ARC Review: THE THREE IMPOSSIBLES by Susie Bower (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in pale blue over a blured image of a castle in the hills
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 2.5 stars
Series: Standalone


Book cover for THE THREE IMPOSSIBLES: title in turquoise on a sea separating a lighthouse and a castle

Mim grew up surrounded by secrets. On the day she was born, her mother died and a mysterious curse was cast on her family. Ever since, she’s been isolated in a walled castle, forbidden from venturing to the Outside.

But Mim has never been able to stop asking questions – and when her father enlists the suspicious Madame Marionette to train her in the art of being a princess, her curiosity only gets more intense.

Determined to understand, Mim sets out on an epic adventure in which she will break all the rules, encounter strange creatures and use all her cunning to solve impossible problems. But will it be enough to bring happiness back to the lonely castle on the rock?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to you shelves here.


THE THREE IMPOSSIBLES is a quirky story set in a world of mermaids, giant flying birds, and alchemists.

I love a story with alchemy, as it’s where science meets magic (more fantasy with a science-y aesthetic, but I still enjoy it.) In this book, the magic of alchemy was linked to impossible acts that were almost like riddles the Mim had to solve, symptomatic of the fact that alchemy usually indicates a magic system where brains are more important than inherent skill and who can out-fireball the other. And this is the case here. Mim is not winning through magical strength, but a feat of alchemy.

However, despite this, there was something about this book that just didn’t click with me.

I think it’s because I never quite felt like there was any real obstacles to Mim’s success. I always knew she’d succeed – I basically assume every main character will, because that’s the nature of fiction – but it went beyond that. I want to feel like there is a real adversary for a hero/ine to go up against because, though I know they’re going to survive and win 99% of the time (and, it has to be said, I do like the books where they fail too), but I want to be wondering “what are they going to have to sacrifice in order to succeed?”

I didn’t feel like that was happening with this book.

Despite the purported dangers of Madame Marionette and her goons, Mim managed to do everything easy peasy. I didn’t feel like there was any actual threat from Madame Marionette. For example, all Mim needed was a cloak to just waltz out the gate that is never supposed to be open. It took the anticipation out of the story.

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