Title: Mr Rumpel and Mr Grimm
Author: Echo Ishii
Release Date: October 29th 2014
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Retelling/M-M Romance
Claude Rumpel is a goblin turned human, living a quiet life in his little repair shop at the edge of town. He is in sore need of money to fund his inventions, and a cure for his hands, which he must keep covered at all times.
Daniel Grimm is half elf, descended from a wealthy family but now down on his luck. He is determined to restore his family’s prestige and has a daring plan to do so.
The gold thread that Claude spins, and Daniel’s ability to sell it, seems a perfect plan for their goals. The casual sex is a pleasant bonus. But they are constantly thwarted from all sides: Daniel’s dealing with a powerful witch, the opposing magic of their lineages, and Claude’s dark goblin desires…
The story of Rumplestiltskin, the goblin who weaved thread into gold, has always fascinated me. Although he makes a deal to steal the royal baby I’ve always wondered if he is conveniently portrayed as the villain.
In Mr Rumpel and Mr Grimm, Echo Ishii spins the children’s fairy tale into a m/m romance in which Claude Rumple accesses his goblin form by drinking a potion, in order to sit at the spinning wheel which keeps his hands from taking on their human form. Echo Ishii retains the underlying theme of need in this retelling. Claude Rumpel needs the money from the gold to fund his inventions; Daniel Grimm needs to finances his project to reinstate his family’s name and the two men need each other, sexually and emotionally.
Claude Rumpel is a likeable character and we know enough about him to empathise with his pathetic existence. Although later the Old Hag makes Claude seem like the manipulator, I never felt this was the case; I only ever saw Claude’s desire for social contact and affection from Daniel.
But Mr Grimm? His true identity is not immediately revealed, but his heritage means he contains a certain amount of magic in his blood. To say I ‘liked’ him would be an exaggeration. His desperation to see the Grimm family name revered leads him down a dangerous path and in a way I felt he deserved to suffer for his stupidity.
The main problem with this story is that it is too short! The material Echo Ishii has here could have been extended into a full-length novel, with more character development and play on the traditional Grimm/Rumplestiltskin roles.
I would definitely read more by the author, particularly if they are retellings!