ARC Review: Grim by Christine Johnson Review – Dark and twisted fairy tales

February 24, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

ARC Review: Grim by Christine Johnson Review – Dark and twisted fairy talesGrim by Christine Johnson
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on February 25, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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Step into a world of dark and twisted fairy tales, with stories by Julie Kagawa, Amanda Hocking and more...

In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious. Prepare to open a treasure box of the unusual and the macabre.

Grim features some of today’s best young adult authors, sharing their own, unique retellings of classic fairy tales from around the world. These talented writers, many of them New York Times bestsellers or award-winners, put their own spin on these magical worlds.

I’ve never read the original Grim fairy tales, but know they are dark, twisted and shocking stories which serve as cautionary tales. This Grim anthology is a refreshing YA twist to many of these stories, recognisable even if you haven’t read the source material, such as the Beauty and the Beast retellings, The Twelfth Princess, and Hansel and Gretel.

I loved the journey that the YA authors took us on throughout the book – stories set in the present, others based on the original fantasy setting, and even sci-fi ones set in the future. With robots, kings and queens, magic, princesses and even a “dude” frat boy, Grim is just bursting at the seams with stories to tell and adventures to take us on. All which are dark, mysterious and even disturbing.

My favourite stories were Thinner than Water, the one about a princess who gets molested by the King, Better, the story of a robot who needs to save a dying boy, and Beast/Beast, a retelling of my favourite fairy tale. All of the stories were creative and enjoyable, and I was enveloped in these short and sweet adventures. Some left me disturbed, others left me in awe, and still others made me cringe. All I knew is that I wanted to keep on reading and discovering the dark and magical adventures held within the anthology.

The only story that I didn’t love was The Beauty and Chad, where the Beast is a dude bro who exhibits a low IQ and makes me cringe by his stupid comments, such as “No homo? Dumbass interfering furniture.” I suspect it was there for some comedic relief, but I didn’t find it fitting to the rest of the book.

Grim captures the essence of fairy tales through creative, indulgent and disturbing retellings. It serves as a perfect introduction into this wonderfully dark world of twisted fairy tales, and I was totally absorbed into the stories which disturbed, intrigued and totally freaked me out. Isn’t that cover absolutely gorgeous as well?

Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s the trailer!

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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51 responses to “ARC Review: Grim by Christine Johnson Review – Dark and twisted fairy tales

  1. Sounds very interesting! I love it when authors manage to give a great twists to stories we love most, specially the fairy tales where they make the nice and innocent, become dark and creepy. Great review! 😀

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall (: I felt the same way about this one. Ellen Hopkins' story didn't work for me though. I found the verse to be quite unnecessary and it just made her retelling difficult to read. I actually couldn't finish it. Thinner Than Water was one of my favorites too, it was so dark and creepy. I definitely shuddered while reading it. I really hope the main character got her justice. Beauty and Chad didn't actually bother me, though I do recall needing a laugh that day and it worked for me. However after watching that trailer I do see how out of place it was. It wasn't dark in the least.

    Great review! 🙂
    Larissa recently posted…Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah MlynowskiMy Profile

    • Thanks Larissa, Ellen Hopkin's story was quickly brushed over for me, I totally agree with it being difficult to read. It didn't even rhyme. How awesome was Thinner than water? Haha thank you Larissa!

  3. i LOVE retellings so this one is a MUST for me. like a serouis MUST!!! Love the whole idea that there are tons of stories in here but popular authors. It just makes it so cool and i can't wait to get my copy! And HELLO this book is giving me a dark vibe and I LOVE IT!

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  4. Ahhhh you sure know which books to review to bring out the cover-whore in me, Jeann!

    I'm obsessed with fairytale retellings / re-imaginings lately, so this is right up my street! I love the fact that this is by YA authors, putting their own spin on the classic tales. Is this a little like The Bloody Chamber, but with a more YA element?
    Allie @ Little Birdi recently posted…Review: In Too Deep {Amanda Grace}My Profile

    • Haha I love pretty covers as much as the next person! I think with the Lunar Chronicles doing so well we're all interested in fairy tale retellings. I haven't heard of The Bloody Chamber before, just looked it up and yes it is similar but with YA authors writing this one.

  5. Oof The Beauty and Chad sounds pretty rough, but I'm glad that you enjoyed the rest of the series! Fairytale retellings are one of my favorite things in the world, and the fact that there's a whole set of them in one book makes this sound even more appealing! I love the idea behind Thinner Than Water, too! Fantastic review, Jeann! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and recently posted…Random Talk Time (5): Does Hype Turn You Off?My Profile

  6. UGH! I know what you meant with Thinner than Water. That's actually derived from the French fairy tale called "Peau d'Âne" (Donkeyskin), a story when I first read in a children's book left me absolutely speechless. I've yet to finish this anthology though because Ellen Hopkins' contribution to it left me demotivated… I really didn't see the point of her way of writing that one haha. I'm glad this was a good anthology for you overall! I need to get it done soon! On to the retelling of Beauty and the Beast then!
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…Review: Cress by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

    • Oh wow!! I've heard about Donkeyskin but haven't read the tale yet, how fascinating! I was really fascinated with the story, it was disturbing. Ah, that's a shame that left you demotivated, I loved the rest of the twists. I wasn't a fan of that Snow Queen retelling either, that writing style was just so unnecessary. Hope you enjoy Beast/Beast!

  7. I LOVE fairy tale retellings so I will definitely be reading this one! Anthologies are always a hit or miss for me because I end up only loving a few stories but the fact that these stories lean more on the darker side, got me really intruiged. I'm always up to reading anything dark and twisty 😉 Great review Jeann!
    Amir recently posted…Review: Tempus by Holly LaurenMy Profile

  8. I've been debating whether I want to read this book and I think you've made my decision for me, Jeann. It sounds really interesting and I'm curious to see if my favorite story will be the same as yours.

    LOL. Yo homie would most definitely put me off. I hate when book characters talk like that.

    Great review!
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Review : Maybe One Day by Melissa KantorMy Profile

  9. Fairy tale retellings are one of my favourite things in the world. Add in an anthology of them, and I'm pretty much sold. I'm really into the multiple story thing these days because I love a little bit of a lot of great things 🙂 Great review, Jeann!

  10. I wrinkled my nose at the, "Yo Homie" I loved the classic Grimm tales and their dark twists, so this appeals to me and think it would make a great coffee table book. One you could pick up and read a story from and figure out which tale it pertained too. Wonderful review Jeann!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Three by Kristen SimmonsMy Profile

    • Haha yeah, that one was traumatising lol. Glad to hear you loved the original, I need to read it too now. I think other people had a lot more success with identifying which story they came from.

  11. Thinner than Water sounds really interesting! And the "dude bro" (lol) with a low IQ? Sounds like an ass. Anyway, I am such a huge fan of dark and disturbing stories. I don't normally read anthologies, but some of my favorite authors have written stories here, and the cover was creatively done. Lovely review, Jeann! <3
    Aimee recently posted…Review: Cress by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

  12. I have been wanting to read this book because the cover keeps catching my eye, and I love fairy tales, but I've read the original stories of the supposedly happy tales, so I'm afraid to read this one! But the cover is just oh so good.
    Goldie recently posted…Author Help & Blog Roll!My Profile

  13. I'm not a big antholigies fan, but I do appreciate one that's done well and I love the cover, the authors that are featured in this one and the ida. Grims' tales are some of my favorites and I cannot wait to explore this book. The B&tB one seems to be among everyone's favorites. I'm so glad you enjoyed this anthology as a whole:)
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica RossiMy Profile

  14. I loooove that trailer. It's so awesome and creepy. This just looks like such a fabulous book! I LOVE fairy tales (I totally blame Marissa Meyer and Jackson Pearce for making them so awesome again). Disney sure took liberty when they made fairy tales….nice. The originals are really creepy and gory too. I remember reading a little Grimm book and I was pretty gobsmacked at the one where they shoved the evil queen/sister (I can't quite remember) into a barrel full of knives and rolled it down a hill! I mean. HELLO. I thought these were kids stories.., o.O Nope. Nope they're not. XD
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…The Bear by Claire Cameron (I’m never camping again)My Profile

    • Hahah totally not kid's stories! I mean in this one the King is raping his own daughter >< but I found them dark and intriguing. Definitely should get around to reading the originals!