Cover image for The sisters Grimm : a novel
The sisters Grimm : a novel
1st ed.
Physical Description:
430 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld where the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, could nurture their elemental powers. But at thirteen, they were ripped from Everwhere and separated. They later searched for one another and yearned to rediscover their supernatural strengths. But to realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams where their father's soldiers lay in wait.


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The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father's soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Van Praag (The Patron Saint of Lost Souls) braids mystery, magic, and a vicious hunt for power into a dark, delicious story of four estranged, supernatural sisters. As children, half-sisters Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea meet and play together in Everwhere, an otherworldly plane accessed through their dreams. In Everwhere, they possess elemental magic inherited from their demonic father who delights in bearing half-mortal daughters and forcing them to fight his army of celestial soldiers at the age of 18 to prove their worth. At 13, the sisters are cut off from Everwhere, lose their powers and memories of each other, and turn their focus instead to school, work, and dating. But as their 18th birthdays approach, they feel a mysterious pull toward one another. As they uncover the dark secret of their births, they prepare to fight for their lives. Through entrancing prose, van Praag spins a tale of sisterhood and female empowerment, though her message is slightly undermined by the inexplicable ease with which the sisters are duped by the deceitful men in their lives, from their father to their manipulative boyfriends. Still, readers will be drawn to these well-developed characters and their lush world. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown, Ltd. (Mar.)

Kirkus Review

On their shared 18th birthday, four half sisters, who've only met in a dream world, must fight to the death to appease their demonic father, the nefarious Wilhelm Grimm.Cambridge residents Goldie, Scarlet, Bea, and Liyana don't remember meeting each other in their childhood dreams of visiting Everwhere. They don't remember the immense powers they possessed therepowers of earth, air, water, and fire. Indeed, they have no idea they have sisters or who their father really is. But as their 18th birthday fast approaches, their powers begin to manifest in the real world. Their father's soldiers, fallen stars disguised as men forever destined to hunt "Grimm Girls," soon close in on their quarries. Only Leo, who inexplicably finds himself falling for Goldie, questions the point of this battle between good and evil and if he can bring himself to kill Goldie, thereby sacrificing himself. As each girl is drawn to one another, to their hunters, and to Everwhere, they must choose a path of light or darkness. The winner of the battle, as far as Grimm is concerned, will help him shape the dark fate of the mortal world. This tale is van Praag's (The Dress Shop of Dreams, 2014, etc.) first attempt at a fantasy epic and, unlike her previous work, suffers from a muddled premise, vague stakes that don't become clear until halfway through the book, and narration-induced whiplash. She jumps too quickly between several out-of-sequence chronologies and many different characters' points of view. Meanwhile, the reader can't be sure who is actually telling this storyGoldie, who narrates some sections in first person, an omniscient narrator who sometimes talks to "you," or whomever is telling the other characters' sections from a third-person-limited perspective. On worldbuilding alone, van Praag's atmospheric prose, intriguing premise, and diverse cast of characters receive high marks, but fantasy isn't just about worldbuilding. There simply isn't enough time spent with each character for readers to connect with them. Being cagey about key story elements does this plot a disservice as well. And while it's admirable that van Praag tackles themes of surviving child abuse, violence, and sexual assault, along with caring for grandparents and parents with mental illnesses, they sadly often get lost in the meandering narrative.This is a fantasy premise with great potential, but too much experimentation doesn't allow it to thrive. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Van Praag's character-driven, lush novel (after The Witches of Cambridge, 2016) features four teenage girls, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea, who dreamt as children of a forest landscape where they could play, learn their magic, and tell each other stories. Now, they each have their own concerns from young children of their own to funding their way to art school to keeping their café alive and their elemental powers have been buried and forgotten. But the devil who fathered the daughters is set on making sure they choose, on their 18th birthday, to pursue his own dark, evil plans, and he's certain he will succeed. This slow-paced novel is a fantastical tale rooted in fairy tale adaptation, drawing on folk tales and storytelling to pull the reader in. At its core, Van Praag's fantasy novel is a story determined to exalt the powers of the feminine and of sisterhood: she paints the lives of four young, independent, and determined women, and their coming-of-age tales, rather than the magic itself, are what guide and shape this novel.--Leah von Essen Copyright 2020 Booklist

Library Journal Review

You enter the land of Elsewhere--where lost sisters can find each other--through dreams and magic gates. All were fathered by Wilhelm Grimm, a powerful demon who launches generations of daughters into the world to build his perfect army. Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea met in this magical world when they were eight years old, to learn about their elemental powers and about one another. At thirteen, they were blocked from Elsewhere and their memories of one another, but now, 33 days before their shared 18th birthday, the four will begin to remember; they will rediscover their powers and one another. When they enter Elsewhere, there will be choices to make: to kill or be killed, first by their father's soldiers and then by their father--if they do not turn to his darkness. VERDICT A highly imaginative plot and vivid worldbuilding help to balance the swiftly changing points of view. Ethereal prose sets up a nefarious fairy tale-inspired story about the balance of power between men and women, family ties and first loves, and the choices that must be made whether you are ready or not.--Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton