Review: The Sisters Grimm

The Sisters Grimm
by Menna van Praag 
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Harper Voyager 


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.

My Thoughts

Menna van Praag has been on my watch list for a while. I've read and enjoyed several of her books including The House at the end of Hope Street and The Dress Shop of Dreams. And I love fairy-tale retellings. Especially Grimm fairy tales. So I was doubly excited to read The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag. And while I liked this novel, I didn't love it like I did the author's previous novels. Some things worked well for me, while others didn't.

The things that worked were the diversity of characters. Four Grimm sisters:Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea. Each sister represents a different elemental magic. Sisters that share the same father, who may be the devil or just a demon. The sisters have forgotten each other and must figure out who they are before they turn 18, because on their 18th birthday they must choose between good and evil. The book begins with a countdown; they have 33 days to do so. 

The things that didn't work for me were the multiple point of views. There were too many of them, and it slowed the pace way down. Not to mention a bit of repetition because of it. Also, the character flashbacks were a bit much. I also would have liked to know more about Everywhere. The description seemed vague, and since it was a big part of the story, I felt it needed more attention.

In the end I think this book might have took on too much. It has it strengths, such as strong female characters, as well as its weaknesses, such as it needed better world building. Overall it was an okay read, but it didn't live up to its predecessors. However, there were some surprises along the way that did intrigue this reader. Overall, it's hard to talk about this book without giving away too many spoilers. I really hate that I didn't love this book the way I wanted to, but there's always next time.

*I received a digital copy from Edelweiss and Harper Voyager. This is no way influenced my opinion.