Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Summary from Goodreads:

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?

First off, let me say that the Prologue  had me absolutely hooked. It tells the story of a very young Scarlett and Rosie, living with their grandmother, when a werewolf (which they call "Fenris") wandered into their neighborhood and attacked them inside their home. Since then, the sisters decided to dedicate their lives to hunting wolves and saving the innocents. It was a big scary showdown at their house, with the grandma coming between the girls and the wolf. It was suspenseful and gripping and a really solid origin story of how they came to be hunters. 

Second, having sisters myself,  I love the idea of sister hunters. I love their names, Scarlett and Rosie both of which are tied to the color red. I love that Scarlett takes the role of the  protective, bad-ass, eye patch-wearing, hunting obsessed sister. She is literally and figuratively the scarred girl. While Rosie is on the opposite end of the spectrum. with her being the pretty one who loves rom-coms and bakes cookies and the one who longs for a life outside hunting more than her sister. At one point though, I got a bit bogged down because Scarlett just seems too fanatical in the later part of the story and Rosie just pines for Silas (the woodsman's son, and Scarlett's hunting partner) a great deal. There was also something contrasting about her wanting to have a solo hunt, so as she can be taken seriously as a hunter, during the first part of the book, and then suddenly wanting to have a non-hunting life in the second half. Don't get me wrong they were great characters, but a little more character development would have made me like them even more than I already do.

The plot was exciting enough to keep me reading, but it was a bit patchy but only because of personal preference I think. There are slow moments. Sometimes the werewolf hunts tend to loose it's danger and excitement perhaps because it gets a tad less realistic. There are times when the plausibility of them not being mortally wounded after facing off a dozen wolves just seems, well, too impossible, especially when they have limited and crude weapons. A knife here and there, a hatchet, an ax. That's about it. But I understand, it's the Tarantino route, of having your lead characters posses an extraordinary ability to come out of a gruesome rumble, unscathed. So yeah, I get the appeal of it. But I think I enjoy those in my movies and not so much in my books. Also I was hoping for more Werewolf/Fenris lore. What makes a "potential" werewolf? How did these wolves even came to be? Why only feed on young ladies? I want history. I want a deeper learning of their nature. I do love my lore and myths.

But just as their are slow moments, there are really great exciting events in the mix as well. There are things that I thought will turn out to be a full blown cliche only to prove me wrong in the end. Those were great. I enjoyed the employment of the ticking clock scenario technique and the epiphanies of Scarlett as well. I also enjoyed the fact that this is a story that isn't just about hunting about also about the pains of growing up, experiencing jealousy, and self doubts, and young love, and about finding your purpose in life. 

The whole story could have been made more complex. But all in all, it's a fun read, and a nice fresh take on Little Red Riding Hood. It's imaginative, entertaining and easy to get into. It is a quick read too, just as a fairy tale would. I will definitely read more of Jackson Pearce's retellings. I have my eye on the Hansel and Gretel retelling and The Little Mermaid one too. And now that I think about it, this is probably be my first "urban" fairy tale retelling and it got me excited enough to explore this sub genre more. Recommendations are welcome.


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