Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: Magic and Other Misdemeanors by Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and very engaging story
Cons: Weakish climax and set up for next book
The Bottom Line:
Stolen wand; taxes
Kept me turning the pages
'Nother magic read

Thefts of Magic

Magic and Other Misdemeanors is the fifth book in the Sisters Grimm series.  This is one of the continually most creative series I have read in a long time.  We follow the adventures of Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, the latest decedents in a long line from the original Brothers Grimm.  See, those famous brothers weren't making up fairy tales but recording actual, historical events.  All those famous fairy tale characters (as well as some other well known fantasy characters) now live in the town of Ferryport Landing in New York.  The Grimm family lives there, too, to keep these fairy tale creatures in line.

Things have been quiet in town for the last few months.  Now that eleven year old Sabrina has embraced her family's profession, her grandmother has been actively training Sabrina and her younger sister Daphne.  Together, the family is still trying to figure out how to free the girls' parents from the sleeping spell they were put under by the mysterious shadow organization The Scarlett Hand.

However, the family suddenly has a new case when Merlin's Wand suddenly goes missing.  The witch who owned it blames the Grimm family and gives them only a day to clear their name as other items start disappearing.  Meanwhile, the new Mayor Heart (formerly known as the Queen of Hearts) is out to rid the town of the entire human population by giving them impossibly high property taxes.  Can the Grimms keep their home and find the missing items?

I've had a love/hate relationship with Sabrina in previous books, which has been a bit hard since she is our viewpoint character for the action.  I have always understood her actions and point of view, but at times I felt she was acting like a brat.  I'm pleased to say that I loved her here.  Now that she is finally on board the family legacy, I found her willingness to put her talents to good use a refreshing change.  Frankly, we have begun to build a nice stable of recurring characters, and I found all of them further developed here.  I love watching how creatively the author manages to weave in so many different characters from so many different stories.

The plot was also highly engrossing here.  I stayed up way too late a couple of nights because I got caught up in the story.  The solution was logical from the clues provided, which I always appreciate, even if I don't catch the clues the first time around.  While the story here is pretty much self-contained, there are some plot points that move the overall story of the coming battle with the Scarlett Hand forward.

The climax was once again weaker than it could have been, although that seems to be an ongoing issue with the series.  The book also included a coda that seemed tacked on only to give us a "To be continued..." ending and set up the next book in the series.  I would have actually been happier without it.  Both of these were minor issues overall, however.

The Sisters Grimm continue to be an entertaining take on characters we think we already know, and Magic and Other Misdemeanors continues the trend.  You and your kid will both greatly enjoy this adventure.

By this point, you really need to be reading the Sisters Grimm series in order.

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