My rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased eBook
Publication Date: September, 2017
Publisher: White Rook Press
Point of View: 3rd Person
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
So I'm currently reading Cassandra Clare's City of Bones in paperback, and I didn't have my copy with me. I wanted something to read that would be quick and fun and not distract me for too long from my main read . . . and this book fit the bill nicely!
I seem to be on a Fairy Tale Retelling kick, don't I? This one was VERY different from the last one, though (Girls Made of Snow and Glass). But also quite good in its way! I enjoyed it.
WHAT I LOVED
I don't read a lot of Westerns, but this book was so much fun! It felt like an old movie (and I noticed that the author dedicated the book to Alan Ladd, so I'm thinking that feel might be intentional!), complete with the classic Western scenery, the adventure, the nostalgia, the horses, the heroes in slouchy hats . . . I could almost hear the twangy banjo music accompaniment. For not being a genre I gravitate toward, it was kind of awesome to dip my toes into it for this short adventure.
This book is based on "Little Red Riding Hood" (obviously), but it's not a magical retelling at all. The basic themes and scenes from the story are all present (with a seriously sinister "wolf" in the mix), but it's written as a straight-up Western, which I thought was clever. The retelling genre is quite saturated these days, so it's always fun to find an author who's got a totally fresh angle on it.
Mary Rose made for a sweet, somewhat naive, often quite dense (but still sweet) heroine, and her love interest, Christopher, is appropriately dreamy. The hero of the story is Hauer, however, who plays the role of "woodcutter." (Oh, and I just realized . . . he's an actual "woodcutter" in the story too! I see what you did there, Ms. Kovaciny . . .) He was great. Interesting backstory, gruff exterior, heart of gold . . . yeah, I kind of loved him.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE AS MUCH
The book was very sweet and very rambling. Not a whole lot happened until the last quarter (which we thoroughly exciting and fun to read). It's all entertaining enough, but sometimes I kind of wondered if any of these scenes were actually going anywhere.
And . . . I hate to say it, but . . . the heroine squeaked. A LOT. It was like a character quirk for her, to be constantly squeaking. And you guys know that is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves in YA fiction, or any fiction for that matter. I just cannot STAND a squeaking heroine, ever, under any circumstances!!!
But I'll give the author credit--much as the squeaking rubbed me raw, I enjoyed the story (and Mary Rose) enough to keep on reading. Which is saying something! (I finally put down the insanely popular Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo because of one squeak too many!)
Final verdict--This book is cute, fun, an interesting twist on the genre, with an action-packed finale. Definitely one to read if you like Westerns, but even if you don't, give it a try for the cleverness of the retelling.
I might have to go read the Five Magic Spindles collection this author was part of before this book. Looks like she has a Western retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" in that one, which is . . . an interesting concept . . .