Sisters Red – by Jackson Pearce

Just finished reading Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.  To quote the description from Amazon:

“The story of Scarlett and Rosie March, two highly-skilled sisters who have been hunting Fenris (werewolves) – who prey on teen girls – since Scarlett lost her eye years ago while defending Rosie in an attack. Scarlett lives to destroy the Fenris, and she and Rosie lure them in with red cloaks (a colour the wolves can’t resist), though Rosie hunts more out of debt to her sister than drive. But things seem to be changing. The wolves are getting stronger and harder to fight, and there has been a rash of news reports about countless teenage girls being brutally murdered in the city. Scarlett and Rosie soon discover the truth: wolves are banding together in search of a Potential Fenris – a man tainted by the pack but not yet fully changed. Desperate to find the Potential to use him as bait for a massive werewolf extermination, the sisters move to the city with Silas, a young woodsman and long time family friend who is deadly with an axe. Meanwhile, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas and the bond they share not only drives the sisters apart, but could destroy all they’ve worked for.”

Sisters Red takes it’s inspiration from the classic fairy story Little Red Riding Hood but instead of one little girl there are two and instead of one big bad wolf there are packs of werewolves (Fenris) who hunt and eat pretty young women.

I really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons.  I liked the way the author managed to work in a number of references to the original story – starting in the prologue – where Rosie tells a gentleman visitor “you have weird eyes” to which he replies “The better to see your lovely faces with” and continuing throughout with a number of other subtle parallels. I liked the two sisters and the fact that the story was told in their alternating voices.  I thought this allowed you to see how their relationship started to change as the story developed.  And, I loved the fact that the werewolves, even though terribly handsome, were not likable creatures at all.  They were just plain, nasty monsters.  There was no conflict in them about what they were doing, they didn’t fall in love with the beautiful girls they stalk, they are soulless.  There is no way that you are attracted to these creatures, apart from the inital lure of the physical attraction they turn into grisly, smelly matt coated animals with yellow teeth and eyes and guttural voices.  The stories of the fight scenes were also really well told, unflinching and bloody.

I really liked Scarlett in this book.  She’s tough and unflinching if a bit demanding on her younger sister.  As the book progresses I actually felt really sorry for her.  Not because of her scars but as she realises that her sister is starting to pull away and they are no longer the strong unit they once were.  Rosie, is a likable character, or more to the point I don’t think you could dislike her.  She is sixteen and although she tries to be like Scarlett she is conflicted.  She wants more of a regular teenage existence and she is feeling a very strong attraction to their childhood friend Silas.  Undoubtedly it is easier for Rosie to want normal things as she doesn’t carry the terrible scars that to a certain degree make Scarlett an outcast but she does carry an enormous amount of guilt that Scarlett gained those scars protecting her.  In a way I wanted to shake them both.  It wasn’t Rosie’s fault that Scarlett was scarred – it was because of a Fenris attack after all, and, even though Scarlett was protecting Rosie wasn’t she also protecting herself?  Plus, Rosie needed to be a little bit more upfront.  She felt guilt over Scarlett but she needed to develop a bit more of a backbone and stand up for herself (although she does come into her own a bit at the end).  At the end of the day you can’t live your life how someone else wants you to because your true self will come out evenually.

Personally, I probably could have done with a little less Rosie, although the relationship between her and Silas was integral to the story I suppose.  I would also have liked this more if the settings had been darker – although I suppose this is a YA novel and so that restricts how ‘dark’ the story can really go. And, not really a criticism but more a word of caution – there are obviously elements of the story that don’t bear too much examination – such as the girls living by themselves, or running around in red capes in this modern day setting – but I like to take all this with the same pinch of salt that you use when you are in fact reading a fairy story.  After all, nobody really questions these stories too deeply do they – how on earth can pigs build houses, do wolves really talk, could a girl really grow her hair so long and strong that it would be like a rope for a prince to climb up?  Come on!  Really!  Anyway, we’re reading paranormal so if you can believe that Fenris roam the night gobbling up unsuspecting girls then the smaller details are beside the point aren’t they?

I would have no hesitation in recommending this story and I will definitely look out for No.2 – I think Scarlett could definitely carry a story in her own right (and I don’t mind admitting I would love for her to meet an equally tough love interest/hunter herself!)

Rating -A

Sisters Red

Sisters Red


3 Responses to “Sisters Red – by Jackson Pearce”

  1. Nikki-ann

    I’m glad you enjoyed Sisters Red. I bought it last summer, but somehow I’ve not yet got around to reading it. I really should, especially having read your review!

    • lynnsbooks

      I know what you mean. It took me a long time to come round to reading this one.

  2. Once upon a time…. they all lived happily ever after. The end. |

    […] Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce – this is a werewolf story that takes in the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.  Very entertaining with nasty, smelly werewolves. […]

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