Audiobook Info: Middle Grade, Received for review, Audio length: 9 hours 40 minutes, read by Julia Whelan.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
The Grimm Legacy is a modern day fairy tale, where a little magic can help transform a Cinderella-like girl’s life. I enjoy fairy tale retellings so I was immediately intrigued with just the title of this one. Wouldn’t it be amazing to check out authentic fairy tale objects from the library? In this magical story you can, and Elizabeth’s job as a page comes with borrowing privileges. You can’t check out Snow White’s stepmother’s magic mirror with a library card however. Prepare to part with something much more valuable like your sense of humor, or the promise of your first-born. And, since someone is stealing from the priceless collection, Elizabeth must find the thief to clear her name and save herself from being the next victim.
Elizabeth is having a tough time of it – her best friend moved away and she doesn’t fit in at school. She lives with her stepmother at home and is tasked with all the chores. Elizabeth’s history teacher takes an interest in her and recommends her for the job of page at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a very unique place. There, she bonds with the other pages that show her the ropes: Anjali, pretty, sweet and smart, Marc, the star athlete from school, and Andrew the distrustful and serious one. Items keep disappearing from the Grimm Collection, and it is starting to look like an inside job. It will take borrowing more magical objects to solve the mystery. Anjali’s clever sister Jaya is also ready to help.
In The Grimm Legacy, the magic takes center stage. The Grimm objects bring the characters together and take over the plot of the book. I really liked the idea of the Grimm collection and all of the storytelling possibilities. From the sassy Magic Mirror to the Mermaid’s comb to the Table-Be-Set, I was enchanted by all of the Grimm items. The characters all show promise as well – I just wanted to learn a little more about them, especially about Elizabeth’s home life. In addition to the mystery of the Grimm thief, there is a little romance found in the story as Elizabeth falls for one of the pages.
The Grimm Legacy originally was released in 2010, but is just now available as an audiobook. Veteran narrator Julia Whelan reads the book, and she’s most recently narrated Die for Me and Partials. Whelan is good with both the female and male voices from the young siblings to the older teachers and librarians. She speaks clearly and reads with a good pace. Whelan captures the spirit of the characters and by using a distinct voice helped me to keep track of them all. I think listeners of all ages would enjoy listening to this audiobook.
The Grimm Legacy feels like the beginning of a series, and it certainly seems that there is more story to tell. But if it’s a standalone, it’s still a fun read. And with the popularity of fairy tale retellings and Once Upon a Time it’s the perfect time to rediscover this book. Looking forward to reading more from Polly Shulman.