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Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

TITLE: Sisters Red                           SERIES: Fairytale Retellings #1
AUTHOR: Jackson Pearce               PUB. DATE: June 7 2010
PUBLISHER: Little Brown Books 
FORMAT: Hardcover, 324 pgs        SOURCE: bought
Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings #1)

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?

THREE WORDS: Dark. Beautiful. Suspenseful.

MY “I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK” REACTION: Wow! Little Red Riding Hood has never seemed so edgy and provocative. Also, I really feel the need to smoosh my sister in a hug right now.

MY REVIEW: So I’ve been dying to read this book for three reasons- 1) the cover is so pretty-full 2) I’ve heard such awesome things about it and 3) the author is super funny cool. I had such high expectations for this book and I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. This Little Red Riding Hood retelling by Jackson Pearce is edgy, thrilling, fast paced, action packed, and stuffed with romance; wicked fight scenes; and a breathtaking sister relationship.

After being attacked by a Fenris, or werewolf, as children, Scarlett and Rosie March grow up to be Fenris hunters. Badly scarred and missing an eye from the first Fenris attack, Scarlett is driven by the hunt, it consumes her. She is determined to kill every single last Fenris, and armed with her trusty hatchet and wrapped in her red cloak she hunts in her small town of Ellison. Rosie dreams of a normal life, filled with more than hunting. But she feels like she owes her sister Scarlett her life, so she stays in Ellison and hunts. The two sisters have, what they believe to be an unbreakable bond. Scarlett’s best friend and hunting partner, Silas, returns home and the three of them temporarily move to Atlanta together to hunt the Fenris that have begun to gather there. Together they must try to figure out just what they Fenris are up to, while trying to save as many girls as they can. Things get complicated when Silas and Rosie start to fall for each other, and the bond between Rosie and Scarlett is tested.

The book is told from both Scarlett and Rosie’s point of views through alternating chapters. I felt like this really gave me the chance to connect with and get to know each sister on an individual level, while the intertwining of both perspectives created both a figurative and literal link between the two sisters. I genuinely liked both sisters and appreciated their realistic development.

On the surface Scarlett is hard and confident with an impenetrable guard around her emotions, but within her own mind her insecurities, fears, and doubts are constantly swirling and bubbling. For as strong as she is, she’s also quite fragile. I found her complexities as a character to be simply captivating.

Rosie balances Scarlett’s hardness with a natural softness. Rosie is more open about her insecurities, both to herself and to others, and I found this honesty very compelling. There’s a sweetness to Rosie that I found refreshing, yet at the same time I like that she’s just as tough as her sister.

As much I like both sisters, there were aspects of their characters that I didn’t like. Scarlett’s hard personality can be a bit overwhelming at times, while Rosie’s willingness to allow Scarlett to boss her around and make her feel guilty is frustrating.

Silas adds a much needed sense of humor and lightheartedness to the story. He’s caring, witty, brave, and charming. I like that he feels fiercely protective of the sisters, yet he completely respects their abilities as hunters and never doubts that they can take care of themselves. 

They are all engaging as a trio, as individual characters, and as pairs (the sisters, Rosie/Silas, and the Scarlett/Silas friendship).

Pearce’s Sisters Red is a deliciously twisted, dark, and captivating take on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. It’s imaginative, smart, bold, romantic, and has a sweetness that is charming, yet as razor sharp as Scarlett’s hatchet. And while it is a retelling of such a famous fairy tale, Sisters Red pops with its own originality. I like that Pearce as taken the clichéd damsel in distress concept that fairy tales are known for and has completely flipped it around. Jackson’s two little red riding hood wearing females are anything but helpless. They are fierce, capable, courageous, Fenris ass kicking girls with steely determination and a tireless perseverance. And did I mention they kick some serious ass?! Cause they do and I really enjoyed reading about it too!

The book is fast paced and packs a wicked punch. There’s an electric intensity to this book, especially during the fight scenes. Pearce doesn’t hold anything back during these scenes. These are violent, fight or die moments, so there’s blood, goriness, and swearing. These scenes often left me breathless and wide eyed, especially the last few chapters.

The fantasy and action aspects in this book are awesome, but it’s the emotional aspects that really gripped me and have stayed with me. At its core, this book is about the relationship between the sisters; the beautifully heartbreaking, conflicted, tender, codependent relationship between Scarlett and Rosie. Pearce develops and explores this relationship with such care and sensitivity that the feelings between the two sisters are palpable and piercing. Their struggles to keep their deep bond intact while at the same time their need to figure out who they are as individuals was compelling to witness and breathtakingly crafted.

The romance between Rosie and Silas is a lot of fun to watch unfold. It progresses quite naturally and never feels forced or contrived. There are scenes where the chemistry between the two sizzles off the page, while other scenes are very sweet. I really enjoyed watching this romance develop and never felt like there was too much or too little of it.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: This book as it all- kick butt heroines, heart-pounding action, a sweet romance, and a creative premise. I found myself captivated by the world and characters Pearce creates in this book and mesmerized by her smart, engaging, well crafted writing. This is an awesome book that is definitely worth a read!  


You can learn more about and connect with Jackson Pearce here:

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1 comment:

lyan said...

I love the new way of making Red Riding Hood fierce and wild..