by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.
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.
Why I Picked this Book: I saw the movie preview. It looked good. So, of course, I just had to read the book first.
Red Riding Hood pulled me in. Then let me go. Then pulled me in. Then let me go. I would hit a spot where I wanted to keep reading, then directly after I would throw the book down and declare that I can't read any more. I have such mixed feelings about this book I almost didn't post a review. But you know I couldn't do that.
First off, I do like the idea of retelling fairy tales. Some people have argued that its just taking another's work and adding a bit then claiming the reward. To me, it's taking the great inspiration of a story, then creating your own world around it. Voila. More magic in a world where magic is dying.
That being said, I had such a hard time getting a handle on this book. Valerie, the MC, felt slightly bland to me, only sparking to life near the end of the story. Her "friends" frustrated the heck out of me, her parents didn't seem fully real. The only character that really intrigued me was her Grandmother, who you barely saw. And Peter, who appeared and disappeared so much I began to think he was a magician.
As for the POV, it frustrated me. While 3rd person does give the author more liberty to switch to other characters, I just don't think that it is a good idea to do it almost every other paragraph at times. That is most likely the reason that I had a hard time connecting to Valerie. One second you are following her. The very next you are reading about how her friend thinks she brings all the boys to the yard, the next you are in the head of the boy obsessed with his tarot cards, then hey, back to Valerie!
Like I said though, I did get pulled in. The story, it turns out, is about a werewolf who is attacking this small village every full moon. It usually took animal sacrifices, but now, it's taking humans. And Valerie is at the center of it. It became almost impossible to guess who the werewolf was. It seemed the larger antagonist became Father Solomon, a "God-fearing" man who has come to kill the demon. Yeah, who isn't afraid of those guys? This is a dark story. Darker than I expected.
Don't get me started on the ending. You know that loose ends bug me. What's worse? And ending that doesn't feel like an ending? I'm sorry if this somehow spoils something for you... but I got the end and kept flipping through the back pages, looking the missing true ending. It bugged me!
While the world building was mostly believable, and while I could picture the book quite easily... I just don't know what I think of it. I was disappointed. There, I said it. The main reason I picked up this book was because I like to read the book first, if I can, before seeing the movie. In this case, I am looking forward to seeing the movie and hoping it somehow redeems a large chunk of this read.
I have been battling which rating to give this book. I am going to settle with a 3, based solely on the world building, the crazy religious man, and the fact that it DID pull me in... most times. Just for your knowledge, it was very close to getting a 2 star though. Hopefully you can enjoy this book a smidge more than I personally did.
(3 out of 5 stars)