Publisher: Little Brown
ARC ISBN: 9780316080057
Source of my copy: From the publisher for review
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
I was very excited to read this book because 1) I fell in love with the cover and 2) it was the first time I was going to read a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I am happy to say that Sisters Red did not disappoint. I love the clean and simple prose of the author and the alternating first person point of view between the two sisters. I felt I really got to know their thoughts and feelings and was able to connect with both Rosie and Scarlett in a way I couldn't have if only one of the sisters are narrating.
The story began with the first attack that opened the young girls' eyes to the existence of the Fenris (aka werewolves). Not only did they lose their grandmother that day, but Scarlett (the older sister) also lost her right eye and gained a whole lot of scars marring her face defending her little sister Rosie. Fast forward years later, Scarlett's whole life is now hunting, luring and killing the Fenris. I was quick to side with Scarlett early in the book--as the older sister she is tough, loyal, independent and fiercely protective of Rosie. But as the story goes on, readers will see that she's also demanding, obsessive and a "my way or the highway" sort of person that you almost want to hate but then she shows her vulnerable side, her insecurities, her fears and she becomes this sympathetic character you really feel for. Then there's Rosie who is the opposite of Scarlett but an exceptional hunter herself. She wishes for a life besides the of hunting Fenris but feels obligated to her sister, who saved her life when they were younger, to stand by Scarlett's side. Rosie finds herself falling in love with Silas, a young woodsman and Scarlett's hunting partner and best friend but she knows this love can tear her and her sister apart. Rosie is a likable character and you root for her find the courage to step out of her sister's shadow and to live her life with her love.
This book is filled with tension, action and quite violent (lots of fighting scenes and blood!) but it's also filled with sisterly love and bond and friendship. I really like the whole idea of a "single, shared heart" between the sisters. There's actually a lot underlying themes to this book like finding your self identity, familial obligation and knowledge and responsibility which makes it an absorbing read. The romance between Rosie and Silas (who is a "nice guy" hero by the way) is really sweet and believable. The final battle scene and the ending was well-done with no loose ends which makes Sister's Red a satisfying read. 4.5 out of 5 stars
FYI: Sister's Red is out in stores now and is the first in a series of companion books. The next book is called Sweetly (2011) and it's a modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Check out the author's blog for more info.