Thursday, March 3, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Based on the screenplay by David Leslie Johnson

Pages: 329

Publisher: Poppy

“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.”

"Once upon a time...there was a girl, and there was a wolf."

Yes, this is the book behind the thriller Red Riding Hood. Well, actually this is the book based on the screenplay of the movie. At first I was a bit skeptical about this book. A book based on a screen play...ugh. But then I read the book, and OH MY GOODNESS it is so good. The main character is engaging, the premise entrancing, and trust me when I say that they don't make plots more exciting than this one. This novel is charged with an air of mystery and suspense that kept me flipping pages as fast as I could. This is not your grandmother's little red riding hood.

Valerie, our "Little Red", is a strong female protagonist (which I absolutely L-O-V-E) who leads us into a world steeped in fear, superstition, and utter...epicness. (Yes I have just used that word.) The raw feel of the world with its twisted, scared characters and its dark impenetrable depths just sends delicious tingles through your mind. It draws you in, slowly, inch by inch, until you are completely absorbed in the story. The village of Daggerhorn is a scary place. (Though nothing can scare me more than the world of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. A world without books...the HORROR!) Still, the wary nature of the villagers tends to rub off on you a bit - I do not recommend reading this in your yard at night. Trust me when I say that the neighbors gigantic hairy dog will scare you senseless. This, obviously, is because the novel centers around one very big, very hairy, very scary werewolf. This is most definitely not one of those versions where the wolf ends up running a muffin shop with Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother, (by the way, I've read this version and like it very much). I don't think I've ever read a reinterpreted fable darker than this one, and believe me when I say that I read a ton of them. Now, don't let me scare you off. This novel may be dark and creepy and gory and...anyway, it also has romance! Who can't resist a good love triangle set in the middle of a bloodbath, right?

Now on to the downside (you just new that was coming, didn't you?), this novel doesn't have a proper ending folks. That's right, in an attempt to milk you for every cent they can, the geniuses behind this trap finish up the book with "Is this truly the end of Valerie's Story? Visit to find out". Guess what? When you get to the site, there is nada, zipo, zilch more story. So looks like I'm gonna be heading to the movies pretty soon...

The big picture: Red Riding Hood is a surprisingly good novel with some definite entertainment value. You’ll be fine as long as you don’t mind it when people mooch money off of you (which I do mind, but hey…)