Book: Red Riding Hood
Author: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
Published: January 25, 2011 (by Poppy, a division of Hachette Book Group)
The first line: “From the towering heights of the tree, the little girl could see everything.”
In this rehashing of the famous children’s story, teeth are bared, blood is spilled, and lives are upturned, forever changed. I was quite excited to read this book after talking to Sarah via Facebook and learning more about it. Hachette generously sent me a copy of the book to review (which in no way affected my honest review below), and a copy to give away to you, my loyal readers!
Here’s a brief description of the book from the publisher:
Valerie’s sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henri, 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 werewolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But 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. [From Poppy]
Needless to say, the story has all the right ingredients for a gripping tale: a blood-hungry wolf lusting for an innocent girl, a race to discover this deadly town mystery, a flustering and forbidden blooming love. And for the most part, the story does a good job at crafting a compelling narrative. I read the book quite quickly, enjoying the descriptive and graphic action scenes, reveling in Valerie’s desire to be with Peter, the boy she should learn to forget. I was intrigued with the plot, raced through page after page yearning to discover who might be the wolf.
So what’s my problem with this book? Why have I procrastinated writing this review for months? Let me tell you:
When I finally got to the last chapter, the high-tension one that the story weaves up to the entire book, the sheer lack of information disappointed me. There is no closure, no tying up, no wrapping up of the story’s entire plot thread. Now, it would be one thing if the author decided to leave the ending (and hence the whole book) open-ended. I could deal with that, although cliffhangers are sometimes frustrating. I would have sucked it up and been satisfied with not knowing, with the unknown.
But that isn’t the case at all. As it turns out, in the edition I read, the book ends without its final chapter. Instead, there is a note that reads, “Is this truly the end of Valerie’s story? Visit www.redridinghoodbook.com to find out.”
At this point, I was mad because I felt manipulated. Still, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and went to the webpage to read this so-called ending. But what did I find once I got there? The final chapter and my satisfying closure? Not even close. I discovered that I couldn’t even read the final chapter until two weeks time, when the film version was being released in theaters.
This gimmick completely shattered and changed my entire view of the story. And it’s truly a shame. I think it’s really unfortunate for Sarah, who is truly a talented writer with a promising future. It’s unfortunate for readers like me who enjoyed the book until the “last” chapter. Hopefully, this tactic will never be used again.
Overall, I wish I could separate my enjoyment of the first 99% of the story with my disgust with the 1% at the end. The book is actually very entertaining and is a fun read, but reader beware, you will need an internet connection to actually “finish” the story!
But as with everything in life, you should form your own opinion of the book. I’d still say it’s worth reading. If you’re interested in discovering for yourself what all the hubbub is about, enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of Red Riding Hood! There will be one winner (US only).
1. Follow the blog via Google Friend Connect (GFC is on the top of the right sidebar)
2. Leave a comment below with the GFC name you use to follow and any extra entries (and links)
For Extra Entries, you can:
1. Subscribe via email for +3
2. Tweet about the giveaway (MUST provide direct link) for + 3
3. Share on Facebook (please provide the direct link) for + 3
4. Blog about the giveaway (provide the direct link) for + 5
The giveaway is US only and will end on May 7, 2011. [This giveaway has ended]