The Council of Mirrors (The Sisters Grimm #9) by Michael Buckley

Do you ever get into a reading funk where nothing seems to click; where even normally favorite authors don’t give the joy they once did?  Well, in case this question didn’t give it away, I do.  Whether it is from stress or work overload or distractions, sometimes I can’t seem to get my reading rythym and books just don’t grab me.  In this case, I often have a hard time putting my finger on just how much to blame on my own funk and how much blame goes to the books.

So it is with some trepidation that I write to review the last book in one of my favorite series.  The Council of Mirrors is the ninth and final book in The Sisters Grimm series.  Here is the publisher’s blurb:

In the final volume in the Sisters Grimm series, Sabrina, Daphne, and the rest of the Grimms and their friends must face off against the Master to decide the fate of Ferryport Landing—and the world. When Mirror fails to escape the barrier using Granny Relda’s body, he turns to his plan B: killing all the Grimms so that the magical barrier collapses. In the meantime, Sabrina has gathered the other magic mirrors as advisors on how to deal with their mortal enemy. They tell her to join forces with the Scarlet Hand against Mirror, in exchange for offering all the citizens of Ferryport Landing their freedom. This final chapter is the end of the road for several beloved characters, but the conclusion is sure to satisfy devoted fans of the series.

Having read every book in this series pretty much as soon as it came out, I usually am so excited to finally dive into the latest.  But with the eighth book that enjoyment seemed to ebb.  And I had a similar reaction to the final book.

Hence the question above about reading funks.  I was in one when I read this book in hope of breaking out of said funk – but to no avail.  So take that for what it is worth.

On the other hand, nine books is a long series and perhaps the creativity ebbed a bit towards the end or the complex plots and dozens of characters just became too much. The earlier books had a nice blend of moving the larger story forward, introducing characters, and solving a one book mystery. The “to be continued” at the end of each book made you want to immediately start the next. This being the last book changed that dynamic somehow and it seemed a tad too disorganized and chaotic.

As always, however, it could just be the fact that sometimes young adult books don’t work because I am not the target audience.

That said, it was nice to be back in Ferryport Landing and the book did have a strong finish (both the climatic battle with mirror and the postscript wedding scene).  So in the end, it was an enjoyable read (and nostalgic reading knowing it was the last book). Buckley has a done a wonderful job of world building and always manages to make us care, and laugh with, the characters.

My wife has been reading this series to our children (age 7 and 5) allowing me to enjoy it again through their eyes.  Despite my complaints about the last two books, if you haven’t read this series yet I highly recommend it.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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