Sisters Red

4816987556 cd8ef246c8 m Sisters RedBuy Sisters Red
Special $11.49 (Regular price: $16.99)
Publisher: Little, Brown Co. (US) & Hodder Children’s Books (UK)
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on July 22, 2010
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When you’re 11 years old, there are sometimes events that occur that change the way you see the world from that day forward. For Scarlett March, this was the year that she stood in front of a vicious Fenris to protect the innocent life of her little sister Rosie, ended up losing her eye, and becomes horribly disfigured in the process. She may have been a little girl before the attack began, but by the time it had begun, and most certainly after it was over, the veil of innocence was forever removed from both of these young girls’ eyes. Sisters Red is, to be sure, a werewolf novel, but it’s also about what it means both to have knowledge of evil and to be one of two sisters (whether the younger or elder). If you’re one of two sisters or you just want to read a great novel, you can’t go wrong with this one.

It’s the third day of Werewolf Week here at YA Book Shelf, and for the first time, I get to present you with a review of a book that goes above and beyond its paranormal foundation. I heard a lot about Jackson Pearce‘s latest novel SistersRed (her second in the US and debut in the UK) through Twitter and Goodreads, but it wasn’t until I had the chance to check out the book trailer that I started feeling the tingle of full-on excitement about reading it.

If you read my site regularly, you know that I’m a great fan of the Gothic novel (and this one certainly qualifies), but the fact that this is a novel about the relationship between two sisters told in each of their perspectives made it that much more intriguing since I’m the eldest of two sisters myself. Some people like mother-daughter literature and others like the image of a father, but for me, it is sibling rivalry and deep bonds between two sisters that really means a lot. When accompanied by the alternating voices of both Scarlett and Rosie March, Pearce permits an unusual vantage point for this relationship. Anyone with either an older or younger sister will be accustomed to having a clear and singular perspective on the world. It is a testament to the author’s gift as a writer that one cannot help but feel for both characters, even when their opinions differ widely.

Taking ideas and motifs from ancient Greek philosophy, Norse mythology, Gothic literature and the western fairytale tradition, Pearce searched far and wide to create the world of this novel. Often times readers criticize the borrowings and reshaping of different texts, but I think Sisters Red, and what the author accomplished with it is a prime example of why this opinion is flawed. Stories have always been used and reworked until the result is unrecognizable in many ways. By re-imagining the possibilities of Little Red Riding Hood, readers get to see a couple of strong and capable young women, who don’t need men to rescue them (whether they want them to do so or not) as they can hold their own against some of the strongest Fenris. Moreover, despite what was said on a Good Morning America segment, women can get into the action scenes just as easily as they fall for the romantic parts. While the former are fast paced and exhilarating, the latter scenes almost make you wish that Silas’ perspective had also been written (almost, but not quite).

All this to say that Pearce’s efforts at melding various texts makes each and every one of the them shine a little brighter and thus, gives lovers of the originals the chance to love something else. Moreover, Sisters Red had the power to elicit emotions in a way that usually only novels with more serious subjects are able to do. This novel has a bit of everything, which makes it more than a perfect summer read; it’s just a great novel for any time of year.

4810645659 7b37926cb3 Sisters Red

  5 comments for “Sisters Red

  1. July 23, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I am working on my review for this one right now as well. I loved it, for all the reasons you mention it and more. I wasn’t sure I would but was more than pleasantly surprised.

  2. July 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I like Gothic novels, so the trailer appealed to me, but I didn’t know it would be more than a spooky tale. I almost started crying at the end, and if I hadn’t been in public, I would have without a doubt. It made me miss my little sister a lot, and at the same time, I recognized that though we’re 8 hours drive away from each other, and just last year, we were actually about 17 or so hours away by plane, that we were still fully and completely connected with each other.

  3. August 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I agree. The latter part of the novel does make you want to hear from Silas.

    I enjoyed the relationship between sisters. I can relate easily because I have two- more so, I am the middle. I am used to being the younger and the older sister. With that said the narration btwn the sisters were perfect and believable.

    I will admit that I have more of a connection with Scarlett. As you know from my review I am dying to dive more into her story. Overall, I appreciate the loyalty among the trio- and that’s why I was even more sad at the end- *tight lips* No spoilers from me!=)

    Thanks for linking. I enjoyed your review esp your comment on why some opinions of reshaping text is flawed.

  4. August 14, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Thanks for your comment on my review, Chas! If you are the middle sister, then it’s true that you would have a unique perspective on being the older and younger one at the same time. I had never thought of this situation, partially because I only have one sister and partially because the novel itself contains only the two sisters, so you’ve opened my eyes further than they had been before.

    I didn’t state this in the review, but I tended to have more of a connection with Rosie than Scarlett, even though in reality, I’m the older sister and have sometimes tried to protect my sister when we were little (though not against someone who wanted to kill us, thankfully). Perhaps this is because my sister has occasionally said that I act like I’m younger than she is. That said, I do see where you were coming from with being sad at the end. It made me sad AND happy because I liked the idea of a sister bond connecting the characters, no matter what the circumstance.

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