Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: The Everafter War by Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm #7)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Moves the overall story forward in big ways
Cons: Plot a little slow, requires knowledge of series to appreciate
The Bottom Line:
Sisters Grimm grow dark
With an uneven story
That fans will still love

Things Grow Grimm

The Sisters Grimm series followed the adventures of twelve-year-old Sabrina Grimm and her seven-year-old sister Daphne.  They are the latest descendants of the original brothers Grimm who, it turns out, were recording true events.  Ever since, the Grimm family has tried to keep fairy tale characters, called Everafters, in line.  Most of them are trapped in the town of Ferryport Landing, New York.

The first couple of books started out as standalone adventures that had a hint of an on-going story.  But that has slowly changed as the evil group the Scarlett Hand, under the control of the mysterious Master, has increased their control in town.  The Everafter War is the seventh book in the series and really relies on the previous books for its story.  There is enough background here to understand things, but it really is best if you've read the previous entries in the series.

The book opens with happy news.  After two years in an enchanted sleep, Sabrina and Daphne's parents have finally awakened.  Unfortunately, things are at their breaking point.  A large group from the Scarlett Hand has surrounded the Grimm house.  The family manages to flee and make it to the resistance camp being run by Prince Charming.

But war is coming, and there isn't much that anyone seems able to do to stop it.  As the rage tag group trains for the upcoming battle, someone is sabotaging things around camp.  Before the book is over, one character is dead, there is a major revelation, and the Master is revealed.

As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think about how dark it was.  The early books had their tense moments, but they were mostly fun.  This one was very heavy and sad most of the way through.  There are still some fun moments, like Sabrina's on-going battles with fairy Puck (there were several scenes between them that made me laugh out loud), but the overall tone is very serious.

I actually felt the plot was a little slow here.  Half the action took place off stage with the Grimms only learning about it later.  I felt like much of the book was waiting for the climax to happen.  When it did, I was once again riveted.  While many of the books have left us with cliffhangers of some kind, this one really left me dangling.  And I didn't feel like it tied too much up.  I have a feeling that the only real climax we will get between now and the end of the series will take place in the final book.  But I will say the twists were great, making me gasp a time or two.

On the other hand, the characters continued to really mature here.  A big theme was how adults treat kids, and I liked how that theme was played out.  Sabrina and Daphne have really grown from the first book, and that is built upon here.  I like where they seem to be going.

I don't recommend starting the Sisters Grimm series with The Everafter War.  Much of the earlier series will be spoiled and many of the twists here won't mean much to you.  But fans of the series will enjoy this book despite a bit of a weak story.

If you are coming to the series now, you'll want to back track and read the Sisters Grimm series in order.

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