October 29, 2021

ARC REVIEW: The Grimrose Girls (The Grimrose Girls Book 1) by Laura Pohl

The Grimrose Girls (The Grimrose Girls Book 1) by Laura Pohl
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Format: eARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

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The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl is a dark spin on fairytales that the Brothers Grimm would be proud of. The book is a solid choice for those who are fans of mystery and dark academia - but might fall short in the eyes of fantasy readers.

At the start of the story, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are returning to the ultra-exclusive Grimrose Academy in the mountains of Switzerland. Things will not be the same, however, as they are missing the fourth member of their group Ariane. Some think Ariane committed suicide or simply drowned, but her friends believe someone killed her and are determined to find out what happened. After new girl Nani finds a mysterious book of fairytales in Ariane’s closet, things get even stranger and they must race to solve the mystery before it’s too late. 

While reading, I was reminded of the Once Upon a Time tv show. Both Once Upon a Time and The Grimrose Girls leave you wondering which fairytale corresponds to each character. Some of the fairytale relations were fairly obvious (Ella) while others were hard to pin down (Yuki). I enjoyed figuring out who was who - this aspect was my favorite part while reading. 

It was a little hard at times to connect the fairytale retelling aspect to the dark academia. Admittedly, these two genres are not commonly crossed. The atmosphere definitely felt dark and the author did a great job building the setting. I had no problems envisioning the academy, though I did wonder at times why they set it at an academy if they barely covered any school-related issues or scenes. 

However, the fairytale aspect was where the book fell flat. I felt like I was missing something in explanations on why things were happening, and I think that made it harder for me to connect to the story as a heavy fantasy reader. This book is supposed to be part of a series, so I'm hoping the author leans more into the fairytale aspect for the second installment. Despite giving this book a low rating, I would still consider reading the next installment as the author did enough to make me curious about what happens next for the foursome. 

Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to read an early copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity. 

About the Author

Laura Pohl is the New York Times best-selling author of The Grimrose Girls. Her debut novel, The Last 8, won the International Latino Book Awards. She likes writing messages in caps lock, never using autocorrect, and obsessing about Star Wars. When not taking pictures of her dog, she can be found curled up with a fantasy or science-fiction book or replaying Dragon Age. Her favorite Disney princess is Cinderella, and her favorite Disney prince is Kylo Ren. A Brazilian at heart and soul, she makes her home in São Paulo.

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