Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sisters Red: A Review

Jackson Pearce returns with her second modern fairy tale: Sisters Red.  Scarlett and Rosie March are the unfortunate Little Red Riding Hoods of this tale, but they pack a punch.  Literally.  In this new take on the classic tale, Pearce delivers two heroines who aren't afraid to bite back.

When their grandmother is attacked and killed by a Fenris (the big, bad werewolf), only eleven year old Scarlett is left to defend her sister.  She loses her eye and innocence in the battle, and a life-long vendetta begins.  As the girls grow in the care of their woodsman neighbor, they learn the tricks of the trade of Fenris hunting and make friends with Silas, the woodsman's youngest son.

Time passes and hunting is the only life the girls know.  At eighteen Scarlett is ruthless, unforgiving and persistent:  determined to fight until every last Fenris is dead...or she is.  Rosie is her partner, fighting alongside the sister to whom she owes her life.  But things change when Silas returns from a year long sojourn in San Francisco:  little Rosie March doesn't seem so little anymore.  The two embark upon a romance that threatens to rip the seams of the sisters' bond.

Sisters Red is a novel that hinges itself on the idea that a magical world can coexist within our own while we continue on unaware.  The sisters and Silas live deep in the forests of the south.  They are cut off from most of the world and set apart by their knowledge of an evil that lurks just under the skin of harmless looking men.  Pearce enshrouds the trio in secrecy, keeping them separate from normality, and then moves them into city as the hunt rages on.  The effect is brilliantly defined lines of the magical reality and facade of average life.

The book moves fluidly, careening into action and gliding into romance as Scarlett and Rosie alternate narratorship.  The sisters provide two archetypal heroines for readers:  one a warrior maiden and the other fiercely loving.  The tale's only flaw lies within the magical way in which the girls are able to sustain wounds.  I found doubt mingling amid the elegance and beauty of Pearce's storytelling when Scarlett and Rosie were completely undaunted by deep slashes and raging fires.  These girls see a lot of blood, much of it their own, and in some cases the fighting theatrics were a bit overdone.

Still, this is not a book to be missed.  It is captivating, gripping, and fully satisfying at its conclusion.

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds really interesting! Definitely something I'll need to add to my pile!


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