Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Source: bought
Buy It: Amazon / Borders / Barnes & Noble

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.

Based on a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson. --Goodreads
Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood, right? Well, in this movie-made-book, the story of Little Red Riding Hood gets revamped. Valerie has always been the other sister. Lucie is everyone’s favorite, but when the Wolf kills Lucie, Valerie’s life will never be the same. Henry is forcing her to marry him (an arranged marriage—it doesn’t seem as bad as it sounds, especially when Henry is the town hunk). But Peter and Valerie are in love with each other (childhood sweethearts, which seems a bit cliché to me). Still, (while all this is going on) the village calls in back-up to kill the Wolf. The Wolf lives among them in human form, when knowledge of that spreads around town, paranoia runs free (“you’re the Wolf,” “No, you’re the Wolf; you have funky eyes,”), accusations are made, and people are tortured. But the Wolf will not be stopped, not until it gets what he wants: Valerie.

This book was just okay. I was expecting greatness, because the movie trailers for Red Riding Hood look gorgeous. But even after reading this book and finding that it was just okay, I am still desperately looking forward to the movie and simply can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I’d have to say, out of all honesty, this book was completely plot-driven. It barely gave me time to breathe. Between making out with Peter, going to Grandma’s house, and talking to wolves, I could NOT put this book down. The plot was fantastic! While I was reading, I kept saying, “This is going to make a really good movie.” But as a book, it needed to slow down and give me some description or something, because as a book it wasn’t working.

The characters were not as good as I hoped they were going to be. There was a small introduction by Catherine Hardwicke (also known as the director of Twilight), where she basically explained her reasons for making this book come to life. She just wanted to add some additional scenes that she couldn’t add in the movie (because of time length, probably) and include back story on some of the characters to develop them more. Sure, there were plenty of back stories, but even after reading, I barely know Valerie at all, or any of the characters, for that matter.

Above all that, the writing style was detached from the story. There was really no description to anything. I still don’t understand the village’s layout (whereas, if I was watching the movie, I don’t think it would bother me that much). The writing style was just not in the zone; it felt like an outsider’s view (and I am not talking about the fact that it is in third person). (But, now that I think about it, I think it would have been much better in first person so Valerie could have told her own story.)

The ending just ended. I really don’t want to give anything away, but for those whom have read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you wished there was something more to the ending, like I do, there is. You just have to go HERE, where they will post the secret last chapter that never made it into the book. So, now I have two things to look forward to: the movie (which is going to be awesome, trailer below!) and the real last chapter!!

First Sentence:
"From the towering heights of the tree, the little girl could see everything."
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, p. 3

Cover: 3
Characters: 2
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 2
Ending: 3
Overall: 3

Rated PG for some scary themes.

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