Seven years ago, Scarlett and Rosie March were happy young girls living with their grandmother in a cottage in the South. Then a man came to the door selling oranges, turned into a wolf, and attacked. Now Oma March is dead, Scarlett and Rosie are teenagers, and Rosie feels guilty about Scarlett’s missing eye, a scar from that day when she saved her younger sister’s life.
That would be hard enough to deal with if Scarlett and Rosie had to go to high school every day, but they don’t. Scarlett and Rosie are hunters, out to kill every Fenris (werewolf) that they can find. Those killing sprees of young girls that normal people chalk up to serial killers or sad coincidences? They’re actually the product of a pack of Fenris, who are attracted to young, pretty girls. The innocence of girls their same age is what Scarlett and Rosie set out to protect when they go hunting to kill.
For Scarlett especially, hunting is her life. And she is not just protective over the whole world; she is almost debilitatingly protective of Rosie. When her partner, Silas, returns from a vacation in San Francisco, she insists that he help them hunt so that Rosie does not have to do it solo. The three decide to leave their small town for a bigger city in hopes of finding more Fenris and killing them.
Hunting wolves is stressful, though, and tensions rise. Rosie isn’t sure she wants to dedicate her entire life to this activity, especially when all of a sudden love seems like a better option. And Scarlett becomes increasingly consumed by the thought of defeating every single Fenris out there, a nearly impossible task. Silas just wants to be a mediator for the sisters --- until he ends up between them.
There are lots of fairy tale retellings out there, but not many of them are set in a decidedly modern world, where the teenagers who inhabit the story still act like teenagers. There are also very few retellings of “Little Red Riding Hood.” For those reasons and more, SISTERS RED is an adventurous, fun read. It’s just loose enough with the fairy tale so that you don’t feel like you have to match every moment in the novel with a moment in the tale. And the characters are modern, fresh and believable, even in a world where werewolves keep 16-year-olds from going to prom and having friends.
Told from both Scarlett’s and Rosie’s perspectives in alternating chapters, SISTERS RED really digs into the human parts of the tale, especially sisterhood, instead of relying on the supernatural elements to move the story along. Because you can read about Scarlett and Rosie’s relationships with each other and with Silas, and because you can see what each sister does when she’s alone (something that doesn’t happen much when you’ve grown up in a two-sister, no-adult family), the wolf element doesn’t seem jarring --- it is simply another part of the March sisters’ lives. And, of course, their last name, shared with the sisters of LITTLE WOMEN, seems to further imply that SISTERS RED is first a story about being sisters and second a story about defeating evil. No matter which part is your favorite, though, it’s a good read.
Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez on June 7, 2010
- Publication Date: June 7, 2010
- Genres: Urban Fantasy
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 0316068683
- ISBN-13: 9780316068680