The Forest Grimm
Grade : B-

The Forest Grimm takes another modernizing spin through the fairytale world, adding on different sorts of modern magic to the mix as it goes. Kathryn Purdie’s trip into the woods is less enchanting than Sondheim’s, but it’s not as rough a ride as it could have been.

Clara is only seventeen years old, but already life is being lived on borrowed time. She grew up listening to her fortune teller Grandmere’s prophecies about her upcoming death, divined by multiple tarot card pulls

On one fateful day three years before Clara’s sixteenth birthday, a citizen of Grimm’s Hollow wishes upon the Sortes Fortunae – the magical tome upon which every person living in Grimm’s Hollow gets to wish once when they turn sixteen – for someone to die. In response, the forest steals the book, poisons the town’s well, fells its crops, and creates a barrier between itself and Grimm’s Hollow, over which no human can cross. And one of those disappeared humans is Clara’s mother.

Every year, the people of Grimm’s Hollow draw a lottery, and the losing person enters the forest. For three years running, no one’s come back alive. Clara has created a map using stories told by people who live in Grimm’s Hollow and plans on sneaking into the woods to retrieve her mother and help the others there.

Clara’s close friend, Axel, goes with her into the woods. Though Axel and Clara are attracted to each other, Grandmere’s tarots declare that they will never be together, and anyway, Axel is promised to another. Nonetheless, they set out into the woods, where man-made and magical distractions threaten to lead them to their doom.

Parts of The Forrest Grimm work, and parts of it fall flat. Clara is an interesting if credibly immature character; fated to die, what does she have to lose? Axel is handsome and stalwart.

But her relationship with Axel is slow-going, and it takes a while for them to get past the whole fate thing. The problem is that their connection feels skin-deep in spite of the fact that they’ve loved and known each other for ages. And the author does not take enough time to develop her magic system properly; it’s rushed, which doesn’t make the book as thrilling as Purdie likely hoped it would be and instead makes it confusing.

In the end, The Forest Grimm is a perfectly adequate – though not perfectly magical – tale.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B-

Book Type: Fantasy|Young Adult

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : September 25, 2023

Publication Date: 09/2023

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Recent Comments …

  1. I read Ulrich’s book several years ago,it was excellent. American Experience on PBS did an adaptation of the book, it…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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