Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings 1) by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little Brown Books
4.5 out of 5 stars
Fairytale retellings are becoming the latest fad, both in the movies, on tv and in print. Every child knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood, so exactly what can Pearce offer to entice readers into reading this retelling?
Answer: Bags and bags of dark and grizzly-ness (yes thats an official term).
There’s not one red. There’s two. Scarlett and Rosie. I love the fact that Pearce hasn’t gone for the stereotypical beauty in the book, Scarlett is horrifically scarred following a brutal wolf attack when the girls were young, she saved her sister, but at the cost of an eye. The telling of this story was one that sticks with you for pure i-want-to-look-away-but-i-cant-ness (you know I’m excited by a book when I get carried away with my -ness descriptions!), any writer that is willing to sacrifice one of their lead characters so early on is a hero in my book. So we have grown up scared-Scarlett and the coming of age Rosie, they continue to hunt wolves, although Scarlett is still over protective of Rosie, in an extremely controlling and obsessive way, she’s taken it upon herself to be the protector, fearing that next time she will fail and Rosie will either perish or suffer from disfigurations like her. Of course there’s a boy – Silas, he’s a wood cutter a job that has been passed down through generations and is a lovely nod towards the original stories hero. The wolves are of course the villans in the story, but they are not just wolves, given the current obsession with werewolves in the teen world, there’s no surprise they were written as were’s (or shape shifters as they don’t need the moon as such). Pearce has managed to take the werewolf back to its origins too, they are scary, vicious things, not big fluffy dogs, they are complete perverts – they cannot resist a pretty little thing, especially if she’s in red, another dimension to the chilling wolves of sisters red.
The story follows the heroines and Silas as they try to work out why the wolves are showing up near them more frequently and why the attacks are becoming more common, their search leads them to the city where they are in unfamiliar territory. Scarlett struggles with her relationships with her sister and silas, and her self appointed role as protector and Rosie has similar problems, fighting back against the restraints her sister has put on her.
The story really does run on two levels, which twist and turn and intertwine with each other. One being the girls struggles with their relationships and their roles in the hunting world, and with love, growing up and everything else that is thrown at them. The other the red story – the wolves. The two stories work well together, one on its own wouldn’t grasp the reader as well.
A brilliant retelling, gritty, dirty and often horrifying. Just what a good grimm tale needs!