Author: Megan Shepherd
Publication date: October 2, 2018
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Tour host: Raincoast books
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.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.
Q & A
I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Megan Shepherd a question!
Q: What was your inspiration for Grim Lovelies and why did you choose Paris as the setting?
A: Most of my other books are historical fiction, and that lends them a “removed” sort of feeling that I like. I always knew I wanted Grim Lovelies to be a modern-day fairy tale, but I still wanted the tone to feel a little dreamy and romantic. So I decided to set it in Paris, which for me has always held a whimsical feel. When I was younger I dated an adorable Parisian train conductor who showed me all around the city, and so in my heart Paris will always be a place where magic happens.
Grim Lovelies is the first book in a modern day fairy tale fantasy series where there are beasties, witches, goblins and royals vying for power in the lush setting of Paris.
The setting of Paris for the story was fitting, Paris just has this magical, fairytale, rich, lush feeling to it and I could definitely feel that while reading Grim Lovelies. Megan did an excellent job making me feel like I was in a fairytale.
The story follows the beasties as they try to find a way to stay human and not turn back into animals, there’s a time limit though, they only have three days to find someone to work the spell to keep them human! The only problem is, they can’t trust anyone. As the beasties work their way through Paris, trying to find a solution they find themselves in tight situations with no escape.
My favourite part of Grim Lovelies was the magic system and the different magical beings. There are the Witches who use plants and animals to work magic, the Goblins who work trickery, Royals who rule and oversee everyone and the beasties who are not as they seem.
Anouk the main character is a beastie, she’s been a beasite for one year and knows nothing of her life before this time. She’s a servant, one of many to a witch and very loyal, she looks to the witch as a mother figure and the other beasties as her family, a very dysfunctional family. Anouk has never set foot outside of the house and craves to see the world. Anouk as a character who knows nothing of the outside world, hasn’t interacted with anyone outside of the house and is loyal, quiet and obedient seems to come up with solutions to every single problem the beasties encounter.
While I mostly enjoyed the story there were a few things I couldn’t get on board with the main one being the romance. The romance in this story is awkward, weird, forced and the characters have no chemistry, it’s hard to believe and read. The second thing I wasn’t fond of were the characters in general, they lacked depth and development and I felt no connection to them. The one character I did enjoy and who brought depth, connection and excitement to the story unfortunately wasn’t in it for that long. Even though the beasties encounter a lot of problems, they got out of the too easily, solutions were made within seconds without consequences and everything was too easy.
Overall it was a very interesting read, I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere, setting, magic system and the different beings.