Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: Grim, by Anna Waggener @AnnaWaggener

Grim is an unexpectedly deep, dark fantasy about the afterlife that gently sucks you in.

The summary for this one is going to be difficult -- that's probably why the summary on the book isn't very good.  Erika has died in a car accident. She's in the afterlife, being led to her final destination by Jeremiah. She has left behind three children (Rebecca, Shawn & Megan) and a boyfriend, Matt.

The story alternates between the children's perspective as they deal with her death, and Erica's perspective as she figures out where she is, what she is, and who Jeremiah is. And, there's some short sections, typed in white text on black (at least in the ARC) about a king and queen and their kingdom that really baffle, but will eventually make sense.

Erica and Jeremiah end up in Limbo, and it's bizarre. Waggener has created a unique world here, with dead people who can't accept their deaths, and a crazy royal family whose king rules over Limbo. The procedures for entry and exit are unclear. There's evil things living in the water, and a bird who lives with Jeremiah that seems to be important, but that's never really explained. Confusing? Yes. But the confusion is part of the experience.

Erica wants to see her kids, which causes all kinds of problems. Jeremiah is much more than he seems at first -- his back story is extraordinary (and adds more confusion.)

I'm not a big fan of high fantasy, and this one is pretty fantastical. I did enjoy the pace and the writing. Since this is such an unbelievable fantasy, I felt detached from the characters, reading the story to find out what was going to happen but without any real emotion. And, there's room for emotion -- don't expect everyone to live happily ever after. It's pretty dark.

I guess you could say I didn't love Grim, but I have a great appreciation for the creativity of Waggener. The world building and settings were vivid and very uniquely done. I would recommend Grim to fantasy fans who want a darker story involving death and the afterlife. While not for everyone, I'm certain I can find a teen audience for Grim.

Published by Scholastic, June 1, 2012
ARC obtained from the publisher
320 pages

Rating: 3/5

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1 comment:

  1. Hrm..I'm curious about the concept and finding more about Limbo. I'm just a bit worried about the feeling of detachment. I suffered through the same thing with "Star Crossed" by Elizabeth Bunce. Great writing, interesting world, but there was something missing that deterred my enjoyment of the book. I think I'll wait on this one.


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