Red Riding Hood is the YA novel based off the new movie coming out - written by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright, based off David Leslie Johnson's original screenplay.
Valerie has lived her whole life in a tiny village where everyone know everyone, and where every full moon the villagers barricade themselves and their livestock inside their homes, leaving but one sacrifice out of doors. This is the way it has been for generations. This is the way they appease the Wolf that otherwise would terrorize the entire village, as it had in the days of old.
When Valerie was only seven, she did the unthinkable and stepped outside one of those dreaded nights, hoping to think of a way to save her pet goat, who was to be that night's sacrifice. That night Valerie came face to face with the Wolf and felt the depth of its evil down to her very core. Since that night, Valerie has always been different from other village girls. She doesn't become breathless at the sight of the town's most handsome (not to mention most rich) boy their age, Henry, or have all that much interest in romance at all.
But then Peter is back. Her childhood friend, whom she had always felt a deep connection and whom had left years ago under a shroud of dark mystery. Suddenly Valerie is slammed with feelings she's never felt before. Intense feelings. Yet before they have a chance to really acknowledge each other's presence, the Wolf attacks.
And this time it is not scheduled. This time it is a human that has been brutally slain.
This time it is Valerie's sister.
The Wolf no longer is abiding by the longtime held customs, and seems to seek Valerie out. But this is a village that does not handle "odd" well. So, Valerie becomes the focus of the townspeople's suspicion, and in the midst of Valerie's grief, she finds herself in danger from all sides.
With Red Riding Hood's disturbing opener, we are introduced to a refrshingly headstrong and independent protoganist in Valerie. There is something kind of cool and gothic about the story and the way it is written - with a definite creepy vibe. Plus, there's a simmering sexiness and barely restrained feeling of danger that kept me interested and ramped up the pace.
One thing, though, was the romance felt superficial, though certainly strongly presented. And at times I felt like the story stalled a bit in the second half and wandered without purpose. However, the question of the idenity of the Wolf was a most intriguing puzzle - and as the village dips into the madness of panic, things really got spooky.
There is something very ominous about Red Riding Hood, as the paranoia drips over everything like heavy, thick, sticky syrup. And the way people became sick with violence and fear was quite effective. But the ending, which is missing and requests the reader to visit a website to read, is a tad disappointing. I was left a bit annoyed, I admit.
But all in all Red Riding Hood was a very good tale and twisted new take on that fable we all know. And I can't help but be curious in seeing it on the big screen. Will you join me in that sentiment? Check out the book!
*I received a review copy of Red Riding Hood from Hatchette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.