Thursday, February 23, 2012

MG Book Review: The Fairy Tale Detective, by Michael Buckley

(The Sisters Grimm series, #1 of 9)

General Information
Publisher:  Amulet Books
Year of publication:  2005
# of chapters:  11
# of pages:  284
Genre:  Fantasy

Plot summary:  (from website)
In Book One of the series, we meet two sisters, Sabrina and Daphne, who have been sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. From their first day in Ferryport Landing, the sisters begin to unravel a mystery that reveals a family secret. Sabrina and Daphne learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a history book. Snow White, the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf—they're all alive and now neighbors of Granny Relda in this community of Everafters, as magical folks like to be called.

But life is not a fairy tale in Ferryport Landing. Someone has set a giant loose on the town, and it's up to the sisters Grimm to stop the giant and find the Everafter behind its murderous rampage. Is it Mayor Charming, formerly Prince Charming, who may have plans to get his kingdom back? Or Jack, the erstwhile giant killer, now working at the Big & Tall store?

Next books in the series:  
#2: The Unusual Suspect
#3: The Problem Child
#4: Once Upon a Crime
#5: Magic and Other Misdemeanors
#6: Tales from the Hood
#7: The Everafter War
#8: The Inside Story
#9: The Council of Mirrors

Positive Points
This book offers a modern take on fairy tale characters we all know so well. It's interesting to guess who each is by their features and the interaction between them.

The characters are well developed. Each character has a clearly defined purpose.  In addition to that, "good" characters have their flaws, and "bad" characters can sometimes do good things if it makes sense to them, like teaming up against a common enemy. Characters helping others may have an agenda on their own.  This is something we don't see often in children's books.  Normally, the bad guys are bad, the good guys are good.  It was refreshing to see bad characters do good things, for a change.

Some parts made me laugh out loud.  I love reading books that can make me laugh.  Humor is always welcome.

The story had many unexpected twists that kept me guessing what would happen next.

Negative Points
The book had long chapters and was way too wordy for my taste.  Many words could easily be eliminated, such as "suddenly", "just then", weak words like "seem", dialogue tags, and minor details that don't advance the plot forward.  There was also a lot of telling. If this book was tightly written, it would be a lot more enjoyable to read.  I found myself wanting to skip over some parts.

The paragraphs combined the actions of several characters, which made it hard to follow at times.

What makes this book unique
This book combines a lot of fairy tale characters from different stories interacting with each other.  It reminded me of Shrek.

Overall Impression
If it had been written better, I would have continued reading the series, but as it is now, one book is enough for me.

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:

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