What I’m Reading: SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce

I am a sucker for fairy tales, traditional or re-told.

Summary from the inside jacket:

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 a 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 one felt that her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But…Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Scarlett’s only friend, Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax. But does loving him mean betraying her sister and all they’ve worked for?

Let it be known that I grew up on the Disney princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Ariel, and so on). I lived and breathed this stuff. My mom likes to retell a certain story where I was dressed up as a fairy, walking around the house with a wand. When I came upon her on all fours, scrubbing the tiles of the bathroom floor, what did I say? “Mommy, you’re so lucky. You get to be Cinderella.” Yeah. That was me.

And my love for fairy tales never faded. I started reading the original, often much more gruesome tales as I got older, took a few classes on traditional folklore in college, and wrote numerous papers, by choice, about these fascinating tales. So SISTERS RED, for me, had a certain level of appeal that not all books do initially. This is more a re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood than it is a retelling, but it is fast paced and packs a punch.

Scarlett and Rosie live in a world where there is not just one big bad wolf, but hundreds. They are strong female leads, battling this evil and doing their best to protect the otherwise naive and unaware. It was the layered pieces of this tale that made it successful for me though: the bond of sisterhood, the desire to want more from life, the butterfly-inducing feeling of first love. This tale is certainly inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, but at its core it is a story about sisters who grow closer as they grow apart – if that makes sense.

Jackson Pearce keeps the tension and action high in this novel, and you’ll occasionally hear a snippet of the original tale woven in. Such as “the better to see you with,” or “you mustn’t stray from the path.” These little pieces, slipped into the otherwise modern tale, are such a nice touch. They made me smile. If you dig fairy tales and girls kicking butt, you’ll likely enjoy this read!

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