Reviews for Grimm Conclusion : A Companion to a Tale Dark & Grimm

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #2
In this final entry in Gidwitz's trilogy, the author once again mashes together unsugarcoated versions of classic fairy tales. Twins Jorinda and Joringel suffer gruesome fates at the hands of their stepfather--naturally--but that's only the beginning. Once they dispatch him, they stumble into other well-known fairy tales, such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, as well as some less familiar stories, like The Juniper Tree. The metafictional approach can get distracting; along with regular interactions with the reader, Gidwitz eventually shares a pizza with, and reads his previous two novels to, Jorinda and Joringel. But interested readers won't be there for the narrative structure. No, they'll show up for the awesomely dark stories, full of beheadings, corpses, tyrants, murder, and terrible adults who treat children awfully until those children are empowered to fight back, taking the narrative power into their own hands to tell the stories with the happy endings they want to hear. Fans of the series will eagerly pore over this volume, which can comfortably stand on its own. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
From the beginning, when their wicked stepfather tricks Jorinda into thinking she has decapitated Joringal (A Tale Dark & Grimm; In a Glass Grimmly), this is gruesome, grisly fun. It's not until the siblings visit the narrator in his Brooklyn classroom that they learn the importance of telling their stories. Despite the gleeful horror, this is ultimately a warm and empathetic novel.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #1
Readers of Gidwitz's previous two books (A Tale Dark & Grimm, rev. 1/11; In a Glass Grimmly, rev. 11/12) will not be surprised that the sister and brother in this story both endure terrible adventures, including death. From the beginning, when Jorinda and Joringel's wicked stepfather first tricks Jorinda into thinking she has decapitated her brother, then prepares a stew from the boy's flesh, this is gruesome, grisly, grim fun. Gidwitz works his two main characters into several different folktales including "Ashputtle" (a Cinderella variant) and "Sleeping Beauty." An omniscient narrator comments throughout, offering warnings, consolation, and explanations. It's not until Jorinda and Joringel visit the narrator in person in his Brooklyn classroom that the siblings, who have been tamping down their feelings of helplessness and anger, learn the importance of expressing their emotions and telling their stories. This volume is filled with metafictive references to the previous books and their characters; it also introduces some entertaining new characters, from a terrifying ogre named Malchizedek and a dimwitted prince to three ravens who offer their own arch commentary on events. Despite the gleeful horror, this is ultimately a warm and empathetic novel about devotion, and it will make a great read-aloud to groups that can handle the gore. susan dove lempk Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 September #2
The names change, but the characters and themes not so much as Gidwitz takes a pair of children through a third series of folk-tale scenarios punctuated with washes of blood, fire, tears and parental issues that presage readers' encounters with Bruno Bettelheim. Before finally making good on their vow never to part, twins Jorinda and Joringel hie off on separate plotlines. Jorinda, as Ashputtle (freely translated as "Toilet Cleaner"), is betrothed to a comically clueless prince, survives three nights in an ogre's haunted castle, becomes a child tyrant queen and is murdered. Joringel, magically reconstituted after having his head snipped off by his stepfather, swallows a fear-killing juniper berry, gives Sleeping Beauty CPR and rescues his sister from hell with help from the devil's grandmother. So intrusive a narrator that even his characters hear him, Gidwitz offers commentary and (necessarily frequent) warnings about upcoming shocks. He then later steps in to shepherd his protagonists to modern Brooklyn for some metafictional foolery before closing with notes on his sources. After many tears, few of them happy ones, and much reference to suppressed feelings of anger and guilt, the children are reconciled with their neglectful, widowed mother and go on to a happy-ever-after in an anarchic day camp dubbed Jungreich, the Kingdom of Children. Entertaining story-mongering, with traditional and original tropes artfully intertwined. (Fantasy. 11-14)

Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 September #5

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Gidwitz deploys his successful formula of bloody happenings and narratorial intrusion in his third and final installment of unexpurgated fairy tales. The protagonists are Jorinda and Joringel, who go through hair-raising and stomach-churning travails similar to those of their predecessors, Hansel and Gretel (in A Tale Dark & Grimm) and Jack and Jill (from In a Glass Grimmly); there are even a few cameo appearances by characters from the earlier books. Among the sources this time are "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty," lesser-known tales such as "The Juniper Tree" and "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Fear," and a few non-Grimm tales. Reflecting his love of theory, Gidwitz takes an excursion into metafiction near the end that highlights the power of story, one of two key themes, along with the folly of repressing one's feelings. Underneath the gore, the wit, and the trips to Hell and back, this book makes it clearer than ever that Gidwitz truly cares about the kids he writes for. Ages 10-up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 December

Gr 4-8--The conclusion to the trilogy that began with A Tale Dark and Grimm (2010) and continued with In a Glass Grimmly (2012, both Dutton) is equally gorey and awesomely dark. Jumping outside normal book conventions, Gidwitz not only relies on the previously recounted horror, but he also embraces and integrates it into the plot. "The third raven blinked at the little boy. 'The metafictional dimensions of that statement are kind of blowing my mind.'" Fans of these gruesome tales will not blink an eye, and newcomers are more likely to return to the previous titles to catch up than to find the references off-putting. The assured voice of the storyteller continues to be distinctive and clearly indicated by the bold type. Jorinda and Joringel, main characters in these adventures, gradually take on this storyteller role, upending the expected, and provide a satisfying conclusion while extolling the power of story. As innovative as they are traditional, the stories maintain clear connections with traditional Grimm tales while creatively connecting to the narrative, and all the while keeping the proceedings undeniably grisly and lurid. Gidwitz includes a note regarding the sources of his stories, which are not just Grimm, but also include Peter Dickinson, Hans Christian Andersen, Eric Kimmel, and his own fertile imagination. Readers will rejoice.--Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO

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