Title: Red (Fractured Fairy Tales #1)
Author: J.E. Taylor
Genre: YA/ Fantasy/ Fairy Tale
Favourite Quote: ‘“So you gave the shirt off your back to help a friend?” His bright blue eyes met mine.
“I guess,” I answered.
The dimples in his cheeks toyed with my insides. He stood and crossed to the spot in front of me, his gaze never leaving mine.’
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Ruby ‘Red’ Locklear was eight years old when she watched wolves tear apart her family before her very eyes, only just escaping with her life. Years later, Ruby continues her vow to kill every last wolf she sees being apart of the village elite Dakota Guard, a way to continue her training with her skills with a bow and arrow, she has made a name for herself as the only woman amongst the ongoing war against the werewolves. This reputation has reached further from the village than she realises.
With only her grandmother as her last remaining family, Ruby can’t help but be clouded with fear whenever she leaves for a hunt, never knowing if this farewell will be her last. So when she returns from a hunt to find her grandmother gone after foraging for berries in the forest, Ruby fights down her fear and breaks the law of the village and sneaks out after sunset to find her. She finds herself doubting everything she has fought for when a wolf she confronts on her journey offers to help.
I really enjoyed this story, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The author has included just the right amount of detail from the original fairytale. The colour red; this being Ruby’s hair, the basket; which her grandmother was using to forage for berries, Grams herself and of course the wolf in disguise as a werewolf. Ruby’s nickname ‘Red’ was a nice little feature from Once Upon a Time. Besides that, we’ve got a great individual fantasy tale of mystery, romance and dark terrors that hide within the depth of the surrounding forest of Dakota.
Ruby aka ‘Red’ was told really well being a strong independant fighter after her family was murdered. The determination to keep her grandmother safe is a great aspect of her character as it shows bravery in the face of death when she would sacrifice her life and the rules of the village to bring her home safely. The author has done a great job at keeping grounds with her humanity with how she trembles when she’s scared and her inner thoughts that tell her to run from danger. She isn’t fearless by any means but she’s got the courage she needs to get past the fear that threatens to consume her. Even when her feelings for Lucas being to emerge, they are almost innocent, keeping in mind that she is still quite young at heart whilst becoming a woman.
‘When my gaze landed on the empty spot where she usually kept her foraging basket and gloves, the lump in my throat plummeted. All the heat bled from my skin, and my teeth chattered. She was still out there. I glanced at the dark woods, and a shiver grabbed hold of every cell. The last time I was in the forest at night, my family was slaughtered.’
Gram was definitely one of my favourite characters. Almost 80 years old, she’s a strong and capable old woman who doesn’t rely on anyone to tell her what she is able to do, even Ruby. She’s the heart and soul of the village and ensures that her strong stubborn will is respected in kind. Even when she is injured in the forest, she refuses to give up and stands up for what she believes is right, even if it goes against everything the village has fought against. Gram doesn’t take no for an answer. The hero amongst heroes.
‘Gram moaned and I almost let the arrow sail, but I stalled when her soft voice whispered, “Ruby, stop.”
The wolf’s gaze was neither afraid nor angry. If I read the creature right, it would have been compassion I saw, but I dismissed that as insane.
“Gram, move,” I said through clenched teeth.
“No. Even if I could, I wouldn’t”
All the characters within the story have a well told part to play, from the head of the Guard, Remy with his intense rules and vigorous training, it’s nice to see a kindness in him just under the surface when he accepts the cookie off Red. Of course we need the best friend that has secret feelings for our protagonist . Travis is handsome, clever and will always put Red first. He’s made his intentions known for his feelings for Red which she tries to dismiss or cast off by means of distraction at every turn. He sways in the middle but we know he’ll always be there when she needs him the most.
Don’t forget our new werewolf stranger that’s come into Ruby’s life. Lucas Bayo, with the playful shine in his bright blue eyes, his strong muscled body that seems to always be lacking a shirt to the unexpected gentlemanly behaviour around her as a werewolf.
‘I stepped into the living area, and Lucas was sitting at the table waiting for me. Both our plates were brimming with venison, and a half loaf of bread sat sliced between them.
“Thank you,” I said and took the seat opposite him
“You’re welcome.” He focused on the food in front of him.
For a lone werewolf, he seemed to have impeccable manners. What he finally looked up, his cheeks flared red.
“What?” he asked.
“I’m just surprised you have manners,” I mumbled and cut another piece of perfectly cooked venison. I also did not want to admit to him that he was a better cook than I was.’
The story setting is well described throughout to include all of the necessary features, the darkness of the forest at night with just illuminating eyes of the wolf, the various wolf pelts surrounding their home as a means to protect them from the iron bars and thin mattress within the cells they find themselves in. Little features for short story but enough to really put you in the minds of the character.
I’m looking forward to reading more of the works of J.E. Taylor.
What happens when a werewolf hunter falls for her prey?
Red Locklear regularly hunts all manner of woodland prey, but her favorite kill is the beast that tore her parents apart when she was a little girl.
Now that Red is all grown up, these horrid creatures are terrorizing Dakota Territory once again. As a member of the elite Dakota Guard, Red has a duty to extinguish the life of every last wolf she sees. Failing to do so is a death sentence.
When her grandmother doesn’t come back from a foraging run, Red dons her quiver of silver arrows and breaks town law, heading into the forest after sunset to search for her.
The dark woods test her hunting skills as well as her loyalty to the Dakota Guard, and she’s left wondering if there is any way out of this alive.