This was actually the most deliciously lovely thing.
This is the kind of book where the gorgeous cover thoroughly promises what you’re going to find inside. It was so good, OK?! I completely fell in love with the characters, the vivid world building, thE PASTRY APPRECIATION, and all the characters’ snark (despite them being about to die). Quality content right here thank you I will take 7 more of these books.
OK but where to even start?! (I FLAIL)
The setting! The world! The exquisite descriptions!
I freaking love Paris. I have I been? No. But that doesn’t stop me being a teeny bit obsessed with it. And the descriptions were gorgeous and vivid so it’s like the bookworm trip to Paris! Also Parisian pastries are keeping this world together, so 10/10 here for the appreciation they gave to them.
The descriptions are the kind that are very sensory and really pull you in with the taste of things and colours and the scruffy details of someone’s coat — I LIVE FOR THIS.
I loved that it’s from the perspective of the animals who are enchanted into humans.
You know?! Like in the Disney Cinderella movie where the fairy godmother turns mice into men, etc. THAT is what a “grim lovely” is. (They also call them “Beasties”.) So we have this witch and her 5 enchanted servants (she treats them as slaves too) but when she’s murdered they have 3 days to get someone else to cast a new humanising spell on them or GOODBYE.
Also we don’t know what their animal forms original were, but the 5 of them are: wolf, owl, cat, mouse, and dog.
So obviously we have a huge ticking time bomb here, which I looooved. Makes the pace fast! And stressful! Of course bookworms love stress haha, our grey hair and bloodshot eyes mean nothing, carry on.
I totally fell in love with Anouk as the story went on.
She’s so timid and demure to start with, and she doesn’t suddenly — ZAP — change into a saucy fighter or anything. She stays quiet and calm…but she gets confidence and she fights back and she believes in more than what she’s spoon fed. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. We need more soft™ protagonists! Her arc just ahhhhhh. SO good.
Also the cast is BIG and amazing and I feel all the things for them.
- CRICKET: She’s like the badass older sister, made to be a thief, and she loves flowers and skulls and lipstick. Love her.
- BEAU: So of course we must have a love interest (although it’s good that it’s the “we already knew each other” romance because otherwise a 3-day romance is always too hard to believe)…and I admit I DIDN’T LIKE HIM. He’s very overprotective of Anouk. Aka “no no Anouk you can’t do anythinggggg” and I wanted to slap him. I didn’t really see their chemistry? But he drives cars fast so I’ll give him that.
- LUC: He’s actually missing when the book starts, but he’s the Big Bro figure and they all love him so bad.
- HUNTER BLACK: he’s the trained assassin and actually starts off an enemy of the rest because he’s super close to the witch’s son. I feel many things for Hunter Black. Ugh the antiheroes get me every time I can’t even.
- VIGGO: he’s NOT a beastie, but the “witch’s boy”. Basically a kid she stole to use as a blood bank (you need blood for magic) but also spoiled rotten and super rich thanks to the witch. He is AWFUL and we HATE him but by thE END….WHAT HAPPENED WE DON’T. GO VIGGO!!!
They have all the dysfunctional family vibes and I freaking LOVE IT.
Ok so a lot of people have expressed concerned over the Bury Your Gays trope appearing. I’ll put my thoughts in spoilers but I DON’T spoil the book. I’m just talking about the trope’s use:
So Pls Prepare Yourself For
☆ magic and witches and enchantments but in a modern setting
☆ staying to eat pastries > running for your life
☆ dysfunctional family squad dynamics
☆ villains grudgingly doing good omg
☆ softest sweet hufflepuff being badass
☆ wickedly beautiful world building
☆ m a g i c
☆ sneaky evil plotting by people you think are sweet
☆ fashion appreciation, especially of epic jackets
☆ LIES AND MURDER
Yes I’m thoroughly in love with this one! It totally captured my imagination, from all the unique twists on old magic, and the fairy tales it wove in, to the gorgeous lush setting and the characters I wOULD DIE FOR. I’m chill as a person, for sure. I’ve wanted an intoxicating magical fantasy for a while and this !! is it !!
THANK YOU TO HMH TEEN FOR THE ARC. Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd is out October 2nd, 2018!
Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.