Hi lovelies! Today, I’m wishing the happiest of book birthdays to Menna van Praag and The Sisters Grimm ❤ I’ve been a fan of Menna’s books since my very early bookstagram days so I was thrilled to be sent an ARC of her newest book – and I’m thrilled to say, I loved this one as well!
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.
I’ve been reading a lot of books about magical doors and alternative worlds recently and I’m loving each and every one. This one had the added bonus of being grounded in the very real world of Cambridge, which is a fabulous setting in itself. But add in magical gates that only open at a certain time on a certain day each month, and I was captivated.
Right from the prologue, I had a feeling this book would be something special. And I was not wrong. I loved the entire concept – of four sisters, each with a different elemental magic, who need to find their way back to each other. It felt so unique.
And van Praag’s writing was superb. It was a perfect fit for this sumptuous, magical story she was telling, with that lyrical quality I always love in books. I felt totally transported by this book and whenever I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be.
The book is written from a number of different perspectives and I have to say, these are done SO well. Each narrative voice was so distinctive and made each character stand out so strongly in my mind. Sometimes, when I read books with multiple perspectives, it can take me a moment after switching to catch up and remember which character I’m reading about. I had no such issues here; the switches in perspective were seamless and I never once got confused. I think this is a real testament to van Praag’s skill as a writer.
Naturally, there were some characters I preferred over others but I think that’s only natural in a book with so many perspectives. The important thing is that I still felt invested in each character’s individual story as well as the overarching plot. And just like the original Grimm fairytales, this book could be DARK in places. These girls face very real issues and I loved seeing how they coped with everything.
I’m saying nothing more – just go read this one! And try not to do what I did and keep saying “Neverwhere” instead of “Everwhere” 😉
Are you a fan of magical realism? I know it’s not for everyone but I love it! Let me know in the comments if you have any favourites! x