I blew through the first five books in ‘s Sisters Grimm series in just a few weeks. We first meet the Grimm Sisters, Sabrina and Daphne, descendents of the original Brothers Grimm, in The Fairy-Tale Detectives. Over a year and a half beforehand, the girls’ parents disappeared, leaving them at the mercy of the merciless foster care system (one portion of these books that is just slightly overblown). After running away from every home in which they are placed, Daphne and Sabrina discover that their grandmother is not, as their parents have maintained throughout their childhoods, long dead. On the contrary, she is quite alive and living in Fairyport Landing.
The girls join Grandma Relda, learning along the way that she acts as a detective in the middle of a town populated by creatures of the imagination–fairy tale creatures. From the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf to Prince Charming and Snow White to the Queen of Hearts, the town is filled with creatures which Sabrina and Daphne only believed lived in storybooks.
Daphne takes to the girls’ new life quickly, while Sabrina is more than a little reticent.Sabrina is harder, a bit more calloused to the world, having been wounded too often, spending her time protecting her sister and building up walls around herself so that she won’t get hurt again. Daphne, on the other hand, is just wonderful. She is just an interesting, fun character, as she giddily eats up the world around her, loving every second of it. The sisters are incredibly enjoyable to read and follow on their adventures.
As the books progress, the mystery surrounding the girls’ parents disappearance deepens, broadening into a large conspiracy involving a sinister secret society that threatens the unstable existence that the fairy tale community has struggled to maintain since their arrival in America with Wilhelm Grimm almost 200 years before. Each book features an individual mystery that ties somehow into the larger picture, escalating with each installment as the stakes get higher.
The books deal with some pretty mature themes, such as prejudice, addiction, and using power responsibly, if at all–not to mention recognizing whether or not you may even need to use or seek more power than you already have. This is a not-too-heavy-handed exploration of some really universal and essential things that I think every kid should read at some point. He also never talks down to his younger audience, something I really appreciate.
This is a must-read series for all younger readers, particularly those who enjoy Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, as well as Harry Potter.