The Sisters Grimm by Menna Van Praag
Title: The Sisters Grimm
Author: Menna Van Praag
Published Date: February 6th 2020
Length: 496 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 4.25 /5
There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of sisters Grimm on Earth.
You may well be one of them, though you might never know it.
You think you’re ordinary.
You never suspect that you’re stronger than you seem, braver than you feel or greater than you imagine.
But I hope that by the time you finish this tale, you’ll start listening to the whispers that speak of unknown things, the signs that point in unseen directions and the nudges that suggest unimagined possibilities.
I hope too that you’ll discover your own magnificence, your own magic . . .
This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire. They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again.
In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do. Then they must fight to save their lives and the lives of the ones they love. Three will live, one will die. You’ll have to read on to find out who and why…
The Sisters Grimm was a special book because it was one of my anticipated reads, I did like it but there was something that left me wanting for more. I wish it was in a good way but it’s not? With a name like that, you can hardly expect me to not have a few expectations. I am not saying that those expectations weren’t met because they were but I think what I mean by that is I expected something and received something else entirely. I simply wasn’t ready for the kind of fantasy that I was presented with.
I think this book is fairly original and does veer off from the original works quite a lot. It is not as grim but it is fresh and offers some truly interesting stories about four drastically different women that I really enjoyed. It’s about four sisters who have forgotten over time that they are sisters and possess different abilities and each represents a different element. There are interesting concepts that I have rarely seen in fantasy but have always wanted more of, such as the astrological effects on the main characters, dream bindings, venturing into a different world only through dreams. These concepts, on their own, are not original but the way they are represented are wholly in a different way and I loved that about this one.
We are first introduced to Goldie, who’s working at a hotel, trying to make life better for her younger brother Teddy. She sometimes steals for Teddy from the hotel guests, mostly things they wouldn’t remember anyway. She represents earth in a way. Then we have Liyana, an Olympic athlete who had to let go of her dreams because of a tragic accident. She represents water in the most obvious way, she was a swimmer, she still is but not on the same level as she used to be. She has some tough choices to make.
Scarlet has one of the most touching circumstances, for me, for some reason. She is running her family’s cafe while also taking care of her dementia ridden grandmother. I think she represents fire but I had one friend who thought it was earth she represented, who knows? She could be both. And then, lastly, we have Bea, I think I found her the hardest to like. It’s not that she’s an unlikable character but something about her just didn’t work for me in the long run. She had had to make some hard choices in life and I sympathized with that but at the end of the day, she is not my favourite of the lot.
There are more characters in the book, like Leo, who plays an important role, plot-wise but could have been relegated to the secondary character position, I think. There are entirely too many POVs in my opinion, like ten of them! Then there are different timelines, as the characters as young children and then their grown up counterparts plus the whole dreaming up different world scenarios, yeah, it was a bit hard to keep track of, if I am being completely honest. It is also possible that I read it during the time I was feeling super low and concentration wasn’t the best but I think even under ideal conditions, it would have been hard. That’s one of the points that brings down the star rating to less than five.
The ‘present’ timeline is when the girls’ birthday is coming around and weird and strange things are happening around them, the other timeline is from years ago when the girls met for the first time and forgot about it entirely. The girls also dream of Everwhere, a place only they can visit and it’s this magical place where it’s always autumn. It’s a story of how they plan to meet with their father and on the way, face some hardships.
Overall, I think this book is super interesting and while it’s not the best book I have read so far, but it had potential and it had some interesting themes. I think I would definitely be checking out more of this author’s works.