10 September 2012

Book Review: A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Title: A Tale Dark & Grimm
Author(s): Adam Gidwitz
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher/Date: Atria  / November 11, 2010
Series: A Tale Dark & Grimm (Book #1)
"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." -Goodreads

Case Study
Exactly how many of you grew up reading fairy tales? I know I did and they were some of my favourite stories. So what was it that made them so appealing? Was it that they were whimsical by their very nature? Or was it that they transported us faraway places? Or maybe it was that no matter what, they’d always deliver us a happy ending? For me, it was the latter. If I could count on anything as a kid it was that the fairy tales would, without a doubt, always have a happily ever after. Well, what if I told you, you weren’t told the whole story. You’d want the truth, right? The whole truth? No matter how dark and/or gruesome it was, you’d still want to know? You’re absolutely certain? Good, because Adam Gidwitz gives us just that. In his novel, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Gidwitz sets out to reveal what really happened in those classic fairy tales we love so much.
The Game's Afoot
If you haven’t already gathered by its title, A Tale Dark & Grimm is a retelling of an original Grimm story, Hansel and Gretel—only this version is much darker than the one you’re used to. There is blood. There is violence. There is gore. There are no happy endings—yet. We watch Hansel and Gretel as they travel through several other well-known Grimm fables and we learn the sinister truth. Ten short stories make up this harrowing adventure and they feature a cannibalistic old woman, a bloodthirsty boy-beast, the Devil’s trickery and an alarmingly menacing dragon. As I said before, these aren’t your usual fairy tales. These are fairy tales for the twenty-first century. Gidwitz makes fairy tales so much more awesome!

What really drew my attention were the quirky narrations throughout the course of the book. Our narrator uses cheeky, fantastical, well-placed asides to highlight the pressing dangers or grim (pun totally intended) nature in each of these stories, without being patronizing to the reader. Gidwitz doesn’t take these stories lightly and he definitely makes the protagonists suffer, but that’s what’s so brilliant about this book. He teaches valuable lessons and the reason our heroes prevail is because of that very suffering. He shows us the magic and power created for and by children and he stays honest to that through to the very end.

Summary Prognosis
A Tale Dark & Grimm is just the sort of story that parents and youngsters can enjoy reading together. This book enforces a strong moral code and does it in a way that is both grisly and exciting. I loved every disturbing, thrilling, funny moment and would wholeheartedly recommend it to those who enjoy their fairy tales with a side of sadism.

Rating: ★★★★

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible


  1. I adored this one. I loved the intrusive narrator and the dark tone of the story. Have you tried RL LaFevers, FE Higgins or Frances Hardinge? They might be up your alley, too. :)

  2. Hi Stephanie! No, I haven't tried any of those authors but I'll definitely add them to my list. I really appreciate the suggestions! Have you read the sequel to A Tale Dark & Grimm, by any chance? I'm wondering if it's as good as the first.

  3. What a fantastic review. This sounds like something I'd enjoy. I like the premise.

  4. This sounds fascinating! I've been really into watching Grimm and Once Upon a Time these days so I am adding this to my TBR list! Excellent review!

  5. I love those shows too, Jamie! I'm super excited for the premiere of Season 2 of Once Upon A Time on Sept 30th! If you like those shows then you'll definitely enjoy this book!


    I loved Giddwitz's narrator for A Tale Dark And Grimm and how cheeky the asides were. It was HILARIOUS!

    Also, the grisliness of the tales really intrigued me in a sick sort of way, I know I know. It's definitely not for the faint for heart.


You stay classy now! And thanks for stopping by. But mostly stay classy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...