Reviewed by May
Because it is so well done – first let me share the description of this story from the Samhain site:
Myrsina knows the stories. As one of the oldest of the Grimm, she had a hand in writing most of them, but only she knows the dark origin of the Seven Bloody Sisters. It springs from the place of her birth—and her death. A place of pain and misery to which she plans to never return. Unless forced.
When Luc appears on her doorstep, her heart twists with suppressed longing for the man who can never be hers. The only man who can make her do the impossible—go home.
Luc may be blind, but through their unique, bittersweet connection, even he can see that the task laid before them is ripping Sina’s soul apart. This time it isn’t as simple as fighting a demon that has escaped from the netherplains.
Sina must go back in time—to that cursed ground—and right a wrong that she unknowingly brought about. To write a new ending to a story that may give them both a chance at happily ever after. Assuming they survive.
This Grimm’s Circle series by Shiloh Walker is dark, it has more of a horror feel to it than romance in fact. I found the first part of this story to be far darker than I thought it would be- and I really found myself glued to the story. People possessed and bleeding walls and an evil that can be felt? Walker really made me feel like I was in that place and time and it was chilling. We are given first person narrative from Sina, but we also get third person from others in the story. I really felt like Walker did a great job of making this work when it could have become confusing or overwhelming. With a house that seems to be literally alive with horror, people dying, and evil increasing in the small town I wasn’t sure what they’d find – or how they could fix it.
The “they” in question is Luc and Sina. Sina trained Luc long ago, and has always loved him. What she doesn’t know is that he has strong feelings for her as well, and isn’t devoted to his ex-wife like she believes him to be. We get some nice glimpses of their attraction and romance, and I was really intrigued by their stories and I really appreciated that they were allowed to be real, raw, to have made mistakes and poor choices in the past. Sina was portrayed as scary, perhaps on the villainous edge of things…
“Tell me, Snow White, were you chased by a woodsman? Threatened by a wicked stepmother?”
She laughed. Then she turned away. He felt the passage of air against him, the slight lessening of her presence.
“Trust me, Luc… I was the threat during my mortal years. It wasn’t some foolish, yet noble woodsman, it wasn’t a selfish or vain stepmother. I was the villain of my story.”
I was never lost or confused – and this is my first read from this series. That again speaks to the skill that this author has, though I still wish we had more pages, and that I’d been able to get a lot more detail, as well as a more complex plot line as far as the town they were sent to goes. The simplicity of the problem really was a disappointment.
My only real complaint with this book, is that the style of storytelling presented is not one that I favor. While wonderfully written and intriguing, I am a reader who wants detail, depth to the conflict resolution, and deeper connections to my characters. For all the buildup and terror in the book, the resolution let me down. In reflection, I was just not expecting the style of story that I got. This story skimmed right along and passed over things I wanted explained.
If you’re looking for a dark novella series that touches on fairy tales in unconventional ways and has a lot of tension and isn’t afraid to have less than shiny happy heroes and heroines – this is one to check out.