Friday, 11 June 2010

Blog Tour: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce Review + Author Interview

Publisher: Hodder Children's
Format: Hardcover
Released: June 3rd, 2010
Grade rating: A-

Amazon summary:

The story of Scarlett and Rosie March, two highly-skilled sisters who have been hunting Fenris (werewolves) – who prey on teen girls – since Scarlett lost her eye years ago while defending Rosie in an attack. Scarlett lives to destroy the Fenris, and she and Rosie lure them in with red cloaks (a colour the wolves can't resist), though Rosie hunts more out of debt to her sister than drive. But things seem to be changing. The wolves are getting stronger and harder to fight, and there has been a rash of news reports about countless teenage girls being brutally murdered in the city. Scarlett and Rosie soon discover the truth, meanwhile, Rosie finds herself drawn to old friend Silas, and the bond they share not only drives the sisters apart, but could destroy all they've worked for.


Sisters Red is the best paranormal book I've read for AGES. Gone are the helpless girls who fall for impossibly beautiful supernatural beings, and in their place are two kick-ass sisters with more anger and resolve than the baddest of the bad. It's a refreshing read that has restored my faith in the genre, and Jackson Pearce has more than secured herself a place among YA's super-talented authors.

Sisters Red is loosely based on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale, and is a modern day retelling with a difference. It's not at all what I expected, which, if I'm honest, was a fluffy fairytale with a wolf murder or two. Instead, what I got was a page-turning, action-filled display of female strength and resilience, with a down to earth male love interest thrown into the mix.

Werewolves - known as fenris - are the order of the day for sisters Scarlett and Rosie March, who spend their lives hunting wolves and preventing them from eating helpless girls. Scarlett's the badass of the two sisters, and reminded me so much of Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Too often in recent fiction the girls are all mopey and reliant on their boyfriends, but not Scarlett. Oh no, she doesn't need a man to keep her going, and she sure isn't scared to walk the road of darkness and danger. If there's a werewolf to be taken care of, she's your girl.

Rosie is similar to Scarlett, but she craves a normal life. She's a fierce hunter like her sister, though she tends to stay with her out of loyalty, rather than a need for wolfy revenge. The sisters team up with old family friend Silas, who knows everything, and is pretty good with an axe. Woodcutter skillz come in handy -- who knew? He's an excellent character, with one major trait that makes him stand out from other YA characters: he's not immortal. He can get hurt, he can bleed, and he can experience fear. Simply put, he rocks.

I was surprised by the dark tone of Sisters Red, as Jackson's debut novel, As You Wish, is about as different as you can get. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I loved the heartbreaking story of these two sisters trapped in a world of werewolves and violence, forever destined to live outside the realms of normality. I would have really liked to see more of Scarlett and Rosie's past, whether it be through flashbacks or personal memories. Their bond is one of my favourite aspects of the novel, and I could have read pages and pages about their early years.

If you think the YA paranormal market has been saturated beyond repair, think again. Jackson Pearce has arrived, and has brought with her a book that's set to make you believe in monsters again. I'm not sure if Jackson has plans for a sequel, but I'm hoping she does. It would be a crime not to revisit these characters, so keep your fingers crossed!


Author Interview: Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red is vastly different to your debut novel, As You Wish. How did it come about?

It honestly wasn’t a conscious decision—the story of AS YOU WISH just happened to be rather light, and the story of SISTERS RED just happened to be rather dark. I did worry about alienating some of my AS YOU WISH readers with a story so much heavier, but hopefully that won’t be the case. Either way, I feel like each story was told the way it needed to be told—AS YOU WISH would have felt fake if I’d tried to make it dark, as SISTERS RED would have felt really fake if I’d tried to make it lighter. There’s just not really a “light” way to fight werewolves!

Why did you choose to write for a YA audience?

Again, I don’t feel like it’s a conscious decision—YA is just the genre I love to read and to write! That said, I feel like teens are the absolute best audience in the world. They feel everything bigger, stronger, and bolder, so it only makes sense that their stories would be emotionally intense. They really attack life, they love without restraint, and they make choices that will last forever. I by no means intend to imply that teens are somehow less mature or worldly than adults, or anything like that—I just think that being a teen is a very unique experience, one I really enjoy capturing on paper.

So basically—I write for the YA audience because they’re awesome, and in comparison, adults are kinda boring.

Scarlett and Rosie are two of the strongest female characters I've come across. Who were they, and their relationship, inspired by?

Scarlett and Rosie weren’t necessarily inspired by any one person in particular, but I think both of them inherited a few traits from me and my sister. My sister and I honestly weren’t extremely close growing up, and it wasn’t until we both got a little older and understood who we were as individuals and who we were as sisters that we began to get along better. Scarlett and Rosie are obviously extremely close, but I feel like they go through similar self-discovery.

Did you help design the fantastic cover, or was that all down to your publishers?

I had nothing to do with the cover—but WOW do I wish I did. I love it so much that I’ve ever considered getting one of the elements tattooed! It was designed by the amazing strawberryluna ( who is not only a talented artist, but a genuinely nice person as well.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming Sisters Red companion novel, Sweetly?

SWEETLY is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel—below is the summary!

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something—maybe a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running to fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of being a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who seems to understand Gretchen and Ansel better than anyone has before.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is with a sarcastic remark, Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. But as Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims, she finds herself wondering who the real monster is.

In a showdown between Scarlett March and Buffy Summers, who do you think would win?

Scarlett, but only because Buffy has that nice, I-don’t-want-to-hurt-you streak in her when it comes to fighting non-monsters. Scarlett doesn’t. But then again, Buffy has super slayer healing powers that Scarlett lacks, so maybe Buffy could just outlast Scarlett? Hm…I don’t know!

What are some of your favourite YA books?

I LOVE Beautiful Creatures, The Hunger Games, and Looking for Alaska, just to name a few. There are so many amazing YA books out there now, it’s hard to not go on for ages!


Alison said...

Little Red Riding Hood is something that hasn't been retold or reinterpreted before in YA as far as I know. I like that the book seems more original. I don't really like the cover though. But I'm excited for the book.

Book Crazy Jenn said...

Great review AND interview, Sweetly sounds soo different than Sisters...I cant wait!

Jami said...

Fabulous review and interview! I definitely want to read this one. A retelling of a fairy tale is just an awesome idea. Thanks Jenny!

Jesse Owen said...

I've loved the sound of Sisters Red since I found out about it - I really enjoy retellings of existing stories (one of the reasons I like Wicked: The Life and Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West which is a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).

Can't wait to read it now!

Erika said...

i haven't read any of jackson's books, but i really want to! they sound great! and sweetly sounds equally as wonderful.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I'm so glad I bought this, it looks amazing. And I love the new layout/background by the way!

Becky said...

What a fab review! I feel like such a dufus for not wanting to review this but I had read some not so enthusiastic ones from US peeps and I figured I had to start saying no to some requests and it seemed a good place to start. I'm a fool! But oh well. Good to hear something original is out there for a change.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

This is all wonderful! And did you say "Buffy"? I believe you did. I'm going to have to read this now... :)

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I read As You Wish first - I thought it was an okay cute type of read. But when I got Sisters Red - HOLY MOLY! Wow. Wow. I think Jackson kicks butt with the darker tones & think you wrote a wonderful review for the book. I love your little touches in all your reviews - it makes them fun.

I'm so excited for Sweetly! That was the first time I've seen a summary for it. I agree. I think Scarlett would kick Buffy's butt. *runs from Buffy fans*

Lauren said...

Awesome interview. I agree with Jackson, adults can be kinda boring. I'm most excited to read so much info about Sweetly here. Having adored Sisters Red, I'm insanely excited about the companion book.

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I loved reading your review and your interview with Jackson! I can't wait to read this one! It should be in the post for me right now, but it's taking it's sweet time getting here!

daphne sy said...

I cant wait to pick this one. I love this kind of stories and I was suprised coz I never thought it's already out. Your blog is simple yet so endearing. . .'kudos':)

daphne sy said...

I cant wait to pick this one. I love this kind of stories and I was suprised coz I never thought it's already out. Your blog is simple yet so endearing. . .'kudos':)

admired by:

Cheap Wicked Tickets said...

Perfect! Reading the preview on this blog,i can't wait to have a copy of this book.

Anonymous said...

This book was perfect. Normally, i dont read romance books. But the twist when they couldnt tell scarlett about (rosie and silas) there love, while also expierencing the stress of an overwhelming population of werewolves, the plot was ingenious! wonderful wonderful BOOK!