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Book Reviews
January 13, 2011 posted by Christina

Sisters Red – Jackson Pearce

“Countless teenage girls have been brutally murdered…and Scarlett and Rosie March know how they died – torn apart by werewolves. For Scarlett, the memories of a similar attack have left not just emotional scars, but physical ones. The sisters fight side by side to save others from the same fate.

But Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend – but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

When we were young we were told the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

She went into the forest to visit her grandmother. Poor granny had already met a wolf though and was eaten right up – whole. When Red encounters the wolf at her grandmother’s house pretending to be human, wearing her clothes, Red is moments away from sharing the same fate as her granny. Luckily, a woodsman swoops in and saves Red and her grandmother….

… but what if he didn’t come in time?

It’s from this thought that Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red is born.

After a brutal attack by a Fenris (a soulless werewolf) when the March sisters – Scarlett and Rosie, were only young, their lives were truly devastated. The attack claimed the life of their beloved Grandmother and left Scarlett heavily scarred and missing her right eye after she took on the monster to protect her younger sister.

Now that they know the truth about what the Fenris are the sisters have dedicated their lives to training, fighting and killing as many of them as they can find.

The hunt has consumed Scarlett ever since the attack, giving each monster a taste of what they did to her and her grandmother. Rosie is a skilled fighter also but craves for something more than blood and revenge. When their childhood friend Silas comes back to town, Rosie feels an undeniable pull, and maybe, just maybe, Silas feels it too.

I was initially looking forward to reading this book but unfortunately I was left a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I would’ve felt differently about the book if it wasn’t for the fact that I haaaaaated Scarlett.

To be fair, Pearce crafted the characters quite skillfully and I truly understood where each of them where coming from, but it doesn’t mean I liked it.

To Scarlett’s credit, she was a fierce fighter who cared deeply for her sister. It just seemed like she probably needed to go into therapy after her attack because in the years after, her scars (Scar-lett, get it?) left her with terrible insecurities as well as a major case of neediness and fear of abandonment by the people still in her life.

Now those definitely aren’t reasons to dislike a character, it was more Scarlett’s never ending need to hunt, and then guilting her sister into doing the same, which made her come off as selfish despite the hunt being for the greater good. I have a feeling Scarlett’s brain would be something like this –

Hunt hunt hunt hunt ROSIE hunt hunt hunt hunt FOOD hunt hunt HATE FENRIS hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt.

It was all she ever wanted, all she ever did, all she ever talked about and heaven forbid you wanted to do anything else.

Since Scarlett saved her life, younger sister Rosie has felt that joining in the hunt alongside Scarlett is her way of paying her back, despite the fact that she struggles to share her sister’s bloodlust. As her feelings for Silas grow (who I liked but his reasoning for liking Rosie in the first place was kind of….strange) , she slowly breaks away and finds that there’s more to life than just hunting, and when it’s something as beautiful as love, it can only be denied for so long.

The blurb on the back of the book gives way too much away (this review includes a non spoiler blurb) which made the plotline predictable at times and kind of drag in between. There’s plenty of bone crunching, blood splashing action during the hunt scenes, particularly in the dramatic ending, but it also felt like it was hunt scene, after hunt scene, after hunt scene.

It would’ve been nice if the Fenris were better explained – why are they a secret? Scarlett and Rosie don’t exactly benefit from no one else knowing about them. Also, why are they only after the pretty, sparkly “dragonfly” type of girls as their meal choices? Do they taste better? It’s kind of an odd message to send – if you’re not super attractive you wont be “eaten” by the big bad wolves.

Ultimately, Sisters Red is a dark and interesting take on a classic fairytale. Though I wasn’t crazy about it, I know there are plenty out there who loved it, for some it’ll be a hit, others, a miss.

Pages: 344
Publication Date: June 2010
Publisher:  Hodder
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★½☆☆

Teaser Quote: “I swiftly grab my hatchet off the ground.

The girls scream. They clutch each other. Their eyes are wide and terrified, streaming with tears.

“It’s gone,” I say. I see them scan my body, look at the scars that cover me and the hatchet in my hand. I don’t know what else to tell them. Their friend is dead.”