by Kagawa I’m curious about her writing). Thinner Than Water sounds really good and I love that every story has a twisty ending that makes me want to read it even more!

    • I think you’d really like this, Giselle. Yes, one of the best parts of anthologies is the freedom. You can skip around or pick and chose which stories to read. This aspect really helped get me out of my reading slump.

  3. This is a great Bekka! I so wished I’d been accepted for this book, I think I would have loved it! I like when you choose stories to read and which ones to skip, especially if you don’t like some authors, this is a great way to get new material from your favourite authors! It sounds like a great anthology and I really want to consider picking it up! 😀

  4. I’m not always a big fan of anthologies, but I really like the sound of this one, especially as it focuses on fairytale retellings. Also, I’m quite curious about it as it includes a lot of authors whose books I’ve enjoyed in the past. I want to find out more about Untethered now! Great review, Bekka. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed. 🙂

  5. I love fairy tale retellings, so I need to get my hands on this! Although I’m a bit hesitant to read “Thinner Than Water” because incest is like the one thing I can’t read in books… But since you loved it I might have to give it a chance. Great review, Bekka, and I’m glad to see that you’re continuing to blog!

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