Thank you NetGalley and Harper Voyager for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .
As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.
To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.
So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love. (Amazon)
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Rating: 2 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
Nothing can push fairy tales off of their own classic shelf. They've evolved and grown over the years, and nowadays we have plenty of retellings to fill our reading preferences. I am, however, not sure if that's what was attempted with The Sisters Grimm.
The concept for this story is fantastic, but we are never given enough explanation into it to make it well understood. As a matter of fact, a lot of things are not explained. We know that there are soldiers, who are originally stars and somehow are either born into human bodies on earth or appear, and as they grow they are somehow trained to one day kill Grimm girls once they turn eighteen or they will stop existing since the death of these girls/women replenish their light...
Throughout this novel, I felt that I was ambivalently moving along while waiting for action to jump into the moment, any moment, and save the day. And the constant jumping back and forth from past to present made for an uneven, bumpy switch in narrative.
Books are often either character-driven or plot-driven. Were I to choose one, I would go with plot. And in the moments when the author gives me both, I find myself on cloud nine. The Sisters Grimm is extremely character-driven, which works for a lot readers. As that, it is a very well written. But because it is so character-driven, sometimes in mundane ways, most of the novel moves along at the pace of melted molasses. There is barely any action to be seen, save for the end, where we are subjected to the longest chapter in the novel so that the reunion of the four “sisters” is packed into one lengthy stretch to allow us the outcome of them returning to Everwhere.
That last chapter gives Bea, Goldie, Ana and Scarlet a brief section each, where they then all have the opportunity to defeat the soldier that is meant to kill them. I will say, I was surprised to find out who the soldiers for both Bea and Scarlet turned out to be, but that doesn't take away from the fact that even once they get to their father, it's all lackluster. Even their defeat of their father is lackluster. These girls have a spark of magic that grows and forms mostly in dreams, and suddenly it is all re-awoken, embraced and used so very knowledgeably.
And as for Wilhelm Grimm... I am still confused as to his character. Is this one of the Grimm brothers turned demon (somehow), or is this a demon/devil who happens to be named Grimm and commands all of these girls who happen to be part of fairy tales? His existence, as is the brief and repetitive view that we get of Everwhere, are not expanded enough for me to feel any impact from this character or setting.
A setting, which, given the type of story this attempted to be, could have been so powerful and beautifully dark.
The writing itself is good, and I am thankful for it. But I was far too confused in things that I wanted more understanding of, as well as lacking any real investment in the characters and the pace at which they moved, to be fully immersed and enjoy the tale.