Unenchanted by Chandra Hahn was the latest book on my reading list.
Mina Grime is a quiet, clumsy, unpopular, and extraordinarily unlucky teenage girl drifting through high school trying not to get noticed. With her family barely squeaking by, Mina doesn’t have a cell phone and her means of transportation is a rusty old bicycle.
When she goes on a class field-trip to a nearby bakery, everything changes. When Mina saves the most popular (handsome, rich, nice) boy from a freak-accident, she is thrust into the limelight. Her new fame, and her mother’s reaction to it, reveals that Mina is the victim of an old family curse. The Grimm brothers – for Mina is a Grimm not a Grime – made a deal with the fae that trapped them, and all their descendants, into a race to complete the Story. Mina must finish ALL the tales, before she becomes the Story’s next victim.
What a unique idea! Mina is forced to live through all the 200+ Grimm tales before she can free herself (and the rest of her family) from the Grimm curse. This is a very TALL order, given the sheer volume of tales. Plus the fact that many of them have decidedly unhappy endings. (No one in her family has managed to complete the tales yet).
I had a really hard time deciding whether I actually liked Mina or not. She is somewhat of a stereotypical teenage girl – filled with unrequited teenage lust (a crush on the most popular boy) as well as over-blown teenage angst/drama. I always hope for a strong female character, and for most of the book Mina was very disappointing in that regard. Yes, she saved Brody (the popular guy) but her numerous overreactions and copious tears really didn’t sell me on her personality or her gumption. She’s all like “Yeah! I’ll defeat the story!” but then when faced with anything she turns into a crying “Oh, someone save me!” pathetic and passive doll. I was very concerned. She redeems herself a teensy bit by figuring out that maybe SHE should DO something to save HERSELF by the end, but it was a passing and very short moment followed quickly by tears. (Admittedly I sort of sympathized with those tears, but seriously she was a fountain for most of the book so they annoyed me more than they stirred sympathy in me).
So I guess the answer is: I didn’t really like her most of the time.
I did like the idea of mashing up and modernizing a bunch of fairy tales, and I still think that holds merit as a plot line. Given the fact that she (spoiler) finished only THREE tales, I’m not so sure that she’s going to get through the Story. There are sequels, and I’ll be willing to give them a try to see if Mina turns from being a quivering lump of no-action jelly into a strong character who can actually get stuff done.
3.5/5 on this one. (Which is too bad, since I really enjoyed other Chandra Hahn books I’ve read, like The Iron Butterfly).