Clara has always been fated to die according to the fortune-telling cards pulled by her grandmother. Despite that, she makes the choice to go on a dangerous journey into the Forest Grimm to retrieve Sortes Fortunae - the Book of Fortunes - that was lost to her village years ago when someone used its magical wish-fulfilling powers to kill another. A curse befell the entire village and those who entered the deadly forest have become lost, Clara’s mother among them. Now, alongside her long-time friend Axel, Clara enters the forest to find the book, save the lost ones, and lift the curse from their village - even if it means she never returns.

Retellings are all the rage right now and this book runs with that idea in a unique way. The fairytales that we all know and love are interwoven throughout the story, in similar fashion to the television series Once Upon a Time, but with a darker twist.

A romance looms under the surface, adding another layer to the story and fairytale feel, but it didn’t overtake the main plot. Purdie’s characters were all well-written and have clearly defined goals and motivations. Do they frustrate me at times? Yes, of course they do, because they feel like real human people and real human people are frustrating. But that’s exactly how characters should feel.

Purdie crafted a world that was easy to understand while still feeling a bit mysterious. The majority of the story takes place within the Forest Grimm, which feels like a character in and of itself, adding to the entire vibe of the book. In addition, there is something that makes a story feel more like a fairytale when read out loud in a British accent and, coincidentally (or purposefully?), the audiobook is narrated by Sarah Ovens, who delivers a beautiful performance. The lilt of her voice was soothing when it needed to be, but powerful and frantic during the action sequences.

And the ending. Oh gosh, the ending. It’s not one of those earth-shattering, “scream and curse the author’s name” kind of cliffhangers, but it does leave you wanting more. I’m anxious for the next book to come and see how the story concludes for this little group looking for a fairytale ending.

THE FOREST GRIMM by Kathryn Purdie hits shelves on September 19, 2023 and you can pick up a copy for yourself here. Don’t forget to fill out this form before release date in order to take advantage of the preorder incentive!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book and audiobook from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."