The Grimm Legacy
If you had the chance to mess around with artifacts straight out of Grimm’s fairy tales – a talking mirror, dancing slippers, a table that sets itself – would you be able to resist? In this delightfully entertaining novel, Elizabeth Rew – a misfit at her new high school – finds herself working at a very private lending library…with very unusual items available for check out. At the New York Circulating Materials Repository, the vast collection houses not only floors and floors of more conventional historical artifacts (useful as they are to historians, costume designers, and hobbyists); in the basement, behind locked doors, reside even more intriguing items…the magical kind. But almost before Elizabeth has time to begin exploring the Repository’s possibilities, she finds herself threatened by a couple of crooks with sinister designs on the library’s valuable possessions…and maybe even some of its employees.
In creating the Circulating Materials Repository, Polly Shulman has hit that elusive, delightful balance between the mundane and the fantastical. What could be more mundane – at first glance – than a lending library? And what more fantastical than the Repository? The everyday details incorporated into the magical setting and plot bring Elizabeth’s world to vivid, charming life. Really, this tone meshes perfectly with content from the book’s source material. After all, in fairy tales, the most mundane objects – shoes, pots, keys – are often the most powerful – and perilous.
Elizabeth is a likable character, with a strong sense of right and wrong and a desire to be reliable and trustworthy. Of course, the teens in this book head off to save the world single-handedly, as usual, but Elizabeth does at least wish her friends would agree to ask for adult help. (One of her friends steals something in his solo attempt to save the world, but this unwise action has negative consequences.) I have to admit, though, that even though I liked Elizabeth as a character, I couldn’t buy into her budding romance. I just wasn’t convinced that she liked the guy. But then again, this is a teen romance we’re talking about here…at least it wasn’t the focus of the book.
This story might be inspired by the Brothers Grimm, but there’s nothing grim about it. Don’t expect anything too dark and dismal here – but if you’re looking to read something fun, clever, and vibrantly creative, look no farther!