Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Grades 8 and up. Little Brown, June 2010. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
The Big Bad Wolf is real and it's up to Scarlett and Rosie March to stop him. Or, well, them. Ever since an attack by the Fenris (read: werewolves) cost Scarlett her grandmother and her right eye, she's been hunting them. She feels compelled to protect the innocent girls, including her sister. Rosie owes Scarlett her life, so she trains and hunts with her. But as the number of Fenris in their small Georgia town begins to grow, Scarlett becomes more determined to wipe them out and Rosie starts to wish for another life.
I love the premise, a smart retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with red capes and a huntsman. There are references to the original story everywhere you turn. And the fight scenes and plot twists are great. Oh, and no one can deny that woodsman Silas is swoon-worthy.
For me, the overall execution left something to be desired. The motion of the book stalls between fight scenes and it was a little frustrating. There are apparently Fenris everywhere, but the girls seemed to spend a lot of time sitting in their apartment. I guess it just felt like too big a job for two girls to be the only Fenris hunters out there and it made me frustrated while I was reading it. Apparently Pearce is working on two companion books (Sweetly and Fathomless), so perhaps all is yet to be revealed.
What the book really reminded me of is Buffy the Vampire Slayer what with Scarlett feeling this massive responsibility to defeat the Big Bad all on her own and trying to balance that responsibility with the possibility of having a life, of falling in love. Anyway, that's my reference for it, but I don't know that today's teens have Buffy as a cultural reference (do they?).
(Or maybe I'm just identifying with the oldest sibling a little too much here... I am definitely on Team Scarlett.)
HOWEVER, the bottom line is that even with its shortcomings, this will please fans of paranormal romance and fairy tale retellings. And Jackson Pearce is an author to watch for sure.
Read more reviews at Fire and Ice and Mundie Moms.
Sisters Red will be on shelves June 7.