Friday 24 April 2020

Book Review - Sisters Red

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Series: Fairytale Retellings (Book 1)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 7 April 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1444900606

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?

My Review
I bought this book years ago as I always have a bit of a soft spot for fairytale retellings and this was clearly a bit of a twist on Little Red Riding Hood. However it was another book I never got round to picking up at the time. I was looking for a quick read, so I grabbed this one, I didn't know it was part of a series, but I don't have the others so it was a stand-alone to me. (The series is different fairy tales so they don't directly link anyway).
The book follows sisters Scarlett and Rosie March, sisters who witnessed a horrible attack on their grandmother when they were kids, the grandma was killed and Scarlett got severely injured and lost an eye, but she managed to kill the wolf and protect her sister. Turns out the wolves are 'Fenris' a type of werewolf who can transform whenever they want and prey on young girls, enjoying the chase and creating fear before eating them. They operate in gangs and can be identified by small tattoos on their wrist - arrows, coins or bells are the main groups. There is a sort of rivalry between the groups as they fight to be the biggest and strongest group. But now there is a new 'Potential' - someone who can be transformed into one of them and the groups are coming together to find who it is so they can transform him during the new moon phase. 
Scarlett has now decided to dedicate her life to hunting and killing the Fenris, to her hunting them is everything, she doesn't have a job or any hobbies and certainly no relationships because hunting consumes her 24/7. The only person she cares about is her sister Rosie and she switches between wanting to protect her and keep her safe, to wanting Rosie to join the hunt and put herself at risk hunting the wolves. 
I found Scarlett a really annoying character, she is completely obsessed with the hunt and the world of the Fenris that she blocks out everything else, including normal human emotions. She also admits that she can't reveal the world of the Fenris to everyone as it would expose the danger and the 'fantasy secrets' (not entirely sure why it had to be a secret, other than its a fantasy setting and thats what they do), but she then commented on how stupid people were and at times almost hints that the girls deserve to be attacked because they entice the wolves/men - They are ignorant of what they are doing because they don't know the Fenris exist, but Scarlett blames them for being attacked. 
She is also very controlling over her sister. Rosie dropped out of school to help her hunt and isn't allowed any hobbies or dreams of her own. Rosie does not want to hunt, but feels obligated to her sister who constantly reminds her that it is her 'duty' to fight as she knows the truth. The poor girl just wanted a life of her own.
Then we have Silas, Scarlett's best friend from childhood, and her partner in the hunt, he had disappeared for a year but now he's back and ready to rejoin her and Rosie, but he also doesn't want to just hunt, he's happy to do it every now and then, but he wants a different life.
The group dynamic works quite well and i liked Silas as a character, but Scarlett just dominated everything with her one track mind. And the big 'reveal' about who the new 'Potential' would be - as soon as it mentioned there was one I knew immediately who it would be, it just took over 150 pages for the rest of them to work it out!
The actual storyline was ok, it developed well enough and moved at a reasonable pace, I read it in two short sittings and was interested enough to continue, but I wasn't blown away by it. I found most of it very predictable, Rosie was very weak and I kept waiting for her to step forward and fight for herself instead of for her sister. And Scarlett was self-absorbed and annoying. 
I liked the concept of the Fenris, but would have liked maybe a bit more information on how the groups worked and how the transformations were engineered. Also they are all going crazy for this new 'potential' because they all want to recruit more members, but the situation only comes round  at specific times - it has to be someone from a certain lineage who's birthday is a multiple of 7 during the specific moon phase that's happening. They've been hunting this 'potential' for the last 14 years! -  that's a long time with no new wolves - so you would think that they would have notices Scarlett, Silas and Rosie going round and killing members long before the  events of this book. Over the few years they have been hunting, Scarlett says she has killed 97 wolves and is upset that she hasn't managed more. But 97 is quite a big number when there is only one new one every 7 years!!! But they had never questioned disappearing members before now. Weird!
Overall, it's an okay read and fairly simple, but to me there are a lot of little problems and plot holes that don't quite add up and Scarlett was so unlikable, I kept reading because I quite liked Rosie and Silas and was interested enough to know what became of them. If you want an easy read and you like Fairy tale twists then you will probably enjoy this book. But it just didn't wow me. 

My Rating

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