Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: The Council of Mirrors - Michael Buckley

The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley
Series: The Sisters Grimm #9
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy, fairy tale retelling
Published on April 24, 2012
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Pages: 337
Read From: 5.19.12 - 5.21.12

Sabrina, Daphne, and the rest of the Grimms - except for Granny Relda - fight for the freedom of Ferryport Landing in the series' grand finale. As war rips the town apart, Sabrina consults a team of magic mirrors, who prophesy that the only way the good guys will win is if she leads the army. Sabrina has always wanted to be taken seriously, and now she controls the fate of all the Everafters, the very people who have made her life so difficult since she and Daphne arrived in Ferryport Landing. Will they listen to a Grimm? And can she really save them?


As a whole, I liked the conclusion to this wonderfully original series (though it doesn’t seem original any longer, I want to give Michael Buckley the credit for being the first to really do this idea). There are many surprises, things don’t end all happily-ever-after, there are a proper number of deaths, and Sabrina isn’t nearly as annoying in this book as she has been in previous volumes. Fans who are dying to see a wedding won’t be disappointed - not entirely. Some might fuss about how short the wedding is, but I liked that the Author spent so little time on it. Any longer and it would have become a little awkward and drawn-out.

So what didn’t I like? Well, the Grimm sisters’ parents, for one. The biggest problem with parents being in a story is they are always trying to keep their children out of danger, which means they are always preventing their kids from going off on adventures. Any Reader is going to be annoyed with anyone who is constantly telling the kids, “You can’t come because you might get hurt!” or, “You’re grounded because you disobeyed me.” While this is a perfectly natural reaction from a parent, it gets in the way of a good adventure, ergo parents should never be in a book (Inkheart is an exception).

As for Mirror’s defeat, I’m still a little unsure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I am not a fan of evil villains being killed off with compassion or their own remorse. It’s always disappointing, unrealistic, and a rip-off. True villains don’t feel remorse; any villain that does isn’t that evil. However, in this the Author did constantly hint that the reason Mirror did what he did was because he had never felt love or compassion in his life, and thus if he had, he would not be hurting people. It’s hard to say that Mirror is totally evil because I did get this constant feeling that he was a bit remorseful, but was just so desperate to leave Ferryport Landing that he was forced to drastic measures. So in some ways, his demise worked. In some ways. I still kind of feel cheated out of a good death. Especially since he just kind of turns into an essence - he doesn’t necessarily die - and then he just sort of . . . disappears.

So I guess my conclusion is that while The Council of Mirrors definitely delivered in many areas, it fell down in other ways. Still, it’s worth reading.

Others in The Sisters Grimm Series:
1)The Fairy-Tale Detectives
2)The Unusual Suspects
3)The Problem Child
4)Once Upon a Crime
5)Magic and Other Misdemeanors
6)Tales from the Hood
7)The Everafter War
8)The Inside Story
9)The Council of Mirrors

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