{Review/Giveaway} THE GRIMM CHRONICLES, Vols. 1 & 2 by Isabella Fontaine & Ken Brosky

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Last month, Ken Brosky wrote a Little Red Riding Hood-themed short story entitled Legacy of Red during A Week of Little Red here at A Backwards Story!

The short story was a taste of what readers get when stepping into the world of The Grimm Chronicles, a series he co-wrote with Isabella Fontaine.  Legacy of Red has now been included in the Volume 2 compilation of The Grimm Chronicles! I will say that the short may not make 100% sense if you haven't begun the series yet when read out of context.  It was only after re-reading it after diving into the world that I fully embraced and appreciated what I was reading!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN EDWARD WAS too good to be true. 

No. Wait. Let me go back to the beginning.  Before I had this curse.  Before I went around slaying creatures that shouldn't exist.  Before I made friends with a rabbit.
(Page 9, US e-book edition)

It's only appropriate that I review The Grimm Chronicles by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky during Fairy Tale Fortnight.  I first heard about it during the first FTF back in 2011 thanks to a sidebar ad on The Book Rat's website. The title of the first book in the series, PRINCE CHARMING MUST DIE, caught my eye because it's so unusual.  Unusual is the perfect term to describe The Grimm Chronicles as well.  I haven't read anything else quite like it--and as you can imagine, I've read a lot of fairy tales.

To keep things as spoiler-free as possible (which is hard when you consider the fact that the first two volumes of The Grimm Chronicles spans 6 of the 12 novellas making up the series), the series revolves around Alice, a girl who finds out that she's a hero.  A hero is someone who comes along once in a generation (this reminds me of the way the Slayer is constantly reborn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and is gifted with a magic pen and the ability to rid the world of fairy tale creatures gone wrong.  The pen is more than it appears (Sort of think Riptide, Percy Jackson's pen that becomes a sword), infused with magical ink that allows its heroic bearer to create tools able to vanquish the Corrupted.  It's the very same pen used by the Brothers Grimm when creating their now-famous stories.  The only problem?  The same magic used to bring the stories to life and into the real world was dark, and over time, the characters have become corrupted.  From minor characters we barely remember to the heroes, heroines, and villains of each tale, no one is exempt.  It is Alice's destiny to rid the world of these characters; a hero can't rest until no character remains.

It was a lot of fun to see which fairy tales and characters were going to make an appearance in The Grimm Chronicles next.  Sometimes, I was guessing for a while; there's definitely a factor of mystery involved as readers discover who the Corrupted are alongside Alice.  Not every character we meet is evil, either, creating a complex, shadowed nuance not often seen. There's a lot of gray space and little black and white, which makes Alice's trials even more burdensome.  The stories interconnect in arcs, and I liked seeing fairy tale characters pop up in earlier volumes only to come back in big ways later on.  I also enjoyed the small nod to non-Grimm tales in the series, such as the way Alice (to me at least) pays tribute to Lewis Carroll, and while she is aided by a rabbit, it's the lesser-known Br'er Rabbit, which was a fun addition for me.  Alice is a strong heroine who evolves and goes through a lot of character development as the series progresses.

I'd recommend buying the stories as compilations if you're starting out.  There are a lot of fun goodies thrown in such as short stories, "lost" diaries from former heroes, and the referenced Brothers Grimm tales.  While at time, sentences and dialogue felt very formal against the light, easy tone of Alice's voice as a narrator, the series was still easy to read and engaging.  I like the formula Fontaine and Brosky are using and find the use of novella story arcs to be solid and easy to follow.  While readers could jump into later volumes without having read earlier ones, it's encouraged to read from the beginning for a full understanding of the world of The Grimm Chronicles.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I do wish the covers in this series ultimately matched a little better, but that's because I like things matchy-matchy.  Out of all the covers, I think Volume 1 looks the most professional, though the second volume is more artistic. It looks more like an old, aged book, which gives it character. Neither volume has the old-school look of the individual novellas, but they don't match each other, either.  This won't bother most people, though.  I'm just a geek when it comes to covers, lol!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:
(of the series)

Author: Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
Release Date: Aug 03, 2012
Publisher: Brew City Press

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm unleashed their stories upon the world. Literally. Now the characters of the Grimms’ stories walk among us. With every day that passes, they grow more evil. They are the Corrupted, and only a hero can stop them. 

For 18-year-old Alice Goodenough, that means taking precious time off from her summer vacation. In addition to volunteering at the local library, Alice must stop the Corrupted who are now actively hunting her down. With the help of her magic pen and her trusty rabbit friend, the world has suddenly gotten a lot more complex. The Corrupted are everywhere, and only Alice can see them for what they truly are. 

This book contains the first 3 episodes of the critically acclaimed series: 

Episode 1: Prince Charming Must Die! 
Episode 2: Happily Never After 
Episode 3: Revenge of the Castle Cats

Additional features for this special edition: 
- An introduction 
- Two special "Lost Diaries" 
- A behind-the-scenes interview 
- A collection of original Grimms' Fairy Tales 

THE GRIMM CHRONICLES is intended for Young Adults aged 13 and up. 
The goal is to provide Young Adult readers with a strong, charismatic young woman in the role of the hero and provide readers with a positive protagonist who uses her brain to overcome obstacles life throws in her way.
Author: Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
Release Date: Out Feb. 13, 2013
Publisher: Brew City Press
Received:  For Review

200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm changed everything. 

With the help of a little magic, fairy tales were made real, manifesting all over the world. Charming princes. Gold-hunting dwarfs. Terrible step-mothers. Heroic animals. 

Then, slowly, they began to change. Everyone—from Prince Charming to the old miller—grew more evil. Corrupted. A hero was chosen to stop them, hunting them down one by one and destroying them with the help of a magic pen and a special rabbit assistant. 

For 200 years, the hero’s magic pen has been passed on from generation to generation. The newest hero is Alice Goodenough, an 18-year-old junior from Washington High School. While her friends spent their summer working and having fun, Alice found herself doing battle with creatures most human beings don’t even realize exist. A giant snake. A blood-sucking prince. A terrifying half-man, half-hedgehog. Dastardly dwarfs intent on mind-controlling everyone who uses a cell phone. 

Now, senior year has begun. With it comes a new challenge at school, where bullies have grown bolder and classes more challenging. As if that’s not enough, Alice must face off against a collection of Corrupted who all share a terrible secret, one that might awaken a creature capable of doing untold damage. To uncover the secret, Alice will have to face off against a man-eating lizard, a bloodthirsty sea captain, and a mysterious wizard who can see into the future … 

This book contains: 

Episode 4: The Orphanage of Doom 
Episode 5: Blood and Thunder 
Episode 6: The Order of the Golden Dragon 

Bonus Material: 
The Lost Journal of Eugene Washington 
Assorted fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm 
A Legacy of Red (First seen here at A Backwards Story, whoot!)


Ready to check out the Grimm Chronicles series?

5 winners will receive an e-book copy of

Giveaway ends April 11th!

Enter now!

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  1. I'm not entering the giveaway because I have ARCs of both volumes, but I just wanted to confirm that these stories are amazing, and everyone else should enter! Alice is a great strong protagonist!


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