Review: Grim by Christine Johnson

March 27, 2014 Reviews 9 ★★★

Grim by Christine Johnson
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 25, 2014
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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.







Fairy tale retellings probably work best when you have a familiarity with the source material.  Unfortunately, I’ve only read a few of Brothers Grimm’s original fairy tales on which the short stories in this anthology are based, so I missed out on the experience of making the connections between the stories while I read.  Still, several of these were quite enjoyable.

The Key by Rachel Hawkins: ★★★★
Lana’s mother is a psychic (an ACTUAL psychic) who does readings out of their run-down trailer.  Lana also has psychic abilities, and she assists her mother with her customers.  One day, two of Lana’s classmates come in for a reading, seeking information on their missing friend.  The outcome was somewhat predictable, but it was still exciting and frightening and full of tension.

 The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo: ★★★
I generally love stories set in boarding school, and this one features the cliques and the snobs and the trouble-making that makes these so much fun.  Liv is desperate to belong to a group of cool girls , no matter what the cost.  These beautiful girls who coast through school, unchallenged by the faculty and administrators.  But what are these girls hiding?  When one of the twelve girls disappears, Liv is given an invitation to take her place.  She joins the girls in mysterious midnight excursions to a secret, seductive club.  Liv is given one rule to follow, and when she uncovers the secrets of the club, she must decide whether she should break it.  The ending is the best part.

The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron: ★★★
A queen is frustrated by the incessant crying of her baby daughter, and she has a fleeting wish that the girl would fly away with a flock of ravens just outside the window.  In an instant, her daughter transforms into a raven and flies out the window.  The queen kept this horrible secret from everyone and eventually fled her castle in shame.  Sixteen years later, a hunter attempts to kill the girl-raven.  He misses his shot, and he’s shocked when the raven speaks and ridicules his hunting prowess.  The hunter agrees to help the princess to break the curse that keeps her imprisoned as a raven, and the task he must perform is deceptively simple.  Sweet and romantic.

Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell★★★
What’s worse than a princess who has been transformed into a raven?  A princess who is being raped by her deranged father who views her as a replacement for his dead wife.  It’s quite beautifully written, but obviously, the subject matter is not for everyone.  Augusta, the princess, is heartbreaking as she tries to escape from her father, while no one around her will help, and she hatches a very clever plot to get revenge.

Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton: ★★
I might have enjoyed this retelling of Beauty and the Beat more if I had not recently read the lovely Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.

The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa: ★★★
Ah, finally a fairy tale I know well!  In this take on The Three Little Pigs, Percival Piggett is a chubby, insecure boy with a crush on a beautiful girl named Maya.  He finally gets up the nerve to talk to her, even though his brothers warn him that her grandmother is a witch.  It seems that Maya might be starting to share Percival’s feelings, but when he sees her with another boy, he sets off a chain of events that leads to wicked act of revenge.

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson: ★★★
Pip is an artificial being, created in the hopes that he could help scientists to cure a deadly disease.  Pip believes that he’s real, but the rest of society in this space ship setting believes that he’s disposable.  Pip makes a bargain to save his own life, and he fulfills it in a heart-breaking way.

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan: ★★★
This Beauty and the Beast retelling was completely ridiculous but had lots of humor.  Imagine the Beast as Chad, a low IQ frat boy, and Beauty as a girl posing as a boy.  The Beast, who declares himself “no homo,” can’t understand his attraction to the “boy.”  And Beauty doesn’t understand 90% of the strange lingo that comes out of Beast’s mouth, but she can see the sweetness underneath the Beast’s exterior.  The quirkiness of this story made it stand out from the rest, but whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on the reader’s taste for this kind of humor.

The Pink by Amanda Hocking: ★★
This was a bit too happily ever after for my taste, but the story was decent.

Figment by Jeri-Smith Ready: ★★
Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins: DNF
Light It Up by Kimberly Derting: ★★
Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue by Christine Johnson: ★
A Real Boy by Claudia Gray: ★
Untethered by Sonia Gensler: DNF
Skin Trade by Myra McEntire: ★★
Sell Out by Jackson Pearce: ★


9 Responses to “Review: Grim by Christine Johnson”

    • Stephanie

      Enjoy, Missie! I’m sure there will be at least a few stories that work for you.

    • Stephanie

      It was the mix of authors that drew me to this one. I’ll always read something by Julie Kagawa!

    • Stephanie

      I don’t know that I could recommend buying this, but it’s great for a library pick. 🙂

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