Editor: Christine Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: Short stories, fantasy/pnr/everything untoward, fairytale and/or retelling
Grim is, purportedly, an anthology of grim retellings of childhood fairytales, of course foregoing the fact for a moment that most of these stories have a grimmer, gorier, disturbing origin. However, to me, it was less grim- which has always implied, again to me, heartbroken mermaids howling eternally in the wind, a kingdom barren for centuries et cetra, et cetra, and Grim turned out to be oh-shit! screwed it up, we did! or oh man! what a creative twist on the original story. Not it lessened my enjoyment, but I was expecting stories with completely different atmospheres than what we have here.
Here’s a fact: above all, I love fairytales and their retellings. I like to see how creatively, how originally one can maneuver around the core story. Sometimes, it’s like little screw-yous to Disney or Anderson, other times it’s homage, or just revising tales one could never get enough of. Grim did not, sirs and ma’ams, disappoint in that respect.
The Key by Rachel Hawkins: 2.5 stars
This was a simple, strightforward story whose twist I saw coming. What did manage to catch my eye(heh heh, it’s in the story) was that Ms Hawkins instilled in one short story that engaging factor of her full-length novels. Grim? So very not. Girl, you are going to befucked up any second now? So muchos yes.
Figment by Jeri-Smith Ready: 3 stars
So not grim yet it was nostalgic. It’s a story of the forever life of a small creature- a figment- who can help you achieve you dreams. It had a solid beginning that tapered down in the middle, with a defining end. A bi-concave lens!(Dudes, I am so lame. This is a cry for help, geddit?)
The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo: 4 stars
Harley was the kind of girl who could get away with anything…
Kudos for the beginning. Besides the numericals and the gyrating, Ms Lo’s story has strayed far from the orginal fairytale. Nevertheless, it had a nice plot, featuring outspoken girls who make deals with the devil, mythical lands of patying and booze and dreams, missing sister and a despondent conclusion. Circle of life and all the shakes, folks.
The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron: 2 stars
It’s a story with a traditional outline, told in conventional narrative, including cursed princesses and young men on conquests, witches interchangeable with mothers. Its one shining moment is in the end, when it breaks away from the mould not only where it concerns the romance, but the fate of our young characters and the witch interchangeable with mother. Oh and there was this pair of gay giants raising an orphan human child that convinces our brave warrior that there are things and people to meet far beyond the woods and the kingdom where a boy who won’t kill has no place. Those are things I like to see in a traditional fairytale, and I do know how weird that sounds. Also, it made me happy. Happy is not spelled G-R-I-M.
Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell: 5 stars
(Sadly, that is the limit I set. Why do I let myself be constricted by these meaningless norms? WHY? WHY?)
Grim to the very end. Grimmer for its ending(which kinda made me happy, made me SOARRRRR over the rooftops). Grimmest for its reflections of our society, the paradigms it draws from our civilized, hypocritical world, like the truest fairytales. Where a girl rises to the throne by having to marry her father, the king of the land, and where women who rule can’t offer help and men bow down before power. Saundra Mitchell’s story rocked. It was a very grim and ungly twist on the donkey-skin story, and it had a lot of cruelty excercised in it: from animal to child.
Before the Rose Bloomed: A Retelling of the Snow Queen by Ellen Hopkins: 1 star
Ah! Here it is!
The story I want to bitch
about. The story everyone bitched about. I’m
sure Ms Hopkins works can be/are really powerful, but this story? Eh.
What does the verse mean here? I like
free verse, but this is changing lines in mid of a sentence.
Brushing that aside, the story was
tradtionally told and extended, and didn’t stray far from the orginal plotline.
I didn’t finish it:
maybe there’s something grim at the
end, maybe there isn’t. I don’t care.
Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton: 2 stars
The Beauty(not exactly, but whatever): the prose, yo. It was so graphic, the descriptions, the moss and blood and thorn and tears. Loved it. The unresolved ending, so we don’t know basically anything because this was a story about their budding romance, not an adventure. That it developed from being a case of situational romace, and became more.
The Beastly(not exactly, but whatever): There isn’t much about this story to entice a reader. Straightforward; nothing shocking, terrifying or beautiful. The unresolved ending, so we don’t know basically anything because this was a story about their budding romance, not an adventure- there is so little in this novella that the ending was begging to be resolved.
The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa:3 stars
Remeber: don’t piss of the witch ladies, don’t mess with the pig brothers. It doesn’t end well. The MC was such a crying, whining brat even the writing seemed to be condescending towards him; the ending served him exactly right, IMO.
Untethered by Sonia Gesler: 4 stars
Even for a short story, Ms Gesler’s seems slow. Yet it was poignant and atmospheric; and shocking. Like ghosts in white dresses, really.(Okay, I’m officially scared because umm…I’m alone and all the lights are out and yeah, it’s an almost-summer friggin’ afternoon but fuck.) Brilliant, grim writing and I’m sure checking out more of her books. Couldn’t really figure whose retelling it was, though.
Better by Shaun David Hutchinson: 2 stars
She’s an experiment, he’s the dying son of her experimentor(?). Adults with sticks up their asses, who can’t wrap their heads around new beginnings. So she and he create their own new beginning, their own new generation. Been there, read that, not much to it.
Light it Up by Kimberly Derting: 2 stars
A retelling of Hansel and Gretel, set in our world of lost magic, drained phone batteries, step moms, men in woods where you don’t get signal. It’s the same story with modern inputs, more or less. I liked the protagonist, however.
Sharpher than a Serpent’s Tongue: 3 stars
As a story, there’s very little in it. Kinda like Goldilocks, where she eats and sleeps and runs away. This one here is about curses and boons, where one might not be the other. It’s like a snapshot into someone’s life, of no import despite the magic because fuck-all happens, but if you start thinking about it, you’ll get to discover so much.
Skind Trade by Myra McEntire: 2 stars
Confusing is the word for this chapter. I didn’t get it; fighting, romance; hot, monstrous dudes in a band, it has it all. Yet the glue is mising; the magnifying glass of making sense is missing.
Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan: 5 stars
Trademark Brennan wit, humor and twists. Belle(or Isabelle) runs away from home to the Beast’s house to keep her father’s honor who can’t be bothered when it comes to monsters, and serves the Beast(Chad) as a stable boy; they fall in love as boys, they almost marry as man and man, where the Chad, previously a frat boy, thinks his love is a cross-dressing stable boy and gives a lecture to the witch-y witch who cursed him, in dude-speak.
“So your village lies in the shadow of a castle in which there is always a beast, punished for his misdeeds by being trapped in the body of a ferocious killing machine? Pardon me for asking,” said Beauty, “but do you never consider moving?”
Doves had appeared from somewhere-Beauty believed that the furniture had kidnapped them somehow.
It was the smile Beauty recognized, and not the eyes, in the end.
The Pink: A Grimm Story:1 star
A Nelson ha-ha!
Crappy narrative, structure of the story, writing, story. Done.(And it has six chapters.)
Thank you, Harlequin Teen!