Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm #8)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting idea; advances story in big ways
Cons: Repetitive at times
The Bottom Line
A good Sisters Grimm
While it is repetitive
Advances story

The Mission: Avoid the Revisers and Find the Baby

Things have been heating up in the world of the Sisters Grimm.  This series of books aimed at late elementary schoolers and up takes a fun approach to fairytales.  Our main characters, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, are the latest descendants of the original Brothers Grimm who recorded real life events.  All these people (and some from other well known childhood stories) now live in Ferryport Landing, New York where the Grimm family tries to ride heard on them.  But things have gotten out of control as a group called The Scarlet Hand, lead by the mysterious Master, is trying to gain their freedom from the Grimm family and Ferryport Landing once and for all.

The Inside Story is the eighth book in the series, and I highly recommend that you do not start here.  Quite obviously, a lot has come before.  Jumping in here will spoil some major surprises.  It's worth reading this series from the beginning to see how things develop.

At the end of the last book, Sabrina, Daphne, and Puck, a fairy, jumped into the Book of Everafter as they tried to stop the Master from executing an important part of his plan.  And that plan involves a baby boy that is very special to the Grimms.

Sabrina and Daphne soon learn that the Book of Everafter is a collection of all the fairytales preserved for posterity.  It is ruled by a tyrannical Editor who makes sure the stories do not stray from their original course by unleashing Revisers to erase and rewrite anything that is changed.  And the only way to jump from one story to the next is to finish the story.  Can Sabrina and Daphne find and stop the Master before he unleashes his evil plan while avoiding the wrath of the Editor?

The premise of this book sounded interesting, but it was one of those things that could be good or bad.  Unfortunately, the first half of the story was pretty slow going.  There weren't many twists, and it seemed to take forever for things to really get going.  Fortunately, things picked up in the second half.  The final quarter not only provided some nice twists for this book, but really changed the game for the entire series.  The next book is supposed to conclude things, and I can not wait to see where things go.

I was also surprised by what Michael Buckley was able to do with the characters.  He manages to keep maturing Sabrina and Daphne.  Okay, so Daphne is way too smart to be a seven-year-old, but I love what he's done with her character.  Besides, after all she's gone through, I'm sure she would have matured some beyond her years.  Sabrina really continues to grow as well.  I'm not sure where else we can go with the character, but I can't wait to see it.  The biggest change though came to Puck.  And that's all I'm saying about him.  Most everyone else we meet isn't around for very long, but they certainly work for the length of time we see them.

As always, the book is well written.  I flew through the pages.  I'm sure the target audience will have no trouble reading it.  And the once a chapter illustrations will catch their interest.

I don't see how everything can be resolved in one book, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the author tries.  While The Inside Story isn't the strongest book in the series, fans will need to read it so that they understand what is to come in the final chapter.

And if you aren't already a fan, you'll want to read the Sisters Grimm Series in order to fully understand this book.

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