Monday, September 24, 2012

Mini Book Review: The Grimm Diaries' Prequel -- Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary by Cameron Jace

From the introduction to The Grimm Diaries’ Prequels:

It’s better to think of the prequels like snapshots of a magical land you’re about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples. Once you taste them, you will never see fairy tales in the same light again.

I love anything to do with fairy tales, especially creative reinterpretations, and that’s exactly what Cameron Jace delivers in his Grimm Diaries’ Prequels.  His latest installment, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, is no different, combining the fairy tale The Snow Queen, the nursery rhyme referenced in the title, and a very disturbing real-life historical figure.

It’s hard to say too much about this one without spoiling it, but I can say that it’s probably the darkest of the prequels so far.  In fact, the origin of the Mary, Mary Quite Contrary rhyme as explained in this story is so disturbing, I was sure the author had made it up—it couldn’t be real.  But no…I did a quick google search, and sure enough, the author had done his research again!  Of course his explanation of the nursery rhyme is only one of several theories as to the rhyme’s origins, but still…wow.  I know I’m being very vague, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone!

I also loved the way the author used mirrors, a common fairy-tale motif, throughout this story.  We have the Snow Queen mirror, the Snow White mirror, and the mirror from the “Bloody Mary” folktale—which by the way, may be the creepiest part of this story.

By the end of the story, some characters from the very first Grimm Diaries’ Prequel make a reappearance, perhaps setting up some connections that will pay off later in the series.  I can’t wait to see!

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