In Part 1 of this series, we explored the meaning of Little Red Riding Hood and a bit about its origins. If you missed it or want to refresh your memory, you can find Part 1 here.
Little Red Riding Hood is a tale so rich with meaning and archetypal imagery, it begs to be reimagined and retold. Two such stories are Kait Nolan‘s Red and Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red. Both novels draw us into the world where the Wolf is very, very real.
Red is the story of Elodie Rose, a 17-year-old girl who fears she will fall into the violent madness that has cursed her mother’s line for hundreds of years, and Sawyer McGrath, angry 17-year-old boy who is mourning the loss of his mother and carries his own dangerous secret. As the two cautiously grow closer to one another, they discover a grisly crime and find that they must outwit a madman before it’s too late.
Sisters Red is the story of the March sisters, 18-year-old Scarlett and 16-year-old Rose. When they were very young, a Fenris, soulless werewolves who love to prey on pretty young girls, devoured their grandmother and nearly killed them. Scarlett fought the Fenris, losing one eye but saving her sister’s life. Now, Scarlett lives to hunt the monsters. Rose is bound to her sister by love and duty but longs for a normal life. When Scarlett and Rose discover that the Fenris are after a man with the potential to become another Fenris, they travel with their childhood friend Silas from their hometown to the big city to stop the wolves’ numbers from growing.
The Wolf, central to each story in a different way, is a powerful image. It can be ravening monster or misunderstood creature. It can be a trickster, leading innocents astray so that it can devour them. It can be supernatural or natural. But it is always a shapeshifter and therefore shrouded in darkness.
Kait Nolan’s Wolf is a natural creature, a human able to transform into a wolf not because of a bite but because of genes. No more supernatural than red hair or brown eyes. The Wolf is potentially dangerous but only if it does not have the balance of a mate-bond or parental guidance. Sawyer, raised by parents who knew what they were, understand this but Elodie, cut off from her Wolf heritage, knows only the destruction that the transformation can bring.
Jackson Pearce’s Wolf is much darker. A mark, known only to other Fenris, makes an ordinary man into a Potential, one who can be transformed into another Fenris under certain conditions. Once the Potential is bitten, he begins to lose his human soul until he is no more than a savage beast who delights in terrifying his victims, especially innocent girls.
And just as the Wolf has both a beast and a human aspect, so do these stories talk about both the monster that lurks within and what it is to be human and how we share that humanity with one another.
Scarlett and Rose are as different as night and day but they once believed they were one person with a single heart. Their love for each other carries them through the darkest times but also has the potential to strangle both of them.
Elodie and Sawyer have each lost a vital part of themselves. Elodie’s loss is compounded because the Wolf blood that runs through her veins is seen as a curse. Sawyer, still learning to adapt to his transformation, carries a tremendous rage inside him. Together, they find healing and understanding, not only for themselves but for their parents.
Both stories explore the bonds of love and family, how they tie us and blind us but also how they save us. How they can bring out the beast in us or allow us to accept ourselves completely for who we are. Both stories talk about how we are more together than we are alone. We are parts of a whole.
And, perhaps, there’s a little Wolf in all of us.
How do you see the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood? Misunderstood shapeshifter or monster? And what about family/love bonds? How do they make us more together than we are apart? Or do they?
The 100 Posts Celebration giveaway wrapped up last Wednesday. When I started, 100 posts seemed like a million. Now it’s hard to believe that milestone’s come and gone. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and all of my readers. It’s been a wonderful journey so far. I’ve learned so much about writing and about community. You guys have been wonderful teachers and I’m looking forward to the next 100 posts and the next.
The winner (selected via the neat-o Random.org List Randomizer) is CM Stewart! Congratulations and a ginormous thank you!
The Life List Club Milestone Party is coming up September 23. There will be tons of giveaways and the chance for us to check in and talk about our Life List goals. So don’t touch that dial!
Happy New Year !!! by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0