The psychosexual implications of "Little Red Riding Hood" have been explored since the days of Bruno Bettelheim, and Pearce (As You Wish) tackles them with enthusiasm in this grisly contemporary reimagining. Scarlett March, 18, scarred and missing an eye after killing the "Fenris" who slaughtered her grandmother, now lives to hunt the werewolflike creatures that relentlessly stalk and murder girls far and wide. Her 16-year-old sister, Rosie, has also been trained to hunt, but feels the tug of a different life and kills Fenris only out of loyalty to her beloved sister. The neighboring woodman's son, Silas, has been a reliable ally, but he, too, has begun to think about other things--including Rosie. Still, all three move from their rural town to Atlanta when the opportunity comes to strike a major blow against the Fenris, the urban landscape becoming the vehicle of discovery for them all. Although it remains fuzzy why the trio shoulders the burden of combating the Fenris alone, rather than exposing the creatures to the rest of the populace, it's a well-told tale that does not suffer from the fairy tale predictability of its outcome. Ages 15-up. (June)
VOYA - Kaitlyn Silver
Sisters Red is okay. The oldest sister is a flat character, only wanting to kill werewolves to save her sister and the world from them. Her sister, Rosie, is much more complex and three-dimensional. The book is definitely a dark fairy tale. Some people might think it similar to Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005/VOYA October 2005) because of the werewolves, but it's not. Reviewer: Kaitlyn Silver, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Dotsy Harland
In the small Georgia town of Ellison live teenaged sisters Scarlett and Rosie Marsh. They have been on their own since their grandmother was killed in a vicious werewolf attack, which left Scarlett disfigured. Since then, Scarlett has been driven to bait and kill as many werewolves (or Fenris) as she possibly can with the help of her hunting partner, the sisters' neighbor Silas. But Rosie and Silas, also skilled hunters, dream of living normal lives, which frustrates Scarlett tremendously. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, gangs of Fenris are gathering in droves and murdering adolescent girls, and Scarlett is desperate to do something about it. The three determine that there must be a coveted Potential (a rare human who can be turned) somewhere in the area causing the wolves to congregate. Silas and the sisters rent a rundown apartment in Atlanta, so they can search for the Potential and put a stop to the killings. Emotions run high as Rosie and Silas fall in love and try to keep their new relationship a secret from Scarlett. In a horrifying twist, Scarlett realizes that Silas is the Potential, but after an intense, bloody battle with the wolves all ends well for the three friends.Pearce modernizes the story of Little Red Riding Hood, creating a novel filled with bravery, romance and loyalty. Though the long and frequent fight scenes sometimes overshadow the plot, and Silas is a little too noble to be believable, teens who savor the supernatural will enjoy this suspenseful tale. Reviewer: Dotsy Harland
Library Journal - Booksmack!
As young girls, sisters Scarlett and Rosie March survived an attack by the Fenris, which killed their grandmother and left Scarlett without an eye. Now—joined by Silas, the woodsman's son—they hunt these charismatic werewolves, which prey on pretty girls in their small Georgia town. Scarlett wields a vicious ax, while Rosie longs for some normalcy and the chance at a romantic relationship with Silas. The game changes when the three decide to take the hunt to Atlanta, where an unprecedented number of Fenris are gathering. Alternating between Scarlett and Rosie's viewpoints, this urban transplant of Grimm's "Little Red Riding Hood" makes plain the story's violent and sexual overtones. A note to the squeamish: when the oh-so-big-teeth of the Fenris meet the March sisters' savage weaponry, the result is more in keeping with the violence of Susanne Collins's "Hunger" trilogy than with, say, Meyer's "Twilight" saga. Angelina Benedetti, "35 Going on 13", Booksmack!, 12/2/10
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—For Scarlett and Rosie March, the world is not what it seems. Werewolves, called Fenris, live among them in the form of good-looking men who prey on pretty young girls. When a Fenris attacked the March girls, it killed their grandmother and left them emotionally and, for Scarlett, physically scarred. Since then, they have taken action and revenge. With the help of a friend, Silas, the girls are on a mission—to destroy as many Fenris as they can. This goal becomes more complicated when they try to unravel the mystery behind the pack and prevent the next "Potential" from transforming fully into a soulless, evil monster. Pearce is on the mark with this modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Told by the sisters in alternating chapters, this well-written, high-action adventure grabs readers and never lets go. Rosie and Scarlett are true heroines; smart, tough, and determined, but their special bond is put to test when Rosie and Silas's relationship becomes more than just friendship. A satisfying read with a fantastic cover.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
This is not the tale of Little Red Riding Hood your granny told. In this version, the sisters, Scarlett and Rose (shades of red, anyone?), were attacked by a werewolf-like Fenris and saved by Scarlett's quick action with a broken mirror. The attack left Scarlett with one eye, bite and claw scars and an obsessive drive to rid the world of the Fenris clans. Told from the points of view of the two teens, joined by childhood friend and woodsman Silas, the story combines elements of fantasy and mystery in equal parts. The voices of both sisters are distinctive and clearly differentiated, though the dialogue is sometimes overwrought and melodramatic. The plot unfolds with steadily increasing tension and unexpected twists to a shocking climax. The ending may not be totally satisfying, but it is realistic given the depiction of both young women. This urban fantasy with its scarred heroine and intermittent violence is not for Twilight fans but may well appeal to Melissa Marr's readers and teens who like their fantasy on the gritty side. (Fantasy. YA)
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Two sisters, cowering in terror, "clinging together with their chests pressed together until it seemed as if their hearts were one single organ beating between them" listen to the werewolf as he kills their grandmother and then comes for them. Now Scarlett has become an unrelenting hunter who "hunts to kill the monsters that destroy lives and ruin families" like the one who killed her grandmother and scarred her forever when she saved her little sister from his attack. Pretty Rosie is often the lure with sweet smelling perfume, swaying hips, and backwards glances; she lures the men who are truly Fenris into transforming so Scarlett and she, deadly with her knives, can destroy them. But Rosie begins to dream of a different life, a life that might include the love of Silas, woodsman and boyhood friend...a young man who might have been the cause of the childhood attack and now may pose the greatest danger of all. Hints of a dark Little Red Riding Hood in today's often violent world as one young woman wages a never-ending war against those whom most will view as sexual predators. Recommended. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
"Lushly romantic ... Readers of Stephenie Meyer, Donna Jo Napoli, and Shannon Hale will enjoy the excitement, romance, supernatural elements, and fairy tale references."
"This modern, urban interpretation...skillfully develops the unique voices of two strong heroines at a crossroads in their lives."
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
"Darkly powerful and razor-sharp."
"Fairy tales take a modern twist with this action-packed story of strong sisters, deadly wolves, and risky love."
From the Publisher
* "This well-written, high-action adventure grabs readers and never lets go....A satisfying read with a fantastic cover."School Library Journal, starred review
"Unfolds with steadily increasing tension and unexpected twists to a shocking climax...may well appeal to Melissa Marr's readers and teens who like their fantasy on the gritty side."Kirkus Reviews
"Lushly romantic ... Readers of Stephenie Meyer, Donna Jo Napoli, and Shannon Hale will enjoy the excitement, romance, supernatural elements, and fairy tale references."Booklist
"This modern, urban interpretation...skillfully develops the unique voices of two strong heroines at a crossroads in their lives."Horn Book
"Darkly powerful and razor-sharp."Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling authors of Beautiful Creatures
"Unforgettable." Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Evernight
"A captivating blend of sisterly devotion, new love, old secrets, and a vicious enemy."Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth
"Fairy tales take a modern twist with this action-packed story of strong sisters, deadly wolves, and risky love."Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Lovely
"A captivating blend of sisterly devotion, new love, old secrets, and a vicious enemy."