Sunday, June 6, 2010
Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
A Fenris, a terrifying werewolf creature, permanently scarred and disfigured young Scarlett March when she fought him to defend her younger sister, Rosie. Now teenagers, Scarlett and Rosie live on their own in their late grandmother’s cottage in the woods, killing Fenris whenever they can. For Scarlett, it’s a way of life: she loves nothing more than the high of hunting Fenris.
Rosie, however, is beginning to think that, despite her loyalty to and love for her sister, she may want something more than hunting, especially as she begins to fall for their childhood friend and Scarlett’s hunting partner, Silas. When a Fenris-hunting expedition into Atlanta draws Rosie and Silas closer even as Fenris close in on them, will Rosie’s desire for more destroy the relationship she has with Scarlett, to whom she owes her life?
You thought you knew all there was to know about Little Red Riding Hood and her wolf…well, you were wrong. Told from the alternating viewpoints of sisters Scarlett and Rosie, Jackson Pearce’s second novel, SISTERS RED, is an incredibly entertaining and deliciously dark twist on an old, fairy tale-esque story.
This novel has got many things going for it: strong female characters with great voices, a fully realized and frightening antagonist, and a clever storyline. Scarlett and Rosie are fantastic females who prove that you don’t have to be a tomboy to kick ass. The sister bond is powerful in a realistic way; both of them would do almost anything for each other, and yet there are also the usual tensions one would expect between sisters, of being the same person versus developing one’s own identity.
The Fenris are delectably creepy, a shiver-inducing combination of fantastical monster and your sadly usual male predator. Jackson Pearce develops their mythology well throughout the novel. These are the kind of werewolves that will haunt you long after you put the book down, and I appreciated that the villains of this novel were not cartoonish or overdramatized.
The story I mentioned is clever, albeit occasionally slow and predictable. It builds up to a tremendously satisfying finish, the kind that only the best paranormal authors can pull off without seeming either too expected or out-of-nowhere. A careful reader, however, will be able to pick up the clues as to what will happen way before Scarlett and Rosie do. This by no means detracts from the success of the story and its ending, though I do honestly prefer my books that are able to outsmart me.
Overall, SISTERS RED should not disappoint readers looking for a paranormal action story containing independent females, a sweet and believable romance, and well-developed villains. It’s a unique blend of the old-fashioned (their rural cottage, their cloaks, hatchets as weapons) and the modern (Atlanta, the dialogue, what they wear under their cloaks). I won’t be surprised if Jackson Pearce has a long and successful career writing a variety of YA. SISTERS RED is perfect for a delightful weekend or vacation read!
Diana Peterfreund (Rampant)
Dia Reeves (Bleeding Violet)
Sarah Rees Brennan
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 5 out of 5 - Um, this is like one of the most BRILLIANT covers I have ever seen. The color scheme is simple yet striking, and the hidden image within is just... wow. I would stare at this all day.
Little, Brown / June 7, 2010 / Hardcover / 328pp. / $16.99
ARC received from publisher.