Red Riding Hood

By Sarah Blakley-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson

This was an interesting book. I was going to post a synopsis but then realized that most people are probably familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. This book, which I believe has come out in advance of a new movie, takes a bit of a grown up twist on the traditional tale.

Valerie and her sister, Lucie, live in the village of Daggerhorn, which is plagued by monthly visits from a werewolf, which they are able to placate by providing animal sacrifices. However, one day Lucie is found dead, the apparent victim of a werewolf attack.

The townsfolk, in their fear and panic, begin looking for someone to blame, and some of the men attempt to hunt down the wolf and kill it – which of course makes things worse.

Eventually a hunter named Father Solomon comes to the aid of the people of Daggerhorn, at the request of Father Auguste, the town’s priest. Father Solomon promises the town that he and his hunters will kill the wolf, and reveals that this is no ordinary wolf; the town is haunted by a werewolf: a villager who takes on the form of the werewolf at the full moon.

The town is thrown into fear and suspicion, causing them to turn on each other. In the middle of this, Valerie is caught in a love triangle with Henry, a well-mannered, well-liked boy in the village, and Peter, a boy from her past who has mysteriously returned to the village in the middle of these attacks.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the twist on the familiar story, and thought it was well-written. The relationships between characters were complicated and I thought the characters themselves were well-rounded. Even Father Solomon, who could have been a one-dimensional character, was motivated by more than he appeared at first.

Valerie was a sympathetic character. I appreciated her rebellion against the life that seemed to have been planned for her and her yearning for more than the village could offer. I thought that her relationships with Henry and Peter were believable and that her actions were in keeping with who she was – at no time did I think she was doing something out of character.

I don’t want to give away much of the plot, but the actions of the townsfolk, under the influence of Father Solomon, become more sinister as the wolf attacks increase and their fear grows, with everyone trying to find out the identity of the werewolf. This culminates in a confrontation between Valerie and the wolf…and I’ll stop there! If you want to know more about the plot, you’ll have to read the book.

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending, because there really isn’t one. I’ve read that the final chapter will be released online, to tie in with the release of the movie next month, and that really annoys me. I paid for an entire book and didn’t get it. Grr.

That said, I would still recommend this book. It’s a quick read, and even with the missing ending, I enjoyed it. I’ve read some mixed reviews, but I say read it for yourself and tell me what you think! I am really looking forward to seeing this on the big screen next month – although I will be waiting until I’ve finally read the last chapter before seeing the movie!

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