In this year’s very first Illumicrate box, I received The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag. The cover art is absolutely stunning and I was immediately excited to read this book. Let’s see how that turned out!
The Plot (as found on Goodreads):
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.
This book was promising from the very first page onward. We get magic, we get fairy tales, we get amazing female characters that are not stereotypical. What else could I want?
The worldbuilding is amazing and you immediately get the gist even though some of the ideas might be a little more complex. I would have loved to get a little more background and information on Wilhelm Grimm, though. Where is he from, why is he like this, and what is his actual goal? I have quite a lot of questions here that didn’t get answered throughout the book and I’m a bit sad about it. I think, this would have given the novel even more depth, drawn me into the story and I would have cared more about the outcome.
What I’d like to praise is the diversity in the characters. They are all decidedly unique without falling prey to stereotypes. Menna van Praag really did a great job on that front.
I could have done with a lesser amount of love stories as I generally don’t care much for that. Well, it wasn’t as if all story lines hinged on that, so it was okay. It didn’t bother me much with The Sisters Grimm, but just once I’d like to have a book without that.
Furthermore, I like how Menna van Praag arranged the book. The story is told in a countdown/almost diary form. For each day you get short snippets from each of the sisters’ life, learning about them in turn. Every other chapter is a look back to their childhoods which makes for an interesting contrast.
The twist she puts on familiar fairy tales is certainly enchanting. You never get quite what you might expect and her take on the tales is often more to my liking than the originals were. Well done!
All that being said, I would have liked a bit more on the background of Goldie and Scarlet. Or maybe even all of them. I get that the book is almost 500 pages long and they probably didn’t want to make it even longer, but I really think the story would have benefitted from that. While we get a lot of scenes in Everwhere the details on their childhoods outside of that place are still a bit fuzzy to me.
The Sisters Grimm is one of my favorite novels I got in a book subscription box so far. It’s dark and fascinating, has great worldbuilding and gives an interesting spin to familiar fairy tales. There are a few aspects that could have been developed better, but all in all, it is a great book!
Did you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you think!