Warning: *Spoilers Ahead*
Once again I did exactly what I had promised myself I would no longer do. I accepted a self published book for review.
I know there are plenty of wonderful self published books out there, I just seem to have a knack for weeding out the bad ones.
I had high hopes for Grimly Jane, the drawings were charming, dark and a bit sinister, exactly the type of story I was in the mood for. However, it did not live up to my expectations...
Every ten years a child goes missing without a trace. Or so we've been told... Two young girls seek the story of the witch that steals children in the night and are then faced with a completely different sort of tale.
Jane Worthington, due to unfortunate circumstances, finds herself an orphan and is carted away to the Rudorf Home for Foundlings. There she is miss treated for her lack funds to pay for her stay as the other orphans in the home were apparently left with money from their parents until they find a new family. Jane, however, was left with nothing and is therefore resented for the fact because her fees are supposedly coming out of the pocket of her caretaker.
I found the basis of contempt for Jane to be a bit unfounded. She is mistreated from day one for having come to the orphanage poor even though the orphanage receives funds per child from benefactors so her costs are actually paid for in full.
I suppose if it were as the situation in Annie where all the orphans are mistreated because of their caretakers greed over the funds she receives over each child that she keeps for herself I could understand her suffering, but the other children are treated just fine. They're happy even, playing with one another (except Jane because they hate her too...) and optimistically awaiting adoption.
Or even if her story was like in Harry Potter where he is resented for his parents magic that his muggle relatives find almost sinful, but she has no magic powers. She has no reason at all to be disliked except for being just like everyone else, parent-less and living in an orphanage.
After Jane's one friend betrays her she decides to seek revenge, aided by a master of revenge from another world who she signs her life over to in order to gain the power to strike at those that hurt her the most. She is warned not to pursue this line of intrigue, after the contract is signed, but it's already too late. The contract holds an unknown punishment for not completing the task of revenge so even if she wanted to go back, she can't. There is no real fear of the punishment because we have no idea what it is so why not walk away and go live with her uncle who is trying to did her (a fact she's not told until after the contract is signed...)
The thing is, there's no real anger in Jane. She seems more sad and scared before going to the other world and even in the other world she says she's seeking revenge simply because she said she was going to do it. Her threats lack conviction, her excuses lack reasoning. She even says she's only seeking revenge because she said she'd do it and she doesn't want to go back on her word.
Not very heart wrenching and torment induced reasoning.
We're given a bit of a background on her training, but overall the story lacks... Well a story. Yes, she was mistreated at the orphanage, but aside from that nothing really fuels her actions to continue for years aside from an old grudge.
When she returns, she seeks her revenge and her tormentors are punished and she disappears... And with her the rest of the story. The book simply ends without conclusion.
The two girls seeking answers never find them. Are the children taken every ten years? The witch Jane Worthington returned after only four years and no children were taken at her departing...
The ending drops off with the girls having heard their story and heading home and we're all left with questions.
Grimly Jane is a story worthy of more time and editing. There is a lesson in there, one of forgiveness and the consequences of rash decisions, it just needs more time to come together, more editing, and more explanation.
I'm sad to say I can't give this book more than two stars. It simply isn't finished.