Title: Red Riding Hood
Author: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright & David Lesley Johnson
Rating: 3 out 5
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 wild heart beats fast for another: 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.
I was a bit disappointed with this book. From the synopsis and the cover I had this feeling that it was going to be a great read, but it wasn’t. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I did. But all the time I was reading it, I kept expecting something to happen that was going to elevate the story from good to great. And it didn’t.
The writing was good and there was a lot of suspense. I was so tempted to go back and read the last few pages, but thankfully I didn’t. Had I known the ending, I would have never kept on reading the rest of the story. And that would have been a shame, because it was a good story. I never could have guessed the identity of the Wolf. I mean, I had had my suspicions about certain people and this feeling that the Wolf was male, but I had never expected the Wolf to be who it was. I was absolutely sure about who it wasn’t and at the same time I had no idea who it actually was.
Apart from that, there were other things I liked in this book. For example, I liked the depiction of the evil side of the clergy. The evilness of hatred. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all clergymen are evil, of course not. My great-grandfather used to be one and he was one of the greatest people I’ve ever had the honor to meet. What I’m saying is that there have been people throughout history, that have committed evil deeds in the name of their god(s). There have been clergymen who have used God to excuse actions driven by prejudice, hatred etc. So I like that this book shows this side of the clergy, because it instills in its readers the kind of skepticism that is necessary when dealing with the faithful of any faith.
Also, I liked that there was a range of different characters in this book. There were good people and there were bad people, but everyone had their flaws however good they might have been. I thought that this made them all more realistic.
The plot was inspired by the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but they have very little in common. What I mean is that, even though the inspiration for this story was taken from Little Red Riding Hood, it was obvious that this was another story. It’s not a retelling in any way. Yes, after reading the book, you can spot the similarities, but that’s it. These similarities were more like clues insinuating to the inspiration for this book than anything else. And I liked that. I liked that this was a unique story. So many authors use classic stories as the baseline for their books and, without adding enough of their own imagination, they make poor copies of the original stories. Sometimes they don’t even change the characters’ names. That’s why I rarely enjoy fairy tale retellings. Really, what’s the point of reading a book, when you already know exactly what is going to happen?
On the other hand, I’m sick of the stereotype of the Bad Wolf. Couldn’t the Wolf be just another person, another tormented soul that has a very good reason for his/her very bad actions? Someone who has never been taught how to do better? Why does the Wolf always have to be the villainous villain?
What’s your opinion about fairy tale retellings? Do you like them? Did you like this book? And what’s your opinion about the Bad Wolf? Tell me in the comments… 😉
You can get your copy of Red Riding Hood here.