Title: A Tale Dark & Grimm
Series: A Tale Dark & Grimm #1
Author: Adam Gidwitz
Genre: Middle Grade; Fantasy
Synopsis: In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.
Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. (Goodreads)
Imagine playing a video game with a really good story, with your friend sitting next to you. You arrive at the first cutscene and while the characters converse and unravel the story for you, your friend goes “Yeah, this game has a lot of blood in it. See that guy? He’s going to die.” Your friend keeps doing this annoying thing of broadcasting their thoughts about the narrative instead of letting you get immersed in the playing experienced.
That’s what reading this book felt like. The author keeps chiming in (with bold text that is thankfully easy to skip) with things like “This book is going to have a lot of blood.” Or “The next part is going to be gross.” I don’t know why this was necessary, and it kind of knocks away the experience of trying to lose yourself in the book if someone KEEPS TELLING ME that I’m reading a book. The first few parts have this kind of thing, but thankfully it becomes less common later in the book.
If I ignored all the bold text, I would be left with a story that had great action, scary bits, good pacing, and wonderful character development. This book is a retelling of some Grimm tales, with a focus on Hansel and Gretel as the main characters. I really liked seeing how the kids were able to overcome their obstacles and fight off the villains. They had to be smart and strong, and be able to think on their feet. They grow a lot from the naïve children that the story started with, and I appreciate that kind of development in books.
The author was right, and they didn’t hold back on the level of blood and death to stay closer to the original stories. If you don’t like blood or gore, this may not be a great book to read. There are some spooky parts, but nothing too scary. I was able to kind of breeze through this book without much trouble.
Overall: Without the author interjections, I would give this book a full five stars. If you like fairytale retellings and can just skip over the bold text, I think you’ll enjoy this book. I think it stays pretty true to the source material, which is always nice.
Will I continue the series? Not likely. Even if I did like it, I don’t feel compelled to read the next book.