From Inside Jacket: Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as some cash. The repository is no ordinary library. It lends out objects rather than books - everything from tea sets and hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette's everyday wig. It's also home to the Grimm Collection, a secret room in the basement. That's where powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales are locked away: a seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's step-mother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they're accused of the crime themselves - or the thief captures them.
My Rating: 5 hearts
My Rating: 5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I was first introduced to Polly Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy when someone was giving an ARC of it away with a bunch of other ARCs. I quickly skimmed the accompanying blurb, and figured it sounded pretty interesting. Plus, I loved my fairytales growing up and so, added the novel to my wishlist. Well, I just finished The Grimm Legacy and I loved it!
Right from the start, it was extremely easy to get lost in the pages of The Grimm Legacy. The world that Shulman has created is so realistic and vivid that it’s not hard to imagine the New York Circulating Material Repository, a building that looks like a normal Manhattan brownstone on the outside but is actually much bigger on the inside, having expanded into the neighbouring properties. I especially love the fact that Shulman began each chapter of the book with a Repository object that would be used in the chapter and a call number. Much like Elizabeth then, I felt overwhelmed at first because the call numbers really aid in imagining how vast the Repository’s collection is, but as the book progresses, I too learned how to read the call numbers and so the library started to feel more like a second home. This neat detail to the book just makes you feel as if the Repository does exist! I love my library, but if there’s an actual place like the Repository, feel free to let me know.
The other thing that I really enjoyed about The Grimm Legacy is the cast of characters. They’re all very fleshed out and I love that it’s a multicultural mix since the Repository is located in New York. As much as I liked Elizabeth though and watching her come into her own, my two favourite characters are Marc and Anjali’s siblings, Andre and Jaya. Readers are introduced to Andre when he comes up to Elizabeth while she’s working and tells her he has to go to the bathroom. A three-year-old miniature version of his brother, I couldn’t help laughing as Elizabeth hoped that he wasn’t Marc shrunk by a shrink ray. Plus, Andre calls his brother “butter” and Elizabeth “Libbet,” which I found so cute! Meanwhile, Jaya is that annoying younger sibling, and her interactions with Anjali bring back memories of growing up with my own younger sister. She’s also smart and witty though, which meant that scenes with Jaya were always fun to read.
Shulman’s writing was absolutely brilliant! For example, she does an amazing job describing the Repository without spending a huge amount of time on minute details about how the Repository would work – the basic details are covered – or slowing down the story. In addition, while there’s references to many fairy tales, some of which I haven’t heard of, Shulman does a good job determining which objects’ back-stories would need to be explained a little more. Speaking of objects, Snow White’s stepmother’s mirror is featured prominently, and I loved that it would only answer questions when addressed in a rhyme. Then when answering back in a rhyme, although the mirror had to speak the truth, it would make the truth as ambiguous as possible and call Elizabeth by variations of her name simply to annoy her!
Despite the hints of threat though, the novel remains a fun and light read that will appeal to tweens, teens and adults alike. Part adventure, part fantasy and part mystery, The Grimm Legacy was released by Putnam Juvenile in July 2010.
Comments About the Cover: Whoever did the cover is a genius! It’s not only gorgeous and super detailed but the colours and design just convey this magical, ominous feeling, which goes perfectly with the book’s catch-phrase of “Borrow the magic … if you dare!”