Saturday, January 8, 2011

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson with introduction by Catherine Hardwicke

First book read of 2011!

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson with introduction by Catherine Hardwicke

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age: Young Adult
Species: Werewolf, Human
Rating: 3/5
Interest: Red Riding Hood/Red Riding Hood Movie/ 200 in 2011 challenge

The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.

Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her heart beats fast for antother: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After Her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them - it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes... or everyone she loves will die.

 This book is very good in theory, but in execution, it could have been better. The main part of it was the book practically screamed to be a movie and not a book.There's a big difference between movie action and book action. Book action requires a writer to describe everything happening from scene to scene, relying on their words to paint the picture. Movie action relies on the visual to tell the story. There's really no need to describe or speak when the person watching can see it themselves. Red Riding Hood is like the misguided love child of book and movie action. All of the descriptions were vivid, but some parts were hastily constructed. In the end it left me trying figure out what was happening with the visual in my head.

The writing is easy to read, I breezed through most of the pages without noticing. I still felt a little drag in the novel though, like certain parts of the plot weren't progressing as quickly as they could have. However, the wording was very well selected. Each word was chosen for maximum impact and feeling, unfortunately, the end product just wasn't as captivating as I hoped it would be.

The Book cover, on the other hand is amazing. I applaud however designed it because it fits in perfectly with the story and it looks beautiful. So, kudos to Liz Casal for the jacket design (paperback, but has cover flaps) Craig Phillips for the awesome illustration and Jessica Hische for the spectacular hand-lettering.

Hands down, the best part of the book was the mystery and suspense. It kept me guessing and mistrusting of everyone until the end. I don't know if I would have kept reading if I was able to easily guess who the wolf was. SPOILER:  Even though it doesn't matter because in the end they still don't say who the wolf is. And the website the book says to go to for the ending was taken down. END SPOILER.

I was happy there was finally a relatively popular YA book not centered on romance. (Even if booksellers are pushing it like it is.) However, I feel Red Riding Hood was the wrong novel to cut the romance from. Almost everything in the book was hard, fast, or impulsive to the point that a bit of tenderness and romancing might have made a wonderful contrast.

Overall Red Riding Hood was a good novel. It simply didn't fulfill my expectations. This is probably the one and only time you'll  hear me say, "I hope the movie is better." For fans of horror, suspense and easy reading, this is your book. Even mystery lovers might get a big kick form it, but typical paranormal YA readers might not be thrilled with it.

Teaser Lines: There was nothing to do but wait. The Wolf would come for her.
But then what?

Happy Reading,

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