Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Where I got it: I got it through InterLibrary Loan.
Why I read this book: I read about it in a Ypulse interview with the author and liked the sound of it. Fractured fairy tales have always been an interest of mine.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Sisters Scarlett and Rosie March are hunters. They track and kill the Fenris, werewolf-like monsters that hunt and prey on young women (obviously not Twilight-esque, dreamy werewolves). Ever since one attacked her and Rosie as children and took her eye, Scarlett is determined to kill as many Fenris as she can. Rosie feels it's her duty to her sister to fight alongside her, even though she longs for a life outside of the hunt. Meanwhile, their friend Silas, a woodsman who has been their neighbor, playmate and fellow hunter through the years, returns from California to join them again in their self-appointed quest.
Yet all of a sudden, more and more wolves are found in their small Georgia town of Ellison, and even more in nearby Atlanta. Why are they coming back in such numbers? They're looking for something, or someone, but what? A determined Scarlett, somewhat reluctant Rosie, and loyal Silas decide it's their duty to find out and hunt them all down. Things get even more complicated when Rosie discovers she's falling for the woodsman, her sister's partner and only friend, aside from her.
This fractured version of "Little Red Riding Hood," narrated alternately by Scarlett and Rosie, has a whole lot of action. From the very beginning, we get to the wolves and the fighting, and it doesn't really stop until the end. Scarlett and Rosie are some pretty awesome butt-kickers—they're deadly with their weapon of choice (Scarlett a hatchet, Rosie daggers). Silas is also someone not to trifle with.
The characters are all believable, though they seemed a little underdeveloped to me. I could see why Scarlett is the way she is, all fight and passion when it comes to the wolves, but a little distant when it comes to people. Rosie is a sympathetic character, someone who feels obligated to a certain way of life because she was saved by the one she follows, yet wants something more. It's hard to judge Silas in the same way, however, since we are never inside his head. I never really understood him completely; it would have been nice to get more information about him, like about his relationships with his siblings (who no longer speak to him) and with his father. But for the purpose of the story we get enough.
My problems with it start from maybe 50 pages in. Yes, there's a lot going on, but I didn't feel like there was any real point or direction in which the story was headed until about halfway through. It just seemed like Scarlett wanted to kill Fenris and Rosie didn't really, but went along with it anyway, and that would be it. It finally all came together, but it took too long in my opinion.
I would also have liked more information on the mythology of the world in which the book takes place. We keep hearing that Pa Reynolds (Silas' father) knew everything there is to know about Fenris, but we don't really hear any legends. Just that they lure and slaughter young women, don't have any souls, and travel in packs. It would have been nice to know more about them. I also got super frustrated with how long it took them to figure out what was going on; but that's just a pet peeve of mine. I hate knowing the answer and waiting for the characters to figure it out too.
Even though there are some flaws in the plot, the main characters are strong and admirable women who don't need a prince to save them, and that always wins points in my book. They're their own people and don't take anything lying down.