Sisters Sabrina and Daphne have had a rough few years.

After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the Grimm daughters have bounced from awful foster home to god-awful foster home, and their caseworker, Ms. Smirt, is desperate to get them off her hands. The girls, wily and unruly, are nothing but trouble. But at last, Ms. Smirt has found a wayward relative, and she is eager to be rid of them.

firstmeetinggrimm
Illustration of the Grimm Sisters first meeting with Granny Relda by Peter Ferguson.

Now they’ve landed in the caring (and possibly crazy) arms of Relda Grimm—a plump and smartly, fashion-impaired woman claiming to be their long lost grandmother. Granny Relda lives in the middle-of-nowhere, in a township called Ferryport, in a queer house next to a dark, twisting wood with her companion, Mr. Canis, and an enormous faithful hound named Elvis.

Eldest Grimm, Sabrina, after years of bad luck, spends her days plotting possible escape routes while endlessly quarreling and questioning all that Granny Relda says and does, trusting nothing and doubting everything with every fiber of her being.

But buoyant and brave Daphne rather likes their new living arrangements; Granny Relda is everything she could hope for in a grandmother, with her strange, delicious cooking, piles of odd books, and her calm insistence that fairy tales are real, and that magic exists.

Something troublesome is afoot in Ferryport, and the Grimm girls are in for a ride.

Sisters_Grimm“Watching Daphne drive Ms. Smirt crazy was one of Sabrina’s favorite pastimes.’

Smirt had made a mistake when she chose a career working with children […] especially since she didn’t seem to like them. Ms. Smirt complained whenever she had to touch their sticky hands or wipe their runny noses, and reading bedtime stories was completely out of the question. She seemed to especially dislike the Grimm sisters, and had labeled them rude, uncooperative, and a couple of know-it-alls. So Sabrina was sure it was Ms. Smirt’s personal mission to get the girls out of the orphanage and into a foster home.’

So far, she had failed miserably.”

This is a fun book. I enjoyed both our heroines, with Daphne’s bubbly optimism serving as a solid tonic to Sabrina’s incessant paranoia and angst. As the first volume in a now long, exciting, well established series, The Sisters Grimm easily unfurls a wonderful world of magic and adventure. I very much like the detective, gender-bending spin Michael Buckley has taken the Brothers Grimm and their infamous tales on.

I indulged in the slew of characters. I laughed out loud at some of their antics, the puzzling situations they found themselves in; I loved Daphne’s snarl at pompous Puck, at his mentioning of “women’s work”. I found the mishmash of fables entertaining, and was intrigued by the mystery.

It’s lithe enough to let you float on adventurous seas for awhile, yet just dark enough for adults to sink their wisdom teeth into, taste the salt of worry and the nail-biting tingle of danger. Peter Ferguson’s pencil-esque illustrations lend a fantastical, childlike feel to the book, and definitely fit the flavor of tall-tales. One is immediately catapulted into excitement, fun, and mystery, and I felt content upon turning the final page.

Go ahead and pick up The Fairy-Tale Detectives. Who doesn’t like a good fairy tale?

fairytale-detectives-book

Four out of five stars for The Sisters Grimm.

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