Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red By Jackson Pearce
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister, Rosie, from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and a blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt that her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Scarlett's only friend, Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax. But does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?- Sisters Red Cover flap
I have to say, before any type of book review can take place; that I LOVE this book cover. It's eye-catching and so wonderfully simple! Plus, it represents the story very well. Red obviously has a large significance as this story vaguely resembles Red Riding Hood. The black and white also plays a large part in perceptions and judgements. All around, it's an amazing cover!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is a fractured fairytale. Where it has elements of the original Red Riding Hood hatchets, red cloaks, wolves, woodsmen, hunters, but is set in modern times, with a very different plot. The book has a strong story, even if it didn't have the "little Red Riding Hood" / "Little Red Cap" gimmick. Scarlett and Rosie definitely have enough presence as characters to make anyone forget about the original kid's tale.

Sisters Red is written from 2 points of view (Scarlett's and Rosie's). Since they're sisters I worried if the voices would be too similar or their opinions so seamless, that switching points of view would be unnecessary. Pearce completely shatters those notions however, with two separate and defined characters. However, still entwines them to the core with their unconditional love as sisters. It's a realistic and sometimes heartwarming  portrayal of sisters and their bonds, just strained by pretty unordinary circumstances.

In the book Pearce changes between the views of a vengence-seeking Fenris killer obsessed with the hunt to a sister who wants so much more, but is afraid to leave her sibling, the other half of her heart. It's eerie how seamlessly Pearce switches between the two. It feels like someone with Scarlet's mindset could never begin to think like Rosie and vice versa, but Pearce does it nearly flawlessly. Almost to the point where I want to ask her if she has multiple personality disorder. ;)

Here we have a unique interpretation of  werewolf types. The "wolves" are called Fenris. They're attracted to red (color of lust and rage), smell like rot when they change, can't control the change well and are eerily respective of the number 7. Fenris are obsessed with potentials, special boys or men who will become blood-thirsty Fenris with only one bite. The problem is they can only be bitten if, the man is a 7th son of a 7th son, on a year when they are a multiple of 7 (7, 14, 21, 28) after their birthday. It's a little bit complicated and very rare, so any time theres a whiff of a rumor that there is a potential, every Fenris pack will on the loose looking for him. It's an odd mythology for sure, and having them so vicious does make them a little one-demensional, but it plays into the story...gruesomely.

Describing Scarlett, Rosie and Silas as characters is a little difficult. Rosie is the heart of the book, she feels, she regrets, she cares about everyone. The kind of girl everyone wants to know. Scarlett is... pardon the gross anaolgy, the ribcage. She protects Rosie with everything she has, sometimes to the point of being cumbersome, but she still holds almost all of her sister together. Silas is connected them both, enhances and strengthens them both, but sometimes serves as a wedge between rather than a partner. All characters are engrossing with many aspects to their personalities. They draw you in and keep you reading.

Pearce's writing is lovely. She gives a fairytale feel to the book, but still keeps it in modern context. I'm not quite sure how, but she's able to lure me into this feel that everything is serene, calm in her her book and 2 minutes later I'm freaking out over some suspenseful moment. It's pretty thrilling for a Young Adult novel.
This book, at it's core is all about choices, as most YA books are. The choice to protect someone you love, the choice to leave and be someone different, the choice to keep a promise when you know it will destroy someone you care about. All of them shape Scarlett and Rosie as characters, some in less noticeable ways, but others change their whole life. Pearce actually ends up expanding on this theme by also exploring regret and what-ifs as well. Even though every thing Scarlett has done has been to protect people, sometimes she wonders what would happen if she hadn't chosen this life. Rosie loves her sister but sometimes regrets the choice to spend her life fighting monsters when she craves more. This indecision doesn't make them look weak or wishy-washy. It makes them look human and forces them to re-evaluate their priorities, people in general need to do.

To make it short, I loved this book and eagerly await Sweetly, Pearce's next book. (Modeled after Hansel and Gretel, and also has a spectacular cover.) Every avid YA paranormals fan should read this book, well unless you really, really love werewolves. Then, I might take it with a really big grain of salt, maybe rubbed in a wound. Gore-sensitive readers might want to skim some parts, but it's not overly violent.

Read it. Please? It's amazing. :)

Teaser line: "Matching memories swirl in their heads, memories of running through the grass and spinning in circles and holding each other in the garden, memories where they lose track of who is who and they begin to feel like a beautiful, golden link connects them. A single, shared heart."

Book series order: (But can be read separately, in no order)
1. Sisters Red
2. Sweetly (Released August 23rd 2010 in the U.S., date subject to change)

Happy Reading,
-My Summer Girl

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