Bonnie's Reviews > Sisters Red

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
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's review
Dec 29, 11

bookshelves: young-adult, 2010-books, fairy-tales, vampires-werewolve-zombies-oh-my, ya-paranormal
Read in October, 2011

I thought that this would be a more straight-up fairy tale remix. Instead, this is a mixture of real world and shadows of fairy tales. It’s set on an alterna-Earth where elements of fairy tales coexist with the modern world. There are wolves who eat grandmas—they’re werewolves known as Fenris. There are little girls in bright red cloaks wandering through the woods—it’s Scarlett & Rosie March, and they’re hunting the Fenris. And there’s a handsome woodsman—though, in the end, it’s the girls in the red hoods who have to save him (though he does quite a bit of fighting himself).

I really liked the three main characters in the book. First, there’s Scarlett, who defines her whole life by the Fenris attack that marked her face and took her eye. She thinks she’s different and separate from others (besides Rosie and Silas, of course) because of her scars and her missing eye. Of course, it’s really because she lives for the hunt. She thinks she has to be a huntress. But, really, she wouldn’t want to be anything else. Even if she hadn’t been marked by the Fenris, she would’ve still been out relentlessly pursuing them as soon as she learned they existed. It’s what she’s born for. Still, she pushes everyone around her to be as dedicated to the hunt as she is and is angry when they aren’t. She can’t understand why they don’t want to spend every minute of every day at it. She’s addicted and a crusader - in an almost amoral way (she seems to care less about saving the victims than getting the kill).

Then there’s Rosie. She feels like she owes Scarlett her life, and between that and her intense sisterly bond with Scarlett, Rosie chooses to submit herself to Scarlett’s will and give up her own dreams/ambitions for her sister’s. She feels like wanting to be “normal” is a betrayal and makes her an awful sister. This makes her feel really guilty a lot. She’s sweet and good-natured and much more easy going than Scarlett, which could make her look weak. But even though she’s the baby sister, she can handle herself in a fight. She also feels inadequate next to Scarlett, who is faster, stronger and more dedicated.

Lastly there’s Silas, the handsome woodsman. He’s brave and decent and understands Rosie’s devotion to family and is conflicted between his love of Rosie and not wanting to betray his friendship with Scarlett—he doesn’t want to hurt her, and he doesn’t want to create tension between the sisters. He’s also nicely self-sacrificing, making Scarlett promise to kill him if he turns (and being willing to die so he won’t become a monster).

I like that a lot of this book was about the relationships between the characters and the intense inner conflict. The trio is reaching a crisis point that they will either work through or it will destroy them. Rosie and Silas are falling in love, which threatens to destroy the group dynamic, and Rosie is starting to want other things than what her sister does, and with the encouragement of Silas begins to take tentative steps toward the life she wants, not the life she thinks her sister wants for her. When Scarlett discovers Rosie/Silas, she almost made the dip to the dark side. She could've run Silas off or let him die, which almost certainly would have turned Rosie into the same ruthless Fenris-slaying machine that Scarlett was. Luckily even Scarlett isn't that dark.

I will say that the amount of angsting got a little trying. That part could've been slimmed down. Otherwise, I really liked it.

P.S., I realized that “Scar” is short for “scarlett” –unintentional irony? Or purposeful in-joke by the author? No wonder they called her Lett…

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