Rose and Scarlett March survive a horrific attack by werewolves in which their grandmother is violently murdered. The girls experience life with a different filter than most others, and from an early age are saddled with the responsibility of slaying Fenris – werewolves- wherever they find them.
Though Rose would like to experience things exactly as her sister Scarlett, and would like to be an expert at killing Fenris, the sixteen-year-old, too, longs for a life beyond death and werewolves. The arrival of Silas, a neighbor friend and fellow Fenris slayer, who is back in town after a year of travel, shows promise in breaking Rose out of her sheltered existence. He also threatens to sever the bond between the sisters when old friendship cast in a new light, gives way to burgeoning love.
Sisters Red is a thoughtful, creative and wonderful re-imagining and aftermath of Little Red Riding Hood. The heroines are knowledgeable dedicated to their chosen line of work and at the top of their game, while still dealing with the growing pains and insecurities that come with being a teenager. Grandma may not have made it, but feisty Scarlett has not lost an eye in vain, and she is devoted to making sure that no Fenris is ever able to get near her sister again. She also has the razor sharp focus of a survivor that renders her a single-minded and deadly opponent who won’t stop to examine and heal heal her own wounds enough to allow anyone to get close.
The novel explores heavy themes of the scarring of the psyche, and humanity that is lost or forever altered in the wake of horrific violence. The sisters each have their peculiar burden to carry and debts to each other because of their different exposure to and remembrance of their grandmother’s death and the werewolf attack. It is also an exploration of identity, and what it means to start to grow away from and assert yourself against the person who has always been more a part of you than not. The sisters have a touching relationship and it is easy to see why Scarlett would be so protective and why Rose would chafe under her smothering concern.
I also like that there is an element of mystery underlying in the novel, and the action and fight scenes are dynamic and exciting. The wolves are all gathering and fixating on the hunt for someone who is very special to each of their tribes. Scarlett, Rose and Silas have to figure it out before all of their problems with the Fenrisgrow to be much worse, and they have to figure out relationships that grow strained while each if them is struggling to create a new identity.
I was absorbed in this novel, and made quick work of it though I had people staying with me at my apartment, and I was in the midst of BEA. That should give you an idea of just how engaging a read this is. My only issues with it were the convenient lack of adult figures complete with somewhat implausible explanations for how they lived alone for so long, and the 5-year age difference between Silas and Rose. At sixteen, a twenty-one year old is pretty up there – and that none of the characters mentions or thinks about it for even the tiniest second was a bit sketchy to me. I think most will be fine with it, but even as a teenager that type of relationship would have bothered me and at least warranted a single comment, even if in in passing. Beyond my few quibbles, I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing take on an old classic, and am looking forward to more from Jackson Pearce.