Thursday, February 25, 2016

ARC REVIEW: Red -The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

The True Story of Red Riding Hood
by Liesl Shurtliff
4/5 stars 

I'd like to thank NetGalley and Random House Kids for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The third book in Shurtliff's series of 'True Story' novels, RED is just as fun and enjoyable as RUMP and JACK.

In this story, we get to skip back to Rump's old village where his old friend Red has been getting by without him, though she does wonder where he ran off to. After JACK, it's fun to jump back into the part of the world Rump came from. It offers up a lot of questions as far as the series. Will we see Rump again? Is Shurtliff leading up to something? In the future, will we see these separate story lines start to connect on a grander scale?

These questions fuel my excitement for these novels, but for now they remain unanswered.

Red is a tough, spunky young girl, who doesn't need anyone looking out for her and doesn't mind telling you so. Also told in the first person, this was a very easy book to fall into because of Red's spirited narration, especially once she crosses paths with the flighty Goldie who's determined to be friends.

Granddaughter of the Witch of the Wood, Red is strong with magic. Maybe too strong. Where her grandmother is a powerful and competent witch, Red has a hard time making her magic work right. Spells she casts have a tendency to blow up in her face and she's vowed never to use magic again. When her grandmother gets sick, Red resolves to find her a cure.

RED offers us a chance to explore the magic of this world and how it works, as we watch Red struggle with the magic within her. Despite her vow to never use magic again, the magic still exists inside her, giving us an interesting look at the world through its magic.

As expected, Shurtliff not only puts a twist on the classic story, but she manages to cross its path with unconventional elements from a handful of other stories as well, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow White, and -my personal favorite- Beauty and the Beast. This gives further credence to the prospect that we may one day see all these stories merge on a bigger canvas. We already have proof these fairy tales are interconnected; the question now is how interconnected?

Along her journey, Red finds personal strength and growth in a satisfactory and engaging story. She will also be faced with a much more serious and mature topic than Shurtliff has heretofore taken on -accepting death of loved ones. Red's goal of finding a cure for her grandmother quickly becomes fixated on finding a way to beat death, because she can't ever imagine a life without her grandmother in it. This is a very heavy topic to take on in middle grade, but Shurtliff handles it well. She doesn't sugar-coat the reality of losing loved ones, but she manages not to depress us at the same time. The book is made all the better by the inclusion and handling of this genuine dread.

A great addition to Shurtliff's name, kids -and overenthusiastic fairy tale fans like me- are going to love it just as much as the first two.
Check out my reviews for RUMP & JACK
Rump: The True Story of RumpelstiltskinRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the BeanstalkJack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews 

Have you read RUMP or JACK?
What fairy tale do you hope Liesl Shurtliff tackles next?

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