The Sisters Grimm

The Sisters Grimm

The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and...

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Title:The Sisters Grimm
Author:Menna van Praag
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Sisters Grimm Reviews

  • Ova - Excuse My Reading

    There is something elemental about being a woman. We all feel it. We're the creatures of the moon, the water, the air, the earth; the moon changes every month, every day and so we do.

    I read The Sisters Grimm as an ode to womanhood. Life tries to break us, change us, push us to our limits, tries us with our biggest fears, sometimes taking the most loved people away from us, sometimes making us estrange ourselves from them.

    This is a story of Sisters, who don't even remember each

    There is something elemental about being a woman. We all feel it. We're the creatures of the moon, the water, the air, the earth; the moon changes every month, every day and so we do.

    I read The Sisters Grimm as an ode to womanhood. Life tries to break us, change us, push us to our limits, tries us with our biggest fears, sometimes taking the most loved people away from us, sometimes making us estrange ourselves from them.

    This is a story of Sisters, who don't even remember each other, but they spot the little hints to the lost magic they had once to unite again. I am a person that lives between the small mercies of the daily hassle... I need magical seconds to make me believe there is magic in this world we live in, we're just too blind to see it. (Or maybe I am just insane...)

    Sisters Grimm brought me that magic, cutting me out from the world in the hours I read it. I felt pieces of myself in each sister, and my god, the countdown element was so tense, the last half of the book was undroppable for me although I had a sick child!

    For fans of Angela Carter, Erin Morgenstein. Highly recommended for fans of literary, beautiful fantasies.

  • Umut Rados

    The Sisters Grimm was a special book. It was even more special to read as a woman about the magical story of these 4 sisters. It has a really good idea behind it. The magic of each sister is related to the Earth's elements: water, fire, earth and air. They don't remember each other, growing up separately, but they will come together one day, in a different, magical world to discover their powers.

    This book was beautifully written, slowly revealing itself to the reader. It reminded me of The

    The Sisters Grimm was a special book. It was even more special to read as a woman about the magical story of these 4 sisters. It has a really good idea behind it. The magic of each sister is related to the Earth's elements: water, fire, earth and air. They don't remember each other, growing up separately, but they will come together one day, in a different, magical world to discover their powers.

    This book was beautifully written, slowly revealing itself to the reader. It reminded me of The Night Circus for sure. Not that its ideas are similar, but the styles and how stories reveal themselves are similar. So, I think the fans of The Night Circus should try this out.

    I read it in a couple of days, feeling myself in another world rooting for these sisters. It's hard to pull off so many perspectives, yet I think it's done beautifully.

    The story and the atmosphere is intriguing, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this fantasy world. Highly recommended.

  • Schizanthus Nerd

    UPDATE: My day just got awesome! I found signed copies of this book at Goldsboro Books. Ive ordered my copy and cant wait for it to arrive. Happy book day to me!

    UPDATE: My day just got awesome! I found signed copies of this book at Goldsboro Books. I’ve ordered my copy and can’t wait for it to arrive. Happy book day to me!

    Each girl in

    represents an element and a fairytale character. Goldi (Goldilocks) is earth, Bea (Beauty) is air, Liyana (I read somewhere that she represents Snow White but I cannot confirm this) is water and Scarlet (Red Riding Hood) is fire. Some of the comparisons between the characters and their fairytale equivalent were more obvious than others. While the Grimm connections will likely add to the book’s appeal for a lot of readers I would have been equally invested in the story had this not been included.

    Goldie, whose perspective is the only one told in first person, is the sole caregiver for Teddy, her ten year old brother. She cleans rooms at a fancy hotel, liberating items from its rich guests to help support him. Her boss is sleazy and she’s experienced significant trauma in her childhood.

    Bea was raised in various foster homes while her mother was being treated at St Dymphna’s Psychiatric Hospital. Bea studies philosophy and feels most alive when she’s soaring through the air in a glider.

    Liyana (Ana) was on track to be an Olympian before an injury derailed her plans but she remains at home in the water. Ana and her mother moved to London from Ghana when she was a child. Ana is an artist. Her girlfriend, Kumiko, hasn’t met her aunt Nyasha yet.

    Scarlet lives with her grandmother, Esme, whose health is declining. Scarlet now runs the café owned by her family. She lost both her mother, Ruby, and her home a decade ago as a result of fire.

    I saw myself in all of the girls to a certain extent and, although I’d never heard of this author prior to this book and they certainly couldn’t pick me out of a lineup, I am almost always awake at 3:33am so I’m claiming this part of the dedication as my own. I knew from the blurb that one of the four would not survive but I liked them all and hoped against hope that the blurb was faulty. It was not.

    This book reminded me of two important bookish things:

    1. Why I should not pay too much attention to a book’s star ratings and reviews before I finish reading it myself, and

    2. Why I should always give a book a little more time after deciding it’s not for me.

    I had really been looking forward to this book so when I saw some unflattering reviews I admit that I allowed them to dampen my enthusiasm and even shuffled my TBR pile, moving a couple up the queue, as the thought of needing to drag myself through so many pages was unappealing. As soon as I began reading I realised the error of my ways - until I began reading from Leo’s perspective. He’s a what? From where? Seriously?

    My initial failure to connect with Leo’s character, along with my impatience with the multiple perspectives that changed so frequently I had trouble keeping up for a while, caused me to very nearly write this book off as a DNF. Each sister‘s story is told from two perspectives (now and a decade ago). There are also varying amounts of time dedicated to Leo, Nyasha, Esme and their father. Then there are descriptions of Everwhere.

    If you count the descriptions of Everwhere as a perspective, which I did, you wind up with a baker’s dozen.

    Thankfully I persevered just a little bit longer than I had planned before abandoning the book altogether and I’m so glad I did because I wound up entirely sucked in to this world and these sisters’ lives. I even got used to the rapid changes in perspective, although I still think I’d benefit from a reread to pick up connections I likely missed the first time through. I think this is the first time a potential DNF has suddenly morphed into an

    for me and I can’t wait to reread it, soaking up the enjoyment I obviously missed early on.

    There’s always this childlike delight that wells up inside of me when I discover illustrations in a book I don’t expect to find them in. I absolutely fell in love with Alastair Meikle’s illustrations and had so much trouble choosing a favourite to share with you here. I’ve chosen the first one, mostly because it invokes the same sense of wonder every time I look at it.

    Although I’m not usually interested in Tarot, the descriptions of the cards throughout the book made me want to send a wish to the book’s marketing team in the hope that they’ll commission a set of Tarot cards, illustrated by Alastair Meikle, that have a similar feel to the style used in the book.

    The descriptions of Everwhere enchanted me so much I wanted to visit. I yearned to learn everything I could about each of the four sisters. I wondered what element and powers I would most want, if I had the ability to choose. I didn’t want this story to end and it wouldn’t surprise me if this book comes to mind when I think about my favourite reads of the year. I need to inhale more of this author’s words.

    If anyone needs me I’ll be stalking the internet to see if I can buy a signed copy of this book. My bookcase desperately needs one!

    include child abuse, mental health, self harm, sexual assault and suicidal ideation.

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, Penguin Random House UK, for the opportunity to read this book.

  • Lili  Marcus

    I totally forgot about this. So I'm going to make this short.

    This is one of my best reads last year and it made me happier because it's an ARC. The fantasy element is really done well and I found myself sucked into the world of these four sisters and their forgotten childhood. I think this is a very atmospheric novel and I really like the concept of the sisters, with their father wanting to use them for evil but in the end, something amazing happened instead. That said, I love how the story is

    I totally forgot about this. So I'm going to make this short.

    This is one of my best reads last year and it made me happier because it's an ARC. The fantasy element is really done well and I found myself sucked into the world of these four sisters and their forgotten childhood. I think this is a very atmospheric novel and I really like the concept of the sisters, with their father wanting to use them for evil but in the end, something amazing happened instead. That said, I love how the story is wrapped up. Too powerful.

    The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is that I found the first half of the story, with the sisters telling their experiences, somehow similar to each other. Maybe because they're heading towards the same directions in life but still it made the story a little slow. But overall, I highly recommend this novel. If you want to read a story that is entertaining, magical and original, this one is for you.

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    Four: powerful heroine alerted, entertaining, magical, Grimm-y, surprising stars!

    As a fan of Grimm Brothers dark, gory, depressing stories which affected my first impressions about real life when I was a child, I happily devour anything written or named with Grimm! So when I got my kindle into my hands and saw this book on my shelf, I sang Thank you, next, next from Ariana Grande for NetGalley team members and I made my Shirley Temple tap dance (my version of Shirley Temple dance is drinking a

    Four: powerful heroine alerted, entertaining, magical, Grimm-y, surprising stars!

    As a fan of Grimm Brothers’ dark, gory, depressing stories which affected my first impressions about real life when I was a child, I happily devour anything written or named with “Grimm”! So when I got my kindle into my hands and saw this book on my shelf, I sang “Thank you, next, next” from Ariana Grande for NetGalley team members and I made my Shirley Temple tap dance (my version of Shirley Temple dance is drinking a big glass of Shirley Temple cocktail and foot fighting without any rhythm to terrorize my neighbors who are spying on me behind their curtains!)

    But don’t think this a retelling of one of the bleak, sad, vulgar Grimm Brothers stories or any other fairy tales you know! This book is original, brand new, unique, exhilarating, special and fresh contribute to the fantasy world.

    The story is about four sisters who represent different elements and possess different powers, not estranged but they completely forgot each other, resume different life styles.

    There are so much visionary ideas that author brought into this book such as binding dreams, creatively developed fantasies and fairytales. And don’t forget the astrological approach to help shaping the characteristic behaviors, weaknesses and strengths. Interestingly four sister always reminds me of March Sisters, with their different characters, different POVS and different life paths.

    Goldie represents the earth element, working as a maid at a Cambridge hotel, stealing from the customers to buy her brother Teddy new clothes.

    Liyana, colorful girl, immigrated to the UK from Ghana, represents water and the only queer character of the book, has a secret girlfriend. Her dreams to be an Olympic level athlete float after her tragic accident. Now she needs to deal with injured leg and her new life choices.

    Scarlett represents fire, working at a family café and taking care of her grandmother who is suffering from dementia.

    Finally Bea is an art student of Cambridge College, represents air, a real ambitious, hard worker, trying to get rid of her over controlling mother who forced her to make different life choices.

    This book is not easy reading because of its too many POVS (not only four sisters, we actually have Leo, too! And of course don’t forget the younger version of the characters’ narrations. So they turned into 10 POVS: Ten voices are blaring out in my head which makes me want to sing Zombie from Cranberries) and moving back and forth between two timelines story-telling and don’t forget all those combined magical, original but also confusing dream-binding elements.

    One of the timeline is now: The girls’ birthday at the Halloween is coming closer and many eerie, mysterious things start to happen around them. And other timeline belongs to 8 years ago: The sisters have met for the first time.

    Without having any knowledge, four girls dream Everywhere: an autumnal, magical place. But they don’t know the danger is waiting for them at this place. Lumen Latros, half falling star, half human soldiers chase them to end their lives.

    Maybe because I have fire sign, I mostly related with Scarlet and also loved Goldie and her street smartness. Of course Goldie and Leo gave us romantic chemistry that we need. Nobody says no to enemies to lovers attraction.

    When we come to the end we see that girls finally learn the truth and curse they have to fight against. Only 33 days left to meet their father. They need to fight for their lives and save each other.

    Pros: It’s creative, capturing, entertaining, magical, different, original reading.

    Cons: Too many POVS, time jumping, confusing way of story-telling and I truly disliked Bea as a character and wanted to skip her parts immediately.

    As a summary: this is not my 5 stars reading but I found the story is promising, entertaining and riveting enough to be still curious to learn and read more about the characters’ journeys (instead of Bea!!!) So I’d love to read the sequels and enjoy more time with those sisters’ bounding.

    Special thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers/ Harper Voyager to share this fantastic ARC COPY in exchange my honest review. And I’m so happy to read one of the works of Menna Van Praag. I cannot wait to read her previous and future works.

  • Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    If you are hesitant about picking up this book, read the synopsis first. It is very much on par with the overall storyline and guaranteed to garner your attention if you enjoy a YA novel infused with bewitching roots into a fairy tale world. Though it isn't specifically categorized this way, I would almost describe it as a contemporary YA novel with fantasy lore.

    If you are hesitant about picking up this book, read the synopsis first. It is very much on par with the overall storyline and guaranteed to garner your attention if you enjoy a YA novel infused with bewitching roots into a fairy tale world. Though it isn't specifically categorized this way, I would almost describe it as a contemporary YA novel with fantasy lore.

    This is the glimpse at four sisters, their lives in our world and the deeply rooted calling from a place named

    Goldie works at a hotel. She loves writing and has done so since childhood. Her home life growing up has been troublesome with an abusive stepfather and now she is raising her brother alone in an apartment in the city. To make ends meet, she has resolved to thievery from hotel guests...just those little extras that would not be noticed right away by any traveler. There are times when she slips into dreams of a place where she has sisters and plays outside under majestic willow trees.

    Her eye for a boy named Leo from the hotel branch might know a thing or two about her and despite his biggest efforts of not falling for her, finds himself between a rock and a hard place when Goldie turns eighteen, the day on which she has to either accept all that is dark into her heart or all that is light and fight for her life.

    Bea likes to soar the heavens with Dr. Finch teaching her how to fly in his glider. More reserved in person but none the less important later in the story, he is not the kind of man that Bea is attracted to. Despite that, she takes what she wants, when she wants it also from Finch. She is the one sister, with the earliest tie ins to Everwhere we will learn of.

    Liyana loves the water. It's the place she is at peace. At the community swimming pool, she spends hours just gliding through the water and diving for minutes at a time. Due to financial difficulties, her aunt, who raised her, has suggested a proposal: Mary into money, that would guarantee her the college she wants to attend and give them more security. The only problem is, Liyana already is in a relationship with another girl and not interested in the boy that her aunt picked for her. A wobbly tug and pull are created in her intent on doing well for her aunt and assuring her girlfriend of her love.

    Scarlet runs a coffee shop in the same building she lives in with her grandmother. There is a lot of history to the place since it was her grandparent's business and the place where her grandma remembers dances and romance with her grandfather. Unfortunately, the glimmers into the past are fading due to Alzheimer's and Scarlet has to use all her resources to keep the coffee shop running. It does not help that the ceiling in the shop is crumbling and a big whiz financier wants to put a Starbucks next door.

    All of the girls have innate connections to the place Everwhere and experience some form of dream or deja vu in their conscience being of having played with sisters in meadows other than their real life. While the novel explores in detail each of the girls' current circumstances, it also is interspersed with flashbacks and another person in their life guiding them in some fashion towards their 18th birthday, the day when all of them are faced with a big decision.

    This is a very character-driven narrative with several views and angles, rising ever so slowly to the climactic culmination of events. There is an overreaching figure they all have something in common with that makes them "Grimm" and a certain expectation that seals their fate if persuaded.

    Menna Van Praag's writing is lyrical and stellar in places. If you have read The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, it is what I would possibly compare it too in a sense, yet very different by content. The writing is what actually raised the roof for me in this novel. I loved the essence of Everwhere, but actually wanted more of it. It's really more of a personal preference most likely, as I don't read much of contemporary nature and the rest of the novel had a very contemporary feel.

    The characterization of the sisters was very well done. With each POV in the story, the tone and tempo changed accordingly and made it easy to learn what makes all of them tick. I found Scarlett's story to be very relatable, yet they all have their forte, strengths, and weaknesses. The elements of good and evil in each of them is explored while different measures are given to individual personalities and tendencies.

    A novel to savor over 400+ pages for its beautiful writing and unique, subtle world-building with a pay-off of rather quick nature. You will know those sisters, feel for them and miss them by the time you turn that last page.

    Enjoy

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    As I was reading this book I kept thinking about how I would write this review. Because I could never exactly put my finger on what truly this story is about until the last few pages.

    I guess the ultimate aims of this book are to exalt the powers of the feminine. It's a book about women on their 18th birthdays finding their hidden strengths and somehow rising above to vanquish the darkness that is pervasive in society. The darkness that is seeing woman as somehow less than. That woman is

    As I was reading this book I kept thinking about how I would write this review. Because I could never exactly put my finger on what truly this story is about until the last few pages.

    I guess the ultimate aims of this book are to exalt the powers of the feminine. It's a book about women on their 18th birthdays finding their hidden strengths and somehow rising above to vanquish the darkness that is pervasive in society. The darkness that is seeing woman as somehow less than. That woman is subservient. That woman is not equal to man.

    And in the last 10% or so of the book this was achieved in a most intriguing manner using a fantastical storyline; seemingly unconnected women coming together in an otherworldly world called Everwhere and discovering the power of sisterhood in an attempt to defeat the darkness that wished to manipulate them for evil...

    But the other 90% of this novel was somewhat of a drudgery.

    We were introduced to these four "sisters" and were told their individual tales from each of their perspectives and the plot was rather slowly revealed with their meeting held until the extreme endpoint of the novel.

    I found much of the plot to be repetitive as each sister's story explored how they had forgotten the Everwhere of their childhoods. Because of the long drawn out style of the narrative and its constant repetition I just found myself not feeling much empathy with the characters and how they each dealt with difficult lives, painful relationships, hidden traumas etc.

    So while I truly appreciated the wonderful mythology and fantastical elements contained within this plot sadly I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. To me the story would be much better serviced by shortening its overall length as this would truly create a sense of drama and much needed ominous overtones as to where the book would eventually end up.

    As for the characters themselves, I thought that Goldie and Liyana were the best developed and provided the novel with its strongest plot points. Scarlet's storyline was interesting but needed more detail re her interactions with her mother as a child. However I repeatedly found myself struggling to remember the circumstances of the sister named Bea and frequently questioned the seemingly sudden appearance of other characters in her storyline.

    Overall I think I will award this book three stars as there was a beauty to the writing and a majesty to the otherworldly elements, but I'm dropping stars for the repetition, the slow moving nature of the plot and the general murkiness of the narrative.

    *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  • Carolyn

    I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It has a lot going for it including great world building and four vibrant young woman just starting to recognise their own strengths. I enjoyed the writer's imagination and in places the story is beautiful. However, the timelines were often difficult to follow with the background fragmented and repetitive such that the pacing was too slow for most of the book with the ending very rushed when more detail would have been good.

    This is story of

    I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It has a lot going for it including great world building and four vibrant young woman just starting to recognise their own strengths. I enjoyed the writer's imagination and in places the story is beautiful. However, the timelines were often difficult to follow with the background fragmented and repetitive such that the pacing was too slow for most of the book with the ending very rushed when more detail would have been good.

    This is story of four women who first meet as children in their dreams in a fantasy world called Everwhere from which they are excluded when they turn thirteen. They learn that they are Grimm sisters and on the night they turn eighteen they will be permitted to re-enter this world but must fight male soldiers for their lives. Each of the women has a special magical gift using the power of Earth, Fire, Water or Air, which they must learn to develop to to use in their fight to survive in Everwhere.

    I was enchanted by the premise of the book and the stories of the four women and I enjoyed the women's stories and the empowerment they each found within themselves. However the timelines were confusing with each of the women narrating events from their childhood as well as the current time so that it wasn't always clear what time period we were in (adding indicators such as 'then' and 'now' would have been helpful). So while I really enjoyed the mythology of the novel and the writer's vision for her fantasy world and it's inhabitants, the novel really would have benefited from more focus and streamlining of the plot. 3.5★

  • Ari

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    Nothing can push fairy tales off of their own classic shelf. They've evolved and grown over the years, and nowadays we have plenty of retellings to fill our reading preferences. I am, however, not sure if that's what was attempted with

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    The concept for this story is

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    Nothing can push fairy tales off of their own classic shelf. They've evolved and grown over the years, and nowadays we have plenty of retellings to fill our reading preferences. I am, however, not sure if that's what was attempted with

    .

    The concept for this story is fantastic, but we are never given enough explanation into it to make it well understood. As a matter of fact, a lot of things are not explained. We know that there are soldiers, who are originally stars and somehow are either born into human bodies on earth or appear, and as they grow they are somehow trained to one day kill Grimm girls once they turn eighteen or they will stop existing since the death of these girls/women replenish their light...

    Throughout this novel, I felt that I was ambivalently moving along while waiting for action to jump into the moment, any moment, and save the day. And the constant jumping back and forth from past to present made for an uneven, bumpy switch in narrative.

    Books are often either character-driven or plot-driven. Were I to choose one, I would go with plot. And in the moments when the author gives me both, I find myself on cloud nine.

    is extremely character-driven, which works for a lot readers. As that, it is a very well written. But because it is so character-driven, sometimes in mundane ways, most of the novel moves along at the pace of melted molasses. There is barely any action to be seen, save for the end, where we are subjected to the longest chapter in the novel so that the reunion of the four “sisters” is packed into one lengthy stretch to allow us the outcome of them returning to Everwhere.

    That last chapter gives Bea, Goldie, Ana and Scarlet a brief section each, where they then all have the opportunity to defeat the soldier that is meant to kill them. I will say, I was surprised to find out who the soldiers for both Bea and Scarlet turned out to be, but that doesn't take away from the fact that even once they get to their father, it's all lackluster. Even their defeat of their father is lackluster. These girls have a spark of magic that grows and forms mostly in dreams, and suddenly it is all re-awoken, embraced and used so

    knowledgeably.

    And as for Wilhelm Grimm... I am still confused as to his character. Is this one of the Grimm brothers turned demon (somehow), or is this a demon/devil who happens to be named Grimm and commands all of these girls who happen to be part of fairy tales? His existence, as is the brief and repetitive view that we get of Everwhere, are not expanded enough for me to feel any impact from this character or setting.

    A setting, which, given the type of story this attempted to be, could have been so powerful and beautifully dark.

    The writing itself is good, and I am thankful for it. But I was far too confused in things that I wanted more understanding of, as well as lacking any real investment in the characters and the pace at which they moved, to be fully immersed and enjoy the tale.

  • Obsidian

    Wow. This was just bad. Ive been trying to get through this book since December. At 20 percent today I called it quits. The changing points of views told in first, second, and third person was headache inducing. The girls in this story are insufferable for the most part. And we have a whole storyline about stars (I dont know...demons?) hunting the sisters I just ceased to care. It doesnt help the time line

    Wow. This was just bad. I’ve been trying to get through this book since December. At 20 percent today I called it quits. The changing points of views told in first, second, and third person was headache inducing. The girls in this story are insufferable for the most part. And we have a whole storyline about “stars” (I don’t know...demons?) hunting the sisters I just ceased to care. It doesn’t help the time line is all over the place too.

    I love magical realism books, but they have to have an actual plot and world building you can follow. We’re not getting any idea of this world that Praag is trying to build. I can hazard a guess that some of these “girls” are built upon fairy tale characters from the Grimm Fairytales (we have a Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea). If I cared at all I would try to figure out Liyana and Bea’s fairy tale equivalents. I do not not though so moving on.

    The flow is awful with the a decade before and the a countdown to I guess a quarter moon or something? Seriously it’s just a lot happening with zero explanations.

    The setting is I guess modern day London, but it seemed to not matter at all. It could have taken place in Timbuktu.

    This is my last book by this author.

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