Author: Michael Buckley
I wasn’t that big a fan of the first book in the Sisters Grimm series (about modern day descendants of the Brothers Grimm in a world where their stories were non-fiction), but I still like the concept and therefore I tried this second book. Unfortunately, it has similar flaws as the first one. For instance, the stories are very childish, clearly targeting a young audience, yet they’re filled with death and monsters and other gruesome imagery that I can’t imagine would be very appropriate for young children.
But I’ve narrowed down the chief flaw to the plots: they just don’t make much sense. Though supposedly the girls are fairy-tale “detectives” there can’t be much detecting, since the resolutions always involve strange magic requiring information we don’t have in advance (in other words, these aren’t like regular mystery books where the reader can solve the crime if clever enough). The first book had a weak plot and this one here has a strange one, one that’s really over-the-top and bizarre. (Without spoiling too much, it involves a character who can blow himself up like a nuclear bomb. Yeah, that makes sense.) Another frustrating aspect of these stories is that the main characters do very little to actual solve or resolve the situation. The girls stumble onto crimes (or the bad guy attacks them) and the ending involves another bad guy stopping the really bad guy — our heroines are pretty much useless.
Speaking of the ending, this particular book really gets on my nerves by not actually having an ending. It almost literally stops in the middle of a sentence with a “to be continued” encouraging you to buy the next book. Arghh! While we sort of get the idea that the bad guy has been stopped, even that isn’t completely clear, and the story ends with a setup for the sequel.
None of this means the book is horrible — there are some good moments, wonderful characters, and real quality writing in places. The setting is brilliant and the way fairy tale creatures are blended throughout is genius. But I just wish there were better stories underlying these books. Instead we have a one-gimmick premise with feeble attempts to wrap a “mystery” around it.