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 ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: Red Riding Hood retelling with a focus on werewolves and sisters; interesting use of mythology and folklore; fairly predictable story and plot; a taste of “forbidden” love
When I found out about this book via a book swap site, I was really, REALLY excited. I fell absolutely in LOVE with Red Riding Hood when the movie with Amanda Seyfried, and was curious to see how this book approached the well-known fairy tale.
What I found…is pretty close to the movie I adore, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Overall, this book is good—well written, fast-paced, a few twists and turns in the plot, a major plot twist (which I, unfortunately, saw coming a mile away). But…I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped I would.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the read! Jackson Pearce has made this his own in a unique and creative way: instead of Red Riding Hood, we have the Red Hood sisters Scarlet and Rosie. Scarlet: scarred, missing an eye, patched up and healed over from countless battles with the wolves. Rosie: perfect, unmarred, saved by the sister she wishes she could be more like at a young age.
And, of course, we have the wolves: PACKS of them, all beneath different Alphas, all seeking the very same thing. The Potential. The one man who is bound to become the next werewolf.
I really enjoyed THIS particular twist to lycanthropy/werewolf legends; in this story, their bites don’t turn everyone. Usually, in fact, they don’t leave enough of their victims to even be worth it. Instead, every seven years, they seek out the ONE man (because in this world, all werewolves are men—also, they hunt women. Usually young girls. Uhm…pedophilia much, anyone?) who is destined to be turned.
The writing is pretty; there’s enough description to turn your stomach at the worst parts, to make your heart race at the sweetest. I’m not sure how I feel about Rosie and Silas’s relationship—she’s 16, he’s 21, and I’m not sure they were written well enough for me to see them “together” in the long run—but their moments together are tooth-achingly sweet, so I can’t fault the story TOO much for this.
I also didn’t like how long it took Rosie to “find” herself in this book. Don’t get me wrong, here! I know she’s only 16; she’s grown up feeling responsible for her sister’s physical oddities, she feels bound to her sister and the war on werewolves they embarked on at very young ages. This being said…she doesn’t really have much in the way of disobedience or “acting out” either. In fact, up until she and Silas actually ADMIT they have feelings for one another, she falls sort of flat overall as a character, which disappoints me, because near the end, she has such a MONUMENTAL turn around! The personal growth for her at the end of this book is just awe-inspiring, really; I wish we as readers could have seen more of it earlier on in the book.
Overall, I liked this read, but it’s not my favorite. I’ll quite possibly continue picking up other books in this series (because I like retellings, okay?). I’d recommend for anyone seeking decent action, some gore and blood, a bit of romance, and a whole lot of familial drama!