- Date published: 7th June 2010
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books
- Format: Hardback, 324 pages
- Series: Fairytale Retellings, Book 1
- ISBN 13: 9780316068680 ISBN 10: 0316068683
- Categories: YA Fantasy
- Goodreads / The Book Depository / Booktopia (AU) / Bookworld
- Source: borrowed from the library
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 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 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 city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?
I love fairy tale retellings, and the cover of this one is so gorgeous I knew I had to read it! Sisters Red is the story of the two March sisters, who have hunted down werewolves after they were attacked by one at an early age.
Eighteen year old Scarlett has taken care of her little sister Rosie since their grandmother was killed in the werewolf attack. She single-mindedly pursues werewolves and kills them in revenge, and expects Rosie and their childhood friend Silas to do the same. Rosie, on the other hand, has never really liked hunting and envies the lives of normal girls (while Scarlett disdains them). I found Scarlett really difficult to like – she has nothing in her life except hunting, and wants the same for the two people closest to her as well. She’s really selfish as well – when she finds out about the burgeoning relationship between Rosie and Silas she reacts really stupidly and makes it all about her.
However, I feel that Scarlett is a more rounded character than Rosie, who almost falls flat because of her constant unhappiness. Since she owes her life to Scarlett, Rosie feels like she should also sacrifice her chances at normalcy and hunt alongside her sister. I love the bond between the two sisters – they know how deep their mutual love and trust is and it’s great to see. The recent death of Silas’ father has seen his siblings turn against him, which is rather saddening and provides a contrast two the sisters’ bond. Once Silas and Rosie declare their feelings for one another the bonds of friendship and sisterhood are tested, but the only constant is the love that Scarlett and Rosie bear for each other.
There are, however, a number of things that disturbed me about this book. The first is the obvious neglect community members exhibit for the March sisters. Although I understand from a plotting point of view why they had to be autonomous, it doesn’t speak well that the adults around them let them drop out of school and basically take care of themselves from such an early age. Another thing is the age gap between Silas and Rosie. She is sixteen and he is twenty-one, and it just seems wrong. It would have been a little better, I guess, if Silas had made attempts at stopping a relationship, or at least voicing concerns that he, as an adult in a position of authority, was acting inappropriately. The final issue is that Scarlett, even while envying them, scorns and berates normal girls for the way they dress, the make up they use and the hobbies they enjoy. It’s more than a little disturbing, and it made me extremely uncomfortable.
The story is engaging and fun to read, but ultimately wasn’t surprising. The big reveal was pretty obvious and it took the trio ages and ages to figure it out! I also like that this isn’t a paranormal romance: the trio are all human and no one is treating the werewolves as anything but monsters. The book is well written, if a little simply, and has a good pace. I felt like the author took the time to explore the plethora of emotions his characters feel at every turn, which is wonderful.
This is the first book I’ve read by Jackson Pearce, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of his series. I think Sisters Red is a good book and those interested in fairy tale retellings will enjoy it especially.