Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reading on a Theme: Red Riding Hood

In celebration of Rosamund Hodge's fantastic sophomore novel, Crimson Bound, out on May 5th, we have brought together a group of novels that retell, reenvision, and reimagine the Red Riding Hood story. We never get tired of fairy tales over here at Intellectual Recreation. Plus, don't their covers look amazing together? All those red cloaks. (They kind of creep me out. In a good way. See why.)

The Baby Sister:
Petunia was little more than a baby when she and her eleven sisters were forced to dance night after night in the kingdom under their castle. The wicked King Under Stone was destroyed, but there are new dangers lurking in the silver wood--wolves, grannies, and a new King Under Stone. Princess of the Silver Woods concluded the Princesses of Westfalin series beautifully. I enjoyed seeing Petunia as a nearly grown woman and I enjoyed returning to the Kingdom Under Stone. This is one of my favorite retellings of Red Riding Hood because Jessica Day George cleverly uses the basics of the original fairy tale while weaving in aspects of Robin Hood.
The Assassin Sisters:
Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red is a retelling where the Red girls are like Buffy, the woodcutter is a good-looking young man, are there are lots and lots of wolves. Oh, and they are evil and soulless, by the way. After a Fenris attack that kills their grandmother and leaves Scarlett terribly scarred, Scarlett devotes her life to fighting the Fenris, and drags Rosie along in her quest for their annihilation. I liked the idea. I like the cover. I liked the fairytale prologue a lot. However, the twist wasn't all that surprising to me, and I wasn't really feeling the love story either. I seem to be kind of talking myself out of a good review, but really, at the time, I thought it was okay.

The Forest Creature:
Remember last year when everyone was crazy about Rosamund Hodge's debut Cruel Beauty? Well, Crimson Bound is even better! Rachelle Brinon has always known that the forest holds danger. Marked by a forestborn, she is now a bloodbound and no longer quite human. Several Red Riding Hood tales recast the title character as a kick-butt fighter, but Rachelle is my favorite of the bunch. At once both prickly and vulnerable, her relationships with the other two main characters, Armand Vareilles and Erec d'Anjou are incredibly complicated. I loved the vaguely seventeenth-century French setting, and the way the details are woven into the plot really impressed me. Crimson Bound is out May 5th, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The Sci-fi Pilot:
Each book in Marisssa Meyer's stunning Lunar Chronicles is a sci-fi retelling of a classic fairy tale. Scarlet is the second in the series and it is, of course, a retelling of Red Riding Hood. Scarlet, with her red hoodie, is tough and awesome (and with a fabulous French accent). Wolf is a very nuanced character. One thing that I love about the Lunar Chronicles is that with every new book we get new characters and a new fairy tale, but we don't leave the old characters behind. Rather, the new characters continue to propel the plot forward, and, in this book, help uncover the mysteries that lingered from the first in the series. Truly one of my favorite series, I'm so excited to see how it all turns out in the series finale, Winter, that comes out later this year.

The Practical One:
Isabella Beauchamps' life is changed when she's bitten by a wolf in the woods. She is carted off to the home of Duke Sebastian where she discovers that he is the wolf who bit her the night before. She is stuck in his castle until the fairy godmothers can be sure she did not become a werewolf herself. My favorite thing about Mercedes Lackey's world is the magic called the Tradition. It is a force that tries to make everyone's lives follow a fairy tale story line. I found myself wishing the Tradition was introduced earlier in the book, but that may not have been an issue if I had read another of her books first. I enjoyed Beauty and the Werewolf's combination of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, even though the title and cover put me off at first.

Princess of the Silver Woods and Beauty and the Werewolf reviewed by Paige.
Sisters Red, Crimson Bound and Scarlet reviewed by JoLee.

More fairy tale retellings: here and here.

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