A little while ago, I participated in the Christmas BooktubeAThon, and Sisters Red was the second book I read for this ReadAThon. This was a comparatively slow read for me, since I was aiming to read about a book a day for the readathon but this book took two days. Which isn't long for a book, but in a readathon and with a 324 page book, it surprised me. Regardless, I wanted to take my time and enjoy this book, and by the title- it is a 5 star book obviously- I wanted to share my thoughts about a book that I really enjoyed.
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?
I am a fan of fairytale retellings in general, and I had always heard wonderful reviews of Jackson Pearce's retellings in particular. I got this book as a gift a few years ago, but it's been sitting in my TBR pile. It was definitely time to pull the book out and read!
Starting off, something that I didn't get in the initial summary is that this takes place in modern times. Since I still had this image of Red Riding Hood in the olden time forest, it took me a few pages to adapt, but I immediately liked the time shift. It was a really good element to add in and characterize the March sisters and their world a little bit more.
Let's talk about the March sisters and the other key character in this story, Silas. Scarlett March is dedicated- the hunt is her life. Rosie is a little bit less obsessed with the hunt, but because of their past, she stays resolutely with her sister. They have a strong relationship that is one of the central focuses in the book. Since Red Riding Hood was always one individual, I really liked having two sisters with different personalities but still the same fairytale. These two are not helpless, however. They are tough, trained Fenris hunters, and their skills are honed and they are ready to fight and win. Silas is their friend and partner since they were all young- he comes from a family of woodsman. Although the woodsman concept was not very explained, I would assume it was like the March sisters being hunters. Regardless, Silas has trained with them and fights with them. The dynamic between these three was good- there were a few weird moments, but nothing that ruined the story.
In terms of a plot, this was a great retelling. The Fenris are grouping together in packs, and the main conflict in the storyline doesn't take place for awhile. Instead, the reader is introduced to the mythology involved in this retelling, but not in the typical internal character monologue where, for some reason, they decide to mentally go through their entire world during a chapter. (Ok, it's to give the reader insight, but that always bothered me in stories). I much prefer the way Jackson Pearce included back story- the characters discovered new information and that was how the reader learned it. While the 'plot twist' was something I had feared happening since very early on. So, it wasn't a plot as full of intrigue as other books I've read, but it was still a good story. Although it was a slower read, it was a good one, and I really enjoyed the book.
I think some of the really stand out qualities in this book can be found in the character development, and how Plato's Allegory of the Cave is referenced several times throughout, and how the writing style in dual POVs fits perfectly. With regards to the character development, I found that I enjoyed reading about all the characters in this book. That was amazing, because each had qualities that could easily have been too exaggerated and become annoying. Instead, they were well written, and as the characters grew, they became even better in the story. Now, for Plato. This was a recurrent theme in the story, and I liked the philosophy reference as well as how this is one example of a detail that connects the sisters. And finally, speaking of the sisters, the dual POV was fantastic. It was well done and really added to the story as well as both sisters.
I think that this is a great read. It wasn't the fastest, page turning novel I'd read, but it was very well developed, with characters that are unique and not overdone, with an interesting plot, and I think I will be picking up the next book in Jackson Pearce's fairytale retellings soon!
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