Synopsis: When Elizabeth gets an afterschool job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, it isn’t quite what she was expecting. Rather than books, it lends out anything from fondue fountains to Marie Antoinette’s wig and, more importantly, items from the Grimm Collection. But when powerful items start loosing their magic or go missing, Elizabeth and her new friends need to discover who the thief is before someone gets hurt.
Cover: The artwork has a mystical element to it that is easily missed at first glance due to the darkened colour palette. Once you examine the illustration a bit more closely, you can see various intriguing aspects that mimic the aesthetic of the story.
Product: This hardcover novel has titled chapters that include pictures at the top of the page with corresponding call numbers of where the item would be held in the Repository. Some of them are particularly interesting; such as chapter twenty on page 232.
Writing Style: The word selection is on par for teenagers, but still enjoyable for those who are in an older age bracket. There is also a wonderfully dry sense of humour from some of the characters that will make you pause or even laugh to yourself.
Pacing: The story had moments of the ordinary that, while did not drag, did not seem terribly exciting either. Nevertheless, everything that seemed irrelevant at the time would later be a more important aspect that moved the plot forward.
Plot: This book came to my attention because I was editing a story by the same name and made me a bit prejudiced towards the novel as I thought it would mimic The Brothers Grimm in some way like the manuscript. I was wrong, but, nevertheless, happily surprised. While the tale includes objects from the Grimm Collection, it has its own storyline that makes it unique and interesting.
Character: Elizabeth is the primary character whose life is a bit like Cinderella –she has a stepmother and two stepsisters, an absentminded father, plus has to do a lot of chores at home. But where Cinderella is stuck at home with only mice and her imagination for company, Elizabeth goes out to find friends and adventure by getting a job. In the end they both end up with a boyfriend, so perhaps Elizabeth is Cinderella of the 21st century…
Point of Interest: If my job interviews were as interesting as the one for the Repository, they might not freak me out so much. Sorting buttons and taking multiple-choice tests that don’t have a black and white answer is right up my ally. If I’m ever in a position to hire anyone, this seems like a pretty good way to go about it.
Romance: The four main characters are all teenagers, namely Elizabeth, Anjali, Marc, and Aaron. Aaron has a crush on Anjali who is interested in Marc who may or may not be interested back, and though Elizabeth is attracted to Marc it is Aaron who makes her stomach feel fluttery.
Unfulfilled Promise: Elizabeth’s new boss gives her a button for her coat to replace the one she’s lost and, while it does play a role in the book, it isn’t fully explained. There just seems like there should be more to it, a reason why it does what it does and a more clear definition of its purpose.
Quote: “You know when you were a little kid reading fairy tales, you always dreamed that the magic was true? Why are we the ones who get to find out it is?”
The Verdict: I thought this book had a similar aesthetic as the Percy Jackson series; an epic tale filled with magic and the mystic that leads a group of teenagers on an adventure to save someone and save the day. I got this book out from the library, but I fully intend to buy it as it is one I would read again and again… and hope there will be a sequel!