Title: The Sisters Grimm
Author: Menna van Praag
Publisher: 6th February 2020 by Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Pages: 496 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: sci fi, fantasy
My Rating: 2.5 cups
There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of sisters Grimm on Earth.
You may well be one of them, though you might never know it.
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 . . .
‘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.’
Having read a few of Menna’s books, I was anticipating this new read - such a beautiful cover and with its connections to fairy tales and magic I was excited knowing she writes so well. Sadly, this would prove to be not the book for me, however, loving Menna’s creativity and writing the way I do makes for very hard reviewing.
The premise here is brilliant - dreams, fairy tales, real world and dreamscapes - with strong themes of life, love, growth and development in the real world and the world of Everwhere. Menna’s thoughts and writing are incredibly poetic and beautiful as ever. A multi layered story of four sisters finding their purpose and each other, facing an onslaught of challenges.
‘I wanted to be different, special, exceptional. No doubt everyone felt the same, excepting the seven people on this planet happy exactly as they are. I wasn’t. I’d wanted to be extraordinary ever since I was old enough to know I was not. I suppose that’s why I liked sleeping so much, because in my dreams I was spectacular.’
However, through execution the potential became lost. Far too many points of view that proved a challenge to keep up with (even dual points of views for the sisters as a child and present day). Slow repetitive character and world building that left only a small late portion of the book that was gripping. So whilst the whole mythology and fantasy elements were well considered, the structure did not lend itself to embracing it fully. It is really hard to get into the story and develop empathy for the many characters and situations, as they go in so many directions with a narrative that appears all over the place at times.
I persevered to the end and found the conclusion fulfilling. It’s just a shame that the slow moving, repetitive and scattered narrative throughout was unable to embrace the wonders of the world building, elemental aspects and some valid relationship tales. Many readers loved it and I wish I were one. Yet I could only feel that the overall theme of female strength and empowerment was lost in a jumble of multiple storylines.
‘You think you’re ordinary. You never suspect that you’re stronger than you seem, braver than you feel or greater than you imagine.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.