Review Detail

Grim Featured
Young Adult Fiction 2362
Beautiful But Confusing
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
First, let me tell you what I loved about GRIM: the writing. It's beautiful. The way the author draws the reader's attention to tiny details or shows emotion through a character's choice or action is lovely. I especially enjoyed reading from the POV of Shawn. Ms. Waggener knows how to draw flawed, interesting characters and keep the reader engaged in their story. I also appreciated the scope of emotion in this book. I loved that different characters portrayed grief, anger, and determination in distinct ways. That part of the story felt very authentic.

What held me back from giving this book a higher rating was a combination of the pacing and the worldbuilding. We jump from one POV to the next (sometimes we even headhop POVs within the same scene), and it begins to feel difficult to stay within the narrative flow of the story. I was in too many characters' heads and ended up not feeling a strong enough connection to anyone. The initial scenes with Erica and Jeremiah in the afterlife were especially hard to follow as descriptions and actions felt vague, and I couldn't get a picture painted in my head. The worldbuilding in the afterlife felt a bit like a giant crockpot with a dash of THIS mythology and a heaping spoon of THAT mythology all stirred together until I had a hard time really grasping the structure and rules. That made it hard to really FEEL for the stakes of the novel and cheer for a good resolution to the conflict.

Ms. Waggener is clearly a talented writer. Her prose is polished and lovely, she creates an atmospheric tension appropriate to her subject matter, and I hope in her next book to see her step fully into the promise she exhibits in GRIM.
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