Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
release date: June 7th, 2010
edition: Hardcover, 328 pages
intended audience: Young adult
description from Goodreads:
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 ...more 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.
Review: I love a good fairy-tale retelling. Loved Ash, really liked Beastly, and though I haven't read the book, I am over-the-moon in love with the broadway show, Wicked. Sisters Red was definitely no exception. I actually wouldn't call this a retelling. More like a complete re-imagining of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. It was brilliant.
From page one of the prologue, you jump into the excitement and eerie mood of this tale. You meet two little sisters, Scarlett and Rosie, and see them being approached in their front yard by a man you just know is pure evil from the moment he slithers up. By the end of the prologue (the prologue, people...not even having gotten to the first chapter!) I was hooked. The writing throughout was excellent and the plot flowed perfectly.
This is set in modern times, and at first my head refused to wrap around that! The girls, both in their teens, lived in the woods in their grandmother's cottage, so my mind imagined them in the time of Grimm fairy tales. In the next breath, you see them roaming the city in jeans and tees, and going to community centers for origami lessons...it was a shock to the brain! But this setting added edge to the plot, as the girls roam the city streets with their concealed Fenris-fighting weapons, sporting a red cloak and a flirtatious walk to entice the wolves to themselves. The fenris are transformed into perfectly gorgeous men to lure girls into the woods or down dark alleys where they change back to wolves and attack. Scarlett and Rosie let themselves be lured away, before revealing that they have trained their whole lives to fight and kill these monsters! I would love to see this book made into a movie---the fight scenes would be amazing!
The relationship between the sisters is very intense and special. They have always felt that they have one shared heart. Scarlett, who is older, lives her life with the need to protect Rosie and other young girls from the Fenris, so much so that she has completely sacrificed herself to that mission. She is marked from head to toe with her battle scars and she is missing an eye. You see her lament her stolen looks at times throughout the story and other times she just sees it as a small price to pay to have kept her sister safe. It's what drives her and makes her live for the hunt. Rosie, on the other hand, is conflicted between owing her sister her life and wanting more. She feels obligated to fight by Scarlett's side, but she isn't driven to it like her sister is. Plus, she is suddenly looking at their life-long friend and fighting partner, Silas, with new eyes. Yes, there is actually a beautiful and sweet romance woven into this tale of bloody battles with wolves!
I've heard some say this was a little predictable, and while I do admit that on a particular important plot twist, I literally shouted out, "I knew it!", it was more out of satisfaction that my suspicions were confirmed than disappointment that I'd predicted it. It didn't lessen my enjoyment of this story in the least bit.
Pick this one up and soon! I very highly recommend it!