Warning: This book review contains spoilers for “The Lovers Grim” by Olivie Blake. If you don’t want spoilers, hit the back button immediately!
Happy June, everyone! I hope that all of you had a great May, and that June will be just as good or better!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing the short story collection “The Lovers Grim” by Olivie Blake. I managed to get the ebook version for free, when the author herself made it available for free for a limited time earlier in March this year (and even currently at the time of this post now being live, the ebook version is quite affordable still even though it’s not free anymore), so I’m happy to get a peek at this collection! I also thought, given that June is Pride Month, it made sense to post a book review about a collection with LGBTQ+ representation involved (it’s heavily involved or at least mentioned in three out of the five short stories). Here’s the summary so we know what it’s about:
“In the glimmer of another life, the devil spends a summer in the library of a sleepy town; two not-so-strangers drift into each other’s lives on the waning tides of fate; a beguiling finfolk journeys far from home to save a troublesome mortal; a captivated man is given a year to change the circumstances of his ending; two women seeking a bachelor’s heart find themselves in an unexpected tangle.
In this third anthology of fairytales for the modern era, Olivie Blake (Masters of Death, Lovely Tangled Vices, One For My Enemy) brings you further tales of romance, each one a provocative glimpse of irreverent humor, daring exploits, and, as always, the inevitable enchantment of love.”
“Captain McIver’s Ship of Souls” was easily one of my favourite short stories out of the entire collection. I loved reading Eli and Arno’s relationship throughout the story, even if much of the plotline was driven by a “Eli, no! ELI YES” trend that persisted throughout the entire story. My other favourite story was “Kill The Bachelor,” which is a parody of and, arguably, a deconstruction of the popular “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” TV series. Both the worldbuilding and the plotlines were fun to read, as well as the characters that drove the stories. I felt that in both of these stories, you really understood the characters, their motivations, and how their actions drove the plotlines. And—minor spoiler alert!—”Kill The Bachelor” has a developing lesbian romance between two of the characters. Won’t say who, to prevent major spoilers, but it’s there and the chemistry comes about slower than in “Captain McIver’s Ship of Souls,” but it’s still good chemistry.
I also relatively enjoyed reading “Clara and the Devil” and “Once It Happens.” These short stories “Clara and the Devil” and “Once It Happens” definitely fall into not-safe-for-work territory very quickly, but they are both interesting to read in terms of their characters. However, they’re still fun to read regardless.
Out of all the short stories, “To Make A Man” was the least enjoyable for me. This is due to the short story taking place in a plotline that followed random days of two main characters. Because each day was randomized, with one section being early on in their relationship, then you skip forward several-hundred days, and then go back to another early section, it’s hard for me to understand the character development of the individual characters and their relationships, and therefore made this short story the least enjoyable out of the rest of the stories, which were in chronological order.
Overall, I’m rating the collection 4 out of 5 stars!
I think this collection was definitely fun to read overall. If you’re looking for some fun worldbuilding and characters, this is definitely a collection you want to pick up!
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