11 May 2014

Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce

The fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood gets an urban twist. Scarlett and Rosie were very young when they first encountered a Fenris but they have never forgotten it, not least due to the horrific scars that now cover Scarlett, along with her missing eye. They now hunt the Fenris, using themselves as bait, but when their friend Silas returns from his adventures elsewhere, everything changes.

This book took me a long time to get into, not because the story was actually boring, but because not a lot happened in that first third that warranted too many questions. What I like best is some mystery or something very specific to care about, but I didn't care enough about either of the characters in the beginning.

However, after that first third, the pace changes as our three heroes find themselves with multiple murders, huge numbers of Fenris and a time limit; they have to find a potential Fenris, someone who hasn't been changed yet, and save him from being bitten before the moon phase is over. The story gets fairly complex at this point, with a romance developing that shakes the bond between the sisters, the Fenris behaving differently and a shocking discovery. Well, it would have been shocking if I hadn't figured it out about half way through the book. I then felt that all I was doing was reading to find out when the characters would catch up with me. This book is meant for teenagers, really, so as an adult I probably got to that conclusion long before they would, but I think for many of them, they also would have figured it out before the book revealed it. I think if there had been less glaring clues and if we had been given more characters to choose from, this could have been avoided.

There were quite a few unanswered questions; probably enough for another book entirely. What exactly was Silas doing when he was away? How did the Fenris not find the potential before now (this will make sense when you read it)? Was there anything specific that they did to keep him hidden? What does a huntsman actually do in this book?  All it seems to infer is that they can track a tiny bit and carve things out of wood, but it seems to infer that being a huntsman is something a bit special.

As for the characters, there wasn't a great range, but we got to know the sisters and Silas quite well. I felt a great connection with Rosie, but really didn't understand Scarlett sometimes. Scarletts temper flares at the tiniest things, and it really is things that she shouldn't be getting angry at. It actually got quite annoying. Silas was very nice, but his character needed fleshing out a little bit more, as he almost fades into the background.

Although this was an engrossing read at times, and it was fairly enjoyable, it pales in comparison to its companion book, Sweetly (reviewed here), which is also a fairytale retelling. I therefore have to give it a 5 out of 10.