26 April 2011

Scarlett and Rosie March Are Officially One of My Favorite Fictional Families

Sisters Red

Jackson Pearce

4.5 Stars

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 ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, 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? (quoted from goodreads)

First Sentence:
"Strangers never walk down this road, the sisters thought in unison as the man trudged toward them."

Sisters Red is (loosely) based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but it is so unique and fascinating that I consider it a tale completely its own. It puts its own spin on the fairy tale and turns it into a compelling, sweet, terrifying, action-packed, gritty, and realistic read. The three main characters, Scarlett, Rosie, and Silas, are all extremely believable, as are their conflicts and relationships. I can understand what each of them is going through and sympathize with them. I root for them no matter what - which can be a problem when their conflicts sometimes include going against each other. The entire book, I was just so torn about the characters' futures, about family loyalties, and about doing what you want. I was emotionally invested in the characters and the issues they faced, so much so that I was devouring the book, totally on the edge of my seat with suspense, as desperate for a solution as the characters themselves (and I loved the ending when it came - perfect for the story).

There are two main relationships in the novel - that of Silas and Rosie, and of Rosie and Scarlett. Silas and Rosie's romance was sweet and I felt like it developed naturally (and there were definitely some sizzling scenes that were totally swoon-worthy!). However, my favorite relationship was Scarlett and Rosie's. They're obviously bound together, by family devotion and by their childhood. Rosie feels obligated to help Scarlett in her mission to hunt down Fenris because Scarlett saved her from them when they were little (and lost an eye in the process). However, she is beginning to realize that there is a different path, one where she can do normal things like take art classes and be with Silas. Scarlett simply cannot understand how or why Rosie would leave the Fenris-hunting lifestyle; for Scarlett, it's her entire life. She would feel utterly betrayed if Rosie quit hunting Fenris, and Rosie doesn't want to hurt Scarlett but cannot deny that she wants something more. Clearly, there is a lot of conflict here, and I love how it all plays out so beautifully and realistically. I found myself crying during one of the confrontations between Scarlett and Rosie - I don't want to give anything away, but their relationship really is fascinating. Having two sisters myself, I can feel what it would be like, from the point of view of both sisters, and that's what makes the conflict so compelling - either way, the sisters are hurt and their bond is never the same. There's this beautiful metaphor used throughout the book, about shadows and light and coming out of caves (I believe it's based on Plato's allegory). I adore this metaphor so much - it's powerful and symbolic and sums up the book's conflict very well.

The quality of Jackson Pearce's writing is simply gripping: fluid, well-paced, and realistic. I read the entire novel in one sitting because once you start, you just get sucked into it and there's no way to put it down - and why would you want to? Scarlett and Rosie narrate alternate chapters, and I thought that each of their voices was really unique and easily distinguishable. Another great point about this book for me was the action, and the fact that the girls are the ones doing most of the a**-kicking. There's plenty of fighting and hunting down Fenris, and both Scarlett and Rosie are strong, fierce, smart, and determined. There is also a considerable amount of suspense involved, which kept me turning pages. However, the mystery is what caused me to knock half a star off of what would otherwise have been a perfect 5 stars. The idea of the mystery is intriguing, but I felt like I figured it out long before the characters did, and I saw the twist at the end coming. It always annoys me when characters are being ridiculously blind and not seeing what is right in front of them, and in this case, I think that they were quite smart enough to figure it out (SPOILER: for those who have read the book, I am referring to the thing about Silas being a ________). I suppose part of it could be due to emotional reasons - not wanting to believe bad things about people they love - but it was just obvious and it kept bothering me.

All in all, Sisters Red is an awesome read. I can't wait to read Sweetly, the next fairy tale remix by Jackson Pearce!

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