Feb 20, 2014

ARC Review--Grim edited by Christine Johnson

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

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Grim is the ultimate anthology for all fairy tale lovers! Even better if you like YA, because this is written by YA authors! There was only a small handful of authors in this one that I already enjoyed, but overall I loved this anthology! The fairy tales retold or totally imagined in the fairy tale world were all enjoyable on some level. A few were about tales that I didn't know, so it sometimes made it harder to grasp the story, but overall, this was an incredible anthology!

Since anthologies are always hard to review, I'll just say a few things about each of the stories. And I already reviewed Julie Kagawa and Rachel Hawkins' stories earlier since they were free reads from Amazon!

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready was an intriguing tale. I am not quite sure what creature it was that was involved. But it was a nice story that dealt with good luck and what an inspiring musician does with it when it falls into his lap. 4/5 stars

The Twelfth Girl by Malina Lo is a retelling/spin on The Twelve Dancing Princesses! One of my favorite fairy tales! True to the story, in some sense twelve girls go to a magical place and dance the night away. But Liv, the newest girl was unaware of the cost that was paid in order for them to go there. 3.5/5 stars

The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron is a story much in the sense of classic fairy tale telling. I am not sure if this one already exists, but it was just beautifully told. A princess was cursed to be a raven and then a young man is determined to do everything possible to help her break the curse so that she may be human again. It was quite the tale and had some twists I didn't expect! 5/5 stars

Thinner than Water by Saundra Mitchell was a Princess in Disguise retelling, yet another fave of mine. It's the creepy one where the father wants to marry his daughter because his dying wife asked him to marry none other than a woman who's beauty surpasses her own. And naturally the king realizes that's his daughter. Creepy, right?! But this one didn't go as far as I thought it would and had a very interesting twist at the end! 5/5 stars

Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins is a retelling of the Snow Queen. It pretty much felt like a simple retelling. It's been awhile since I read that tale so I couldn't figure out what was different from it. Other than the spin with demons! 3/5 stars

Beauty/Beast by Tessa Gratton is a retelling of the classic and favorite tale! It was quite surprising too, because Beauty tries to escape multiple times. There were some other differences going on, and its ending too was another shocker, but I liked it overall! 5/5 stars

Untethered by Sonia Gensler was an intriguing story about a mother and daughter mourning the loss of their sister/daughter. I felt like I knew what was going on all along in some sense. But there was a "knowledge" of sorts that a character had that kind of confused me in the end. But still a very enjoyable tale! 4/5 stars

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson was a sci-fi story in the extreme. We're talking a colony of people living on a spaceship looking for a planet where they could live without the Disease that is running rampant on the ship. A girl was created to help the scientist in finding the cure. She's not human but close to it. It was a bit odd sometimes, because I wasn't fully grasping the whole going ons, but it was still an intriguing and chilling story! 3.5/5 stars

Light it Up by Kimberly Derting is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel and oh how I loved it! Kimberly already wrote the chilling Body Finder series so I was eager for her tale. And to have a modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel was just awesome! I especially liked some of the hat tips to the classic tale throughout the story! 5/5 stars

Sharper than a Serpent's Tongue by Christine Johnson was an intriguing tale. I'm not sure if it was a retelling, but it goes to that a pair of sisters were gifted/cursed by their neighbor. One spills forth flowers and gems when she speaks and another snakes and frogs. You can bet which one the drunken mother wants to keep. It definitely had a decent set of fairy tale elements, but I felt like it ended too soon. 4/5 stars

A Real Boy by Claudia Gray is a Pinocchio retelling and it was done quite well! Instead of a magical puppet, we get a robot who's so very nearly human! But it's in a futuristic world where robots are little more than slaves. And you can bet there's something brewing between boy and girl in this one. It was quite intriguing and I liked how our heroine was named Blue. Felt like another hat tip to the Blue Fairy! 5/5 stars

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire was another odd tale. This one was definitely creepy and that going for it, but I was left confused with what we were dealing with. A group of boy (teens) spend their time singing in a band and then skinning people. See this is where I got a mite confused, I didn't know what they were and what precisely were they doing with said skin. It tended to be girls that they skinned and naturally, one of the band members is falling in love with a girl who one of the others wants to be their next target... 3.5/5 stars

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan was another Beauty and the Beast retelling but so fun and unique! I was a bit confused at first with the Chad, but I soon was able to figure out the twist. This Beast is not like any other we've dealt with and I really enjoyed the twist of our fairy tale world mixed with modern world! 5/5 stars

The Pink: A Grimm Story by Amanda Hocking is another recreated or retold fairy tale that I am unaware of. Unless it's a totally new idea! It is another one that has all the fairy tale details down to a tee! Magic, enchantments, spells, girls turning into girls from a flower and back again! Quite the stuff of magic! But yet, I found it lacking a bit in some areas, but it was still an enjoyable tale. 3.5/5 stars

Sell Out by Jackson Pearce was a retelling of Snow White. Another modern setting, but still filled with magic. Wherein the "prince" isn't a prince, but a guy who has magic powers and can bring back the dead to life with a kiss and they are restored. When his next assignment is the girl who tormented him throughout his school years, he has a tough choice to make. I thought this one was okay, but the ending soon became a bit rushed and the ultimate decision that was made didn't make sense to me in some ways. 3.5/5 stars

So overall it was an incredible anthology. I suppose I ought to add up the numbers and then divide to create the official rating, but that's not what I'll do. This one was really good and while I may not have loved every story, I did think those were still pretty well told! This is the perfect anthology for all lovers of fairy tales and I urge you to buy a copy as soon as possible, as you won't be disappointed! Now if only I had the time to freshen up on my fairy tales, then I could go back and maybe understand a few of these that confused me...

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Grim releases February 25, 2014


  1. I've not heard of this book before, but it's good to see that you enjoyed quite a few of the stories. Usually when I read books like this, most are either hit and miss. And the author list is great! I might have to give this one a try because I do find retellings intriguing, I just don't read a lot of them :) Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  2. This sounds like an amazing antho! And quite the lineup of authors for it. :) Great to hear about all the stories. Thank you!

  3. I preordered this book back in December and I am SO ready to receive it! 3 more days and it will be mine!! Glad you enjoyed it. makes me even more excited to receive it.

  4. Aaahh, I'm so mad at myself right now. How is it possible that being 1) a fan of Sarah Rees Brennan and 2) a lover of retelling, especially of Beauty and the Beast, I didn't even know this colection existed?!
    Well, now I know and after reading your review I have a good idea of what to expect! I don't often go for anthologies/collections, but you made this one sound very interesting, and I might find a new author to follow too :)
    - Reese


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