Warning: these Grimm Prequels are like snap shots of a magical land you're about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples. Once you taste them, you will never see fairy tales in the same light again.
The Grimm Diaries Prequels are short books in the form of epistolary diary entries. They are teasers for The Grimm Diaries. The 6 diaries are told by The Evil Queen, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, the Devil, Prince Charming, and Alice Grimm.
I’m not sure why I started reading these prequels, but I think I was just really curious about this series. But I’d read very mixed reviews about it. Of course, I wanted to find out for myself if they really were as bad as everyone said, or as awesome as anyone said, and I must admit I have very mixed feelings about these prequels. This review is about the stories Beauty Never Dies, Laddle Rat Rotten Hut and Mary Mary Quite Contrary.
I kind of liked that all the characters were quite different from their Disney (or original Grimm) counterparts. They were all a bit darker, a bit scarier, and I liked that. I would have liked it more if the stories hadn’t been so strange.
“Even Christopher Lee is scarier than you”
For example, there were characters that weren’t at all in Grimm’s fairy tales; like Peter Pan (who was written by J.M. Barrie), The Hunchback of the Notre Dame (who was written by Victor Hugo). It all felt a bit weird having those characters there as well. Also, all the characters sounded like teenagers. Of course, some of them were teenagers (including Peter Pan, who annoyed me deeply by spending several sentences describing how beautiful he was); and Laddle/Little Red Riding Hood from the second story sounded a lot like a little child to me, even though she was sixteen for most of the story. But yeah, if you are writing about grown-up characters, please write them like they’re grown-up and not teenagers.
And there were a lot of references to popular things, like Harry Potter (Peter kept calling Dracula ‘Draco’, like Draco Malfoy, and this one: “[…] reading Harry Potter book twenty-three – you don’t have those on earth, I know. You have to have a membership in Heaven to read those.”); and the above quote (Christoper Lee played Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit). Though I normally like references to things I love, it kind of annoyed me in these prequels. It was almost as if the author wanted people to like his stories by throwing in these random unnecessary references.
There were also some mistakes in these stories. The biggest one, one that really annoyed me, in Beauty Never Dies was that Frankenstein was mentioned several times. But of course, like most people they meant the monster, not Frankenstein himself (Frankenstein was the doctor who CREATED the monster, not the monster itself. I believe that monster had no name). As an author, you’d check these kind of things before publishing something, right?
Yes, I can safely say that I am not really a fan of these Grimm Diaries Prequels, though I will probably keep on reading all of them (all eighteen), just to see if there are some hidden gems in it.