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Friday, June 25, 2010

"Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Jackson Pearce's Official Website Here
Order Sisters Red from Amazon Here

Author Introduction: Jackson Pearce is the author of the previously published YA book, As You Wish. Sisters Red is the first book in a proposed series based very loosely off of the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood.

Overview: 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 fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Format: Sisters Red, is a YA paranormal/romance which is based in a contemporary world after the events that are just like Little Red Riding Hood. It is the first book in a proposed series. It stands at 346 pages, the chapters are told in the first person point of view that alternate between Scarlett and Rosie. It was released from Little Brown Books for Young Readers on June 7, 2010.

Analysis: Sisters Red is based very loosely off of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. The novel kicks off with the "fairy" tale part of it but the bulk of the book are the after events of what happened that fateful night when the wolf came to visit Red's grandma, or in this case the March sisters' grandmother.

This novel can only simply be described as a mood altering book and really takes the mind set to read it. If a reader isn't in the right frame of mind this book will definitely not connect with them and prevent them from enjoying any part of this story. I describe this book as mood altering because Sisters Red has a tone of being very depressive and dark. Scarlett is disfigured by many scars that she has received (both physical and emotional) while Rosie has emotional baggage and gives up her life. From the characters to the events that happen throughout the book everything is laced with this dark stormy cloud and there really isn't any light. When there is a chance for something to be semi-happy, it is overshadowed by depressive or guilty thoughts. While Pearce does an excellent job of writing out and setting up this emotional state, it can be very taxing for the reader. For myself this was the biggest struggle of the novel, I just wasn't prepared for such a dark depressing novel.

Taking into account the rather unique nature of the writing, Sisters Red really does take a unique look at the werewolf aspect of YA novels. In this novel the werewolves are finely dressed men who lure unsuspecting girls and turn into wolves while they attack them. This little element of the novel allowed it to take a step away from the more traditional werewolf novels that have been popping up. Another area of the novel that stood out was the use of the fairy tale. It was amazing to see Pearce develop so much from such a traditional fairy tale. While the novel isn't fully based off of the fairy tale it was a very creative approach to it.

Besides the depressive, dark nature of the book there were a few elements that prevented me from really loving this book. First, was the romance between Rosie and Silas. It was a tad bit predictable and very much an in your face reader romance. From the first pages of the novel it was forced onto readers without any real background. Maybe it was the rather flat nature of Silas or the fact that he appeared to be a background character, whichever the reason it didn't work for myself. It just came across as very forced upon the reader.

Another element that didn't work for myself was the rather plot element of the book. While I read the book and enjoyed reading it, sometimes I would question where the plot was going. I understood that there were these girls fighting the werewolves, but I didn't really understand the whole why they felt so focused on it. There were times where it came across they were just fighting and I'm just reading about fights with no plot. That isn't what fully happened, as the novel did have a plot, but maybe if the book had been a bit shorter it wouldn't have had this feeling or it could have been that the book was just so depressing that it had this feeling.

Overall, Sisters Redd isn't a bad book it's just a book that takes the right mind frame and element to read. There is definitely an audience for this book and while I appreciate the attempt to not have a book that is all overly bubbly romance in the end it almost came across as too dark and depressive. For readers that are prepared and looking for a book like this, Pearce really will give you a treat and a great read.


Lisa Parkin said...

Although this story sounds very interesting, I am surprised that the author decided to take such a light-hearted story into a darker realm.

I definitely appreciate your analysis- I love a good read, but darker novels get me down. :) If you are interested in other classic stories with adaptations, I recommend anything by Juliet Marillier, who re-writes many celtic stories and legends.

Cindy said...

I knew it was going to be dark but it didn't let up. Everything was shadowed over with this dark cloud, which I was unprepared for. Even the darkest books have a small amount of light in them :).

I shall look into that author as I've been on a Celtic phase lately! Thanks for the recommendation!


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