- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Oct. 2 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781328809186
- ISBN-13: 978-1328809186
- ASIN: 1328809188
- Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 3.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Grim Lovelies Hardcover – Oct 2 2018
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A magical dash through the streets of Paris. Part caper, part fairy tale, part opulent witch society, you'll be swept away by all of it. GRIM LOVELIES absolutely dazzles." -Kendare Blake, #1 NYT bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
"A darkly enchanting saga bound to attract fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black, and more." -Entertainment Weekly
"A glittering and Goblin-bright fantasy. Grim Lovelies cleverly redefines fairy tales and turns Paris into a bewitching and disturbing wonderland full of Royals and witches, and beasties that will steal your heart. I lost myself in this magical book." -Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary
"The story [has] an intriguing, almost titillating appeal an exceptional blend of fantasy, action, and emotional drama." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED review
"Fantasy lovers will revel in Anouk's layered world, not to mention the relationships that develop among the Beasties and their unexpected allies. Their pell-mell race against the clock brims with danger and self-realization, carefully crafted to entrance." - Booklist
"This tightly-paced novel will leave readers demanding sequels that explore more of Anouk's epic journeys" - Kirkus
" Purchase where there are fans of magical worlds." - School Library Journal
" This deliciously dark tale examines societal norms while imagining the darker side of fairy tales." - Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Megan Shepherd is the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy, The Cage trilogy and the middle grade novel, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill . She lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, NC. Visit Megan at meganshepherd.com, on Twitter at @megan_shepherd, and on Instagram at @meganshepherdauthor.
From the Publisher
A Conversation with Megan Shepherd and Amie Kaufman
Amie Kaufman, bestselling author of The Illuminae Files, sits down with Megan Shepherd to chat about Megan's new book, Grim Lovelies
Grim Lovelies has been called lots of incredible things—enchanting, dazzling, magical—but it's also been called a modern-day fairy tale. Can you talk about what classic fairy tales you drew on when you imagined this story, and what gives it that modern twist?
I grew up obsessed with Disney fairy tales—The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast—until I became a teenager and read the original, much darker versions! Grim Lovelies draws a little on all these fairy tale worlds. It has some of the fun dreaminess of Disney, and plenty of blood and dark magic from Grimm's tales. The idea for the story came when I was thinking about Cinderella's mice-turned-servants. It didn't seem fair that at midnight, Cinderella stood to lose a nice dress, but the mice would lose their newfound humanity! I wanted to follow the story of those mice! So Grim Lovelies took shape from that concept.
I love that so much! The mice totally got ripped off—I love the idea of following their story instead.
Speaking of growing up with stories, your parents owned a bookstore when you were a kid—that feels like a real-life fairy tale! What were some of your best memories there?
It was a dream come true. I grew up in a small town, yearning to explore the wider world, and I was first able to do that through the books in my parents' store.
I'd go there most days after school, pick out a stack of books from the shelves, and curl up in a hidden nook underneath a display unit and be swept into outer space, medieval Europe, Narnia...
Let's quit our lives and go and live in that bookstore forever, Megan. We'll be happy hidden away behind a display. But first, let's talk about Anouk, our protagonist in Grim Lovelies.
Left: Megan Shepherd
When we first meet her, she's a quiet, curious, daydreaming kind of girl. And then, of course... well, we'll let the reader find out. Is there a lot of you in Anouk?
Oh yes. I was a lot like Anouk when I was a young teenager. Anouk is trapped in a townhouse by a spell, and she sits in the front window and watches the world go by, wanting nothing more than to be a part of it. I felt the same way, except instead of a window, I had books, movies, travel shows...I was so ready to get out and see the world. Then again, Anouk is an excellent cook and maid, and when I was a teenager I could barely boil water for tea! Something tells me when you were a teenager you were both daydreamy AND a good cook—am I right?
I wish! I cooked an amazing roast and pretty much nothing else. These days, well... I once got caught eating corn out of a tin with a spoon when I was on deadline. I'm not proud. Let's think about other things.
Your stories have taken us from dark islands to outer space, but Grim Lovelies is set in a real place, Paris—though with elements of magic woven through it, it's not entirely the Paris we know. I'd love to know more about what made you want to explore that city in particular?
One of my fondest memories of Paris involves a boy. I briefly dated a Parisian train conductor who was sweet and adorable.
I have wonderful memories of strolling along the Seine, people-watching at cafes, sampling delicious sweets. It was a magical time for me, so I thought, why not make the city actually magic?
Ooh la la, I love this! I had no idea you had a romantic history in Paris! My husband proposed there, so it's one of my favorite places too.
Now that is romantic! Your own Parisian love story. How fabulous.
Left: Amie Kaufman
I'm always fascinated by the big questions your books ask. I've been a huge fan since your first book, The Madman's Daughter, which was also about animals-turned-human, and The Cage trilogy made the reader think about what gives us our humanity. A lot of writers find they return to certain themes to ask new questions—I certainly do! What is it that fascinates you about these questions?
Thank you! I've long been an Amie fan, both of your books and of you! For me, writing is all about contrast. To understand people and why they do what they do, I need to look at the opposite of people—animals. In The Madman's Daughter, I had a mad scientist turning animals into humans, and that shed light on the responsibility of creators and the dangers of science. In Grim Lovelies, instead of focusing on the creators, I focused on the creations. Animals-turned-human who fell in love with their humanity and all its gifts—love and laughter and friendship—and would do anything to keep it.
In Grim Lovelies, the magical world is divided into orders: beasties, Goblins, witches, and Royals, in addition to regular clueless humans, called Pretties. I'd like to be something exciting, but I have a suspicion I'd be a Pretty, wandering down the street without the slightest idea what was going on! I'm usually stuck in a daydream. Which would you be?
I'd probably be a beastie. In Grim Lovelies they are either maids, chauffeurs, gardeners, thieves, or assassins—I'd love to be a gardener-turned-spy like Luc. And I suppose I'd have to figure out what animal I started as, too...hmm...probably a cat, fond of naps and just a touch antisocial :) What would you be? A night owl? A cuddly koala?
Can I be a cat with you? Thank you for talking with me!
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This was a good story. It has an unusual setting. It seems to be set in modern day Paris, however the witches and Royals are living in the past. They have old-fashioned, Victorian homes and customs. Some characters used cell phones, so I could tell that it is happening today. The two kinds of settings created a strange kind of dueling atmosphere in the story.
There was lots of tension in the story, especially at the end. The story was also fast paced. I read it in just a few hours, and I couldn’t put it down. I’m curious to see how the story continues.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Anouk is one of these animals turned human, she works for Mada Vittoria who's a witch. She's a maid in the house and she longs for a bit of freedom, to go outside, for she's never been allowed outside before. Her friends, Beau and Cricket have been let out, even Hunter Black gets to go outside with Viggio, who is the witch's "son". Then one day, something happens and the Mada Vittoria is found dead. Anouk, Beau, Cricket and even Hunter Black are technically free, but there's a time limit to their freedom. Vittoria kept them all human by a spell and it's long been known that Beasties--what they are called--can't do magic...or can they?
Anouk and her friends will have to work together and try to find the spell that will let them remain human forever. But they are going to have to trust people they never thought trustworthy. They will have to do things they were never allowed to once do. They have quite the quest on their hands and all the while the clock is ticking away.
What we soon learn about Anouk is that she has a bit of magical talent herself. By observing Vittoria cast her spells before and reading some of the spell books from the house library, Anouk knows more than she realizes about magic in general.
Though there's something else Anouk and her friends don't know, something very few people know and it's that Beasties serve a greater purpose than just being slaves to those who own them. We don't get to know exactly what this is yet, at least not in great detail. Though we do learn that Anouk and her friends encounter plenty of enemies who will do whatever it takes to remain the more powerful.
This was quite an interesting read! I have to admit it was my first Megan Shepherd book, though I have her past series in my TBR pile to read at some point! I've always loved fairy tales and while this one isn't exactly a fairy tale, it has all the right elements, and yet, the setting is surprisingly modern. Which was actually rather intriguing. Taking the fairy tale creatures and thrusting them into a modern technological world. It definitely made for intriguing world-building.
There was just the tiniest bit of romance in this one too! It was a sweet budding romance between Anouk and Beau. I could see it coming long before the first kiss. But it was such a sweet little romance for neither really knows much about love and romance. It was cute. While there were other possible couples popping up, it's hard to say just yet if there will be more romance brewing in the future. I'm not even sure how serious these other possibilities are. I might just be making guesses, it's truly too soon to tell.
I felt like the pacing of this one sort of falls in between fast paced and slow. While there is a ticking clock working against Anouk and her friends, I felt like they weren't rushing as much as they should've. True, Anouk was outside for the first time and had to do a little exploring or staring and wondering kind of thing. They also struggled to know what their plan of action should be and then when one was decided it involved travel. So as I said, it fluctuated between slow and fast. And while I would've loved a more faster paced read, I will say that the characters were positively awesome and they made up for the lack in action at times. They were all of different personalities and types, they were a nice little group to get to know.
Then there's the little added mystery of what happened to Mada Vittoria, add in the fact that one of the other beastie friends is missing and has been for some weeks, you have a nice slew of mysteries going on amid all the other secrets.
I wasn't sure at first if this one was meant to be a standalone or series, but based on the ending, I feel like it is safe to say that it's a series of some sort. Whether it will be a duology or longer is really too soon to tell. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from this world. It's a very detailed one filled with intrigue and mystery. It's a world that will suck you in and have you wondering about many of its puzzles and characters. It's a read not to be missed, especially if you're a fan of anything fairy tale related. Grim Lovelies is sure to be a hit among the fantasy readers of the blogosphere, so don't miss out!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars