Book Review: Grim Anthology

Edited by:  Christine Johnson
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  February 25th, 2014
Page Count:  480 pages
Source: Arc Provided by Publisher Through Netgalley
Audience:  Young Adult Fantasy

As far as anthologies go, from the few that I’ve read or skimmed through, Grim was one of the better ones.  Grim was a good compilation of short stories from some of our favourite YA authors, who offered a twist on some classic, as well as some more obscure, fairy tales of old.  Some were easily recognizable but others, I had no clue, so I just took the story at face value.

It would be easier to break down my review by each story…so without going into great detail, I’ll offer my general feelings on each tale, in the order they were published.  And before carrying on with my individual mini-reviews, I'd like to thank Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this prior to its release.

The Key by Rachel Hawkins – 3/5

What I took away from this story was never fall for the pretty boy/girl who says all the right things, and to listen to your instincts…they are seldom wrong.  The ending left you hanging, but I think that was intended.  I also didn’t quite get the significance of the key tattoo.  It was ok.

Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready – 5/5

I don’t know which fairy tale this was based on but nevertheless I really enjoyed this one.  Perhaps it was how this story resonated with me because, as a child, I believed all my stuffed animals and dolls embodied some sort of consciousness.  I liked Eli and how his relationship evolved with Fig.  Jeri is one of my favourite authors and this short story just left a warm place in my heart.

The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo – DNF

This short story lost me early.  Not because of the lesbian theme but I just didn’t like the girls…especially the two main characters Liv and Harley.  I found myself skimming and just couldn’t be bothered to finish it.

The Raven Princess by Jon Skrovan – 3.5/5

This high-fantasy offering felt like a really charming fairy tale.  It was about a young man’s quest to find a talking raven who happened to be a cursed princess.  I liked how his character grew along the way and I enjoyed his adventures.  The twist at the end was cute!

Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell – DNF

Few stories would keep me from finishing them based on the subject matter…and this was one of them.   Definitely mature content.  I felt bad for the main character that was continually abused sexually by her father, the king.  Although I couldn’t appreciate the entire story, I did cheat and flipped to the last page to see if there was any retribution.

Before the Rose Bloomed: A Retelling of the Snow Queen by Ellen Hopkins – 2.5/5

Meh.  I’m not very familiar with the original story of The Snow Queen but I just couldn’t appreciate this one all that much…except the message I took away from it…that love can conquer all. Awe…

Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton – 4.5/5

Now this one, I could sink my teeth into.  The classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast has been spun so many times so this one was easily recognizable.  The general core of the classic story and message always seems to be maintained and this one was no different, yet I really enjoyed Tessa’s rendition, and I wanted a bit more….maybe not an entire novel…but I could have easily settled in to a few more pages.

The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa – 4/5

It’s no secret that Julie Kagawa is one of my most favourite authors on the planet.  While this wasn’t my favourite story by her, nor my favourite story in this anthology, I did enjoy Julie’s darker spin on the classic, The Three Little Pigs.  It was a tale about how jumping to conclusions and not fighting your own battles can come back and bite you in the butt.

Untethered by Sonia Gesler – 4.5/5

Now this I really enjoyed.  Untethered was a story about a mom and daughter and their loss of a family member and about moving on.  As I started reading this offering, it began to not make sense until, bang, realization dawned on me about WHO the ghost actually was and who were the living.  Loved it!

Better by Shaun David Hutchinson – 4/5

I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps I am a bit of a sci-fi girl afterall, especially after reading a couple of these sci-fi-toned short stories in this anthology.  Is it possible for a man-made, Artificially Intelligent ‘robot’, to be more human than the human beings who created her?  Yup! Mature subject matter warning.

Light It Up by Kimberly Derting – 2.5/5

A dark and sadistic rendition of the traditional Hansel and Gretel story.  That is all.

Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tongue by Christine Johnson – 2/5

Kind of a strange story for me with no resolution and no real point made, but it might be kinda cool to puke precious gemstones, albeit, not with every word that comes out of my mouth.  And the other sister’s lot in life…kinda gross.

A Real Boy by Claudia Gray – 5+/5

I’m crowning this one my favourite in this anthology.  This was a clever spin on the classic Pinocchio about an Artificially Intelligent teenage boy who marvelled at every new thing he experienced…including love.  My heart just melted with this one.  Loved it!!

Skin Trade by Myra McEntire – 1/5

I know a lot of people love this author’s work so I had high expectations.  I was very disappointed in this gross and disturbing story that also left me quite confused.  It made me wish I could unread it.  Sorry…not for me at all.

Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan – 2.5/5

Another spin on Beauty and the Beast which I don’t think was meant to be taken seriously.  Chad, being the Beast, was just a misunderstood partying teenager from a different time plopped into a horrible beast’s body.  I might have snorted a few times.

The Pink:  A Grimm Story by Amanda Hocking – 4/5

A charming story that took on the feel of a classic fairy tale that I would have loved to have been read to me as a little girl…happily-ever-after and all.

Sell Out by Jackson Pearce – 4/5

Definitely a moral wrapped into this one.  What if you were gifted with the power to resurrect a dead person for a price?  And what if someone would pay you handsomely for faking the attempt to keep said person deceased?  And the kicker…that dead person wasn’t very nice to you in life.  What would you do?  Can everybody be bought for a price?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 Skrovan


  1. I would buy this one just to read Tessa's short story.

    1. Oh...'twas a good one...and you would probably find a few more you would like!

  2. Ooh nice review! I read this one as well and pretty much loved it! True a few stories I didn't love and some were totally lost on me. Myra's was definitely an odd one!

    The first story however, I just thought I'd mention is a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale. Can't recall its exact name. Might even be Bluebeard for all I know. But that's what I gleamed from that one myself. Although its cliffhanger ending kind of left me shell shocked!

    Thinner than Water is a retelling of The Princess in Disguise. A much, much different version. Instead of running away, this princess stays and...does what she does! But yeah, that one weirded me out to the bone, but I still enjoyed it in some sense, because the original fairy tale was a fave of mine!

    I could keep commenting on nearly all these reviews, but I think I might bore you! ;)

    Glad to see you enjoyed it overall! I enjoyed it too and my review will be up next week sometime if you wanted to stop by!

  3. 3 times a posts are not posting!

    Jessica...thanks for pointing out the fairy tale connections I missed! I'm not an aficionado when it comes to them by any means.

    I would like to check out your review for Grim as well! Please post on Goodreads as case I forget to look it up! :)

  4. Thinking of reading this-- thought some of the stories don't sound really promising...

    Thanks for the honest review.

    1. Hey Dazzling're so welcome! I still think this anthology still has lots of value...more I loved than didn't love! ;)


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