Buy Sisters Red
Special $11.49 (Regular price: $16.99)
Publisher: Little, Brown Co. (US) & Hodder Children’s Books (UK)
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.