Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Audiobook Review - The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) by Michael Buckley (3/5 stars)

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives - Book #1Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size:  312 pages
Publisher:  Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: April 1, 2007
ISBN: 978-0810993228
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Sisters Grimm series
Source: Audio book from Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars

I've been wanting to read this series for a while and finally got it on audiobook.  I loved the inclusion of all the fairy tale characters, although I was not completely sold on the characters. The story is just as much mystery as fantasy, and I think middle grade kids will really enjoy it.  I listened to this on audio book and the audio book was well done.

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm have been abandoned by their parents and for the last year have been shuffled from foster home to foster home.  Suddenly they are told they are going to live with their grandmother, which is confusing because they thought she was dead.  Well ends up she isn't dead and Sabrina and Daphne are getting a lot more than a new home; they are getting a crash course in fairy tale creatures and mystery solving.

It was a bit weird to read this book after reading the first few books in the Fables series by Bill Willingham (not a series for anyone but adults).  Both series have a lot of similarities; even down to the real world positions they place the fairy tale characters in.  So it took a bit of work for me not to confuse the two storylines.  That being said, as with the Fables series, I really enjoyed the creative way that all fairy tale creatures/people were tied into the story.

The plot moves along at a good clip and is a mystery at heart.  The mystery is a good one, filled with a couple unpredictable twists and turns.  The plot wasn't all that complicated but was decent and engaging.  There are some neat ideas in here.  I also loved Granny Grimms crazy colorful food!

I wasn't really all that excited about the two main characters.  Sabrina is a sour and spiteful preteen for most of the book; she is prickly and doesn't have a lot of depth to her character outside of that.  Daphne is her polar opposite, cheerful and trusting, again not much to Daphne outside of that either.  Some of the side characters are much more interesting.  I loved Puck who helps out but insists he's a bad guy and Canus, the cantankerous old man who helps out Granny Grimm.  Granny herself was another wonderful character.  So there are some great characters in here, they just aren't the characters featured in the book.  

This book is very much an intro book.  The world is introduced but not explained in much depth.  We get to meet the characters, but much about them remains a mystery.  I think this series has a lot of potential and can't wait to see what happens in future books.

The book ends well but definitely sets up a storyline that will take many books to fully resolve; no cliffhangers though so that is nice.

Overall this was an okay read.  I enjoyed the inclusion of different fairy tales in the story but didn't find it especially creative.  The main characters were a bit simplistic, and Sabrina was entirely unlikable.  I am hoping they characters are filled out better in future books.  This book was very much an introduction book, nothing is explained in much depth.  There is a good mystery here and the magic is woven into the mystery well.  I think middle grade readers will enjoy this read, adults will find it to be a bit too simple and short.  I am planning on reading the next couple books in the series to see if they characters become more likable and the world more well filled out.  I would also recommend the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull as a wonderful book involving Fables as part of our current world and a great fantasy adventure for all ages.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:


  1. I enjoy this series, but I definitely try to read it from the perspective of the potential audience. Sometimes Puck's general bathroom humor gets to me--and I have a hard time recommending it to my students--though I know they'll love it. My main irritation is that Sabrina basically doesn't get much better as the story progresses. In fact, her tendency to be preteenish only gets worse. Here's hoping that changes in the future.

  2. Thanks for the comment, I try to keep in mind the age this series is written for while I read it. I agree with what you said.

    There are a lot of middle grade series out there that appeal to the middle grade age set as well as adults; so I was hoping this would be one of those.

    I absolutely loved Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series and thought that was one of those special series that appeals to all age sets.

    - Karissa