Review – Grim
  • Posted:
  • March 28, 2014


is a short story collection edited by Christine Johnson. Each story retell classic fairy tales, many with new and modern spins. I’ve been pecking away at the book for a few weeks now. As with any anthology some of the stories were excellent and others a touch weaker. The good ones are really good though. I stand impressed.

I’ll start with the top – the loved tales. Notable tales in the book include The Key by Rachel Hawkins, Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell, Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton, The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa, and Sell Out by Jackson Pearce.

– The Key is a Bluebeard retelling with trailer park psychics and a high school track star with a secret love. The spin is unique and kept me guessing until the end. Dark and gritty and full of tension.

– Thinner Than Water is a Donkeyskin retelling about a king courting his own daughter for marriage and meeting her high bride prices. This one is probably my favourite of the entire book. I wasn’t expecting any of the twists and, wow, can Mitchell write. She is quickly moving up in the pile of must-reads.

Beast/Beast is a more traditional, but beautiful, retelling of Beauty and the Beast. What makes it good is that the story is peppered with Gratton signatures; lots of blood and lots of gorgeous angst. I love her work, so hard.

The Brothers Pigett is a Three Little Pigs retelling about an overweight, shy baker boy, a beautiful girl he loves, and her witch grandmother. The story is themed around acceptance, personal bigotry, and trust. A very worthy read.

Sell Out is a contemporary Snow White retelling from the “Prince’s” POV. In this case the Prince is a young man with the ability to resurrect the dead with a kiss. Humourous and sweet and completely Pearce. Her snark always slays me.

There are other stories that bear mentioning – Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready (Puss in Boots), Light it Up by Kimberly Derting (Hansel and Gretel), and Skin Trade by Myra McEntire (The Robber Bridegroom). Each of these stories were contemporary retellings that just fell short of perfect but were each enjoyable. I tend to enjoy seeing how the stories are brought into our modern world rather than reading a complete rehash. So, these are a welcomed change of pace. The ones I did not enjoy at much were less successful either in modernizing the stories or did not stray far enough from tradition for my taste.

Grim is at times gorgeous and heartfelt, at other times chaotic and fierce. I loved quite a lot of this book. It’s one of the better anthologies I have read in years.

4 out of 5 stars.

– BP

– Follow the Reader –






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Skye @ Skye's Scribblings

2014-04-07 20:20:50 Reply

Definitely sounds like I’ll love some of these – going to have to pick this up soon. Thanks for the detailed review!