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It's been an extremely long time since a book has really grabbed my attention fully like Scarlette has. Despite the amount of books that I've been dying to read, I've found them all somewhat letdowns because they never really met my expectations. When I got into Scarlette, I of course had high expectations for this one because a horror retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (which in itself is already a horror story. Grandma eating, much?) had to be good, or else I was flunking it. Thank goodness that Scarlette defied my expectations and blew me away!
The book immediately starts off with Scarlette and her grandmother encountering the wolves in the forest. Instantaneously, the book sets its pace with a strong beginning that isn't slow nor uneventful. Scarlette's life is extremely difficult with an abusive mother, lecherous employer, her grandmother gone, and the whole town blaming her for the wolf attacks. One of the greatest strengths of this book is Scarlette herself. She is such a strong and fierce heroine, not one of those bratty, selfish ones, but a true heroine. Sure, she made many mistakes; however, she at least regrets her mistakes, and tries to make up for them.
The love triangle is formed between Scarlette, Francois, the woodcutter, and Louis, the nobleman, is a quirky one full of gives and takes. In some ways, I wish it was a bigger focus in the story line because I loved seeing Francois being awkward, but in other ways, I wished that it didn't exist because Scarlette never really has me truly rooting for her with either of the two. It's not like I disliked both guys of the love triangle, I just felt like none of them truly belonged with Scarlette at certain points. Thankfully, by the end, I was totally able to accept Scarlette and *beep* (his name is not a curse word, just saying), but for the first half of the book, I was a little puzzled by Scarlette's feelings toward the two guys.
As a dark retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Scarlette took many liberties with the plot, completely changing many aspects of the story to make it even more gory, as I've already mentioned. The mystery and climatic build-up was fantastic! I could literally feel the tension rolling off the pages as the story uncovered the many intricacies that the original tale was unable to grasp. Secrets were extremely well kept to shock the reader as the truths were being unveiled. I was surprised by a number of the twists quite surprisingly, which is extremely rare when the YA genre is gradually decreasing in originality.
I'm telling you all right now, you need to give Scarlette a try. The plot is so well-paced, the characters are well-defined caricatures, and the writing hypnotizes the reader. My only true complaint is the ending, which is a little rushed. While reading this book, I found myself trying to refrain from reading it too quickly, but just couldn't. Fine, then my second complaint (I know, I lied) is that Scarlette is too short for its own good, (yes, I am greedy) but otherwise this is an amazing fairy tale retelling that intermixes historical fiction with the paranormal without cliches, spellbinding its readers.
Angie @YA Novelties