Title: The Sisters Grimm (review copy)
Author: Menna Van Praag
Genre/Themes: Fantasy, Folklore, Sisters, Feminine
Blurb from Goodreads
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…
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*
Publishing: February 2020