The 200th anniversary of the first publication of “Kinder-und Hausmärchen” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm seemed to spark a great deal of interest. Their tales have inspired a TV series, “Grimm” as well as several series that prominently feature the characters brought to life by the Brothers Grimm.
My first read was “The Grimm Diaries Prequels,” Volumes 1 through 6, by Cameron Jace, which come as a set. This set is still free at the time of this blog post. The premise of these stories is that each is the diary of a character of myth, fairy tale or legend who is somehow involved with the characters of the Grimm brothers’ tales (while some are specifically the Brothers Grimm’s creations, other diaries are from the perspective of characters from other sources, which are then tied to the Grimm’s tales).
I am somewhat surprised at the skill with which Jace presents the “author” of each diary with their own unique voice. This collection really does not feel as though it is written by the same individual at all. With that said, this skill was such that I fell in love with some of these stories while there were others that I didn’t care much for at all. My two particular favorites were “Snow White Blood Red” and “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.”
There are three more sets of prequels available for purchase through Amazon (rounding out to 18 individual tales in all), as well as some full-length diaries. I would be interested in trying one of the full-length diaries in my future reading, but it’s not likely something I would pay to read based on my feelings regarding Jace’s style. I do appreciate Jace’s skill and I’d recommend anyone who enjoys fantasy and fairy tale fiction to check out the first free prequels, as you might find them an immensely enjoyable series.
I was also fortunate enough to stumble upon the first volume of “The Grimm Chronicles” by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky among my free reading. This book is currently available for purchase for $2.99, and appears to rotate in and out of the books available for free from Amazon. (As I was reading this first volume, I also managed to snag Volume 2 and Volume 3 as freebies!). I adored this series and look forward to continuing my adventures with Alice when I find some free time in my reading list.
The premise of “The Grimm Chronicles” is that the Brothers Grimm came to aquire a magic pen and paper which brought their characters truly to life. But over time, forced to re-enact their tales over eternity, these real-life fairy tales began to go mad, or become “Corrupted.” A Hero can see through the stories into their true identities and with the magic pen can kill the Corrupted. The Hero is assisted by trusty-sidekick “Br’er Rabbit,” who was also brought to life when his story was written with the magic pen and paper. The storyline is open that perhaps one day he, too, will be among the Corrupted that he currently helps to hunt.
The primary story begins with Alice discovering that she is the “Hero,” and that, much to her dismay, her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend really is “Prince Charming.” We meet a growing cast of the characters spun by the Brothers Grimm throughout the first three books of the series; some who are sick of the disruption their lives have caused in the world and resigned to their fate, others who won’t go down without a fight, and still others who will manipulate for more time.
Bonus features include a diary of a previous Hero which provides a little more background on the creations of the Brothers Grimm and more insight into what life is like for those who are chosen to erase the mistakes of the past. Also in the volume are a number of the original Grimm’s tales alluded to in the chronicles and stories of Br’er Rabbit.
I’d say that this first volume is a deal at the $2.99 price tag, but if you’re not ready to buy, you can probably keep an eye out and find it again for free sometime.