The February 2017 Book Club read was The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman, a young teen read that was lots of fun.
The Grimm Legacy is the first book in what I believe is a trilogy and was a super easy read.
The story follows Elizabeth, a girl who, in true fairy-tale style, lives with her father, step-mother and two not-exactly-lovely stepsisters, and finds her escape from the misery of life in a new after-school job. The job is in a lending library that deals less in books and more in objects, some of which turn out to be more than they appear. Most items in the collection are every day objects – some with historical value – that are borrowed by museums, collectors, researchers and theatres, but down in the depths of the building are some extra special collections that take some extra looking after. The collection focused on in this story is the Grimm Collection – items that feature in or inspired the stories written by the Brothers Grimm – many of which are as magical as the stories imply.
I sort of struggled with the first couple of chapters of The Grimm Legacy but quickly realised that this was because I was trying to read it as a 28 year old, not as a member of the intended audience. As soon as I gave in to my inner 12 year old, I raced through the story in two sittings.
12 year old me LOVED it – here’s her review:
My favourite character was Aaron, right from the start when he was grumpy and anti-social. There was a scene with an invisible chair that made me fall totally in love with him (I won’t go into more detail because it will spoil it) and I was rooting for him through the whole book.
The library sounds AMAZING. I want to work there when I grow up – rows and rows of *stuff* everywhere. From delicate tea sets to Marie Antoinette’s wig via everything imaginable in between and then the Grimm Collection itself with the magic mirrors and the dancing princesses’ slippers and the Wells Bequest full of sci-fi paraphernalia (that actually works!) and the Poe Estate and, and, and… argh! So cool!
Ahem. Back to 28 year old me…
The book wasn’t perfect – there were moments where things happened for the sake of something ‘exciting’ happening – there was even a whole chapter that could have been taken out and it wouldn’t have made a difference to the story.
There were loose ends that didn’t get tied up so much as tucked in – I probably wouldn’t have noticed when I was twelve because I’d have been too happy about Elizabeth finally getting the guy – but as an adult it bugged me.
And everything seemed to happen very quickly. For example, from the moment Elizabeth started at the library, it was clear that the Grimm Collection was supposed to be a secret (note to self: never tell a secret to any characters in this book. They are all rubbish at keeping them) and in order to gain access to work there you had to build up a lot of trust and prove yourself worthy. Oh, and pass a couple of actual tests.
So of course, Elizabeth had her own key within a week.
This was clearly done to move the story along – it couldn’t really get started until she had full access to the Collection – but after so much fuss was made about how hard it was to get to the level of trust required it was a bit ridiculous how soon (and how easily) Elizabeth got her key.
I think that sums up the whole book really – everything was BANG BANG BANG BANG action with very little time to breathe (and what time was taken out to ‘breathe’ was spent talking about how Elizabeth wanted Marc to like her because everyone said he was the hottest guy in school even though she didn’t like him much really… *rolls eyes*)
I did love the idea of the library – and I do still want to work there when I grow up – and I enjoyed how many of the Grimm stories were referenced, not just the famous ones that everybody knows. It amused me how each of us in book club knew a different selection of stories and were surprised that others didn’t know the ones we did.
The idea was great but the execution wasn’t brilliant. 12 year old girls like me and half of the rest of Book Club would have wanted the rest of the series and wanted it now. As a group we agreed that it wasn’t a bad book, and it was a light, fluffy read that was a great relief after last month’s epic!
As it stands, I give it 3.5/5* for the story as a whole but 5/5* for the library!!
There won’t be a Book Club Reads post next month as April is a crazy month for all members of book club so we aren’t meeting again until May. There will be a bumper post then though, because we will have three books to discuss! (Because we failed at choosing just two for the two months!)