Red Riding Hood strikes back

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Hachette Book Group, 336 pages

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

There is something about a re-telling of an old, popular story that fascinates me. It started when a friend recommended Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, a re-telling of the book of Hosea from the Bible, and I’ve read a lot of contemporary young adult (YA) stories based on fairy tales–but not all re-tellings work. Some authors simply retell the story with different names and twists that have little impact on the story. However, for those that manage to infuse an old tale with originality, the result can be a clever and creative read. Such is the case with Jackson Pearce’s second book, Sisters Red.

The cover is very pretty, but don’t be mislead by it (and the fact that Pearce’s first novel was light and romantic): Sisters Red is not your ordinary fairy tale retelling. Pearce goes in an entirely different direction from her debut by writing a modern version of Little Red Riding Hood that is dark, dangerous, and quite violent. The novel starts with Scarlett and Rosie March as kids, when they first encounter a Fenris – a wolf who assumes the form of a handsome man, and who feeds on beautiful women. Scarlett kills the wolf to save her sister, but not without the Fenris killing their grandmother and leaving Scarlett scarred and blind in her right eye. Seven years later, the sisters, together with their childhood friend Silas, have devoted their lives to hunting these soulless beasts who continue to prey on other women. When the three of them realize that Fenris from different packs have started to hunt together, they know something was up: the Fenris are looking for the Potential, a possible new werewolf recruit. Scarlett, Rosie and Silas head out to the city to find the Potential before the wolves do. Scarlett is thrilled that she’ll be able to kill more Fenris; Rosie, on the other hand, is excited for an entirely different reason: she longs to spend more time with Silas, who has started to point her in the direction of jobs besides hunting, and toward a life resembling normalcy.

It’s brave of Jackson Pearce to put a dark twist to this fairy tale (although it must be pointed out that the original versions of Little Red Riding Hood were dark indeed). Click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating: [rating=4]

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 57 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: ebook, $9.99 from Amazon Kindle Store

Cover and Blurb: Goodreads

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