The Girl in Red
Writing - 9/10
Development - 9/10
Overall - 9/10
User Review( votes)
Author: Christine Henry
Book Format: Paperback
From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a post-apocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.
It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.
There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.
Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
The Girl in Red is the latest twisted fairy tale from the mind of Christina Henry. If you’ve never heard of her before, Christina Henry is best known for taking tales and twisting them into something new and original. She’s altered works such as Peter Pan (Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook) and The Little Mermaid (The Mermaid) .
This time around, she’s focusing on Little Red Riding Hood. But you’ve never seen anything quite like this. The Girl in Red is a survival horror and post-apocalyptic novel all rolled into one, with added embellishments along the way.
The story follows Red, a teenager who likes to be prepared for the worst. That’s probably the reason she’s outlived most of humanity. That, and her lack of trust in her fellow beings. Red survived what many adults around her didn’t, all while avoiding the traps of the few survivors left to be a threat to her. Meanwhile, all Red wants to do is make it to her grandmother’s isolated cabin in the woods. She should be safe there.
The Girl in Red was amazingly dark and convoluted. I’m a fan of Christina Henry’s works, and I was still surprised by some of what happened in this novel. She managed to weave so many elements into one tale. At some points it stopped feeling like the twisted retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and a unique telling of The Girl in Red.
The plot itself was both detailed and somewhat convoluted—in a good way. There were so many twists and turns to follow. The dark tone of the novel combined perfectly with some of the more graphic events that occurred in Red’s story.
Christina Henry did an excellent job at keeping the tension building up over the course of the novel. It helped that she kept jumping between two points in time; one that we could consider the present and the other that was set slightly earlier. Not really before the apocalypse occurred; more like the events that got her to this point.
I’ll confess that there were times where all I wanted to do was get back to one point in time or the other. The constant tiny cliffhangers were agony at times. But they did keep me invested in the story. So I’m oddly grateful.
The pacing in The Girl in Red was solid—it felt like there was always something happening. And if not, then there was the rising tension of something being built towards. No matter what was happening, we knew that Red’s journey wasn’t over. Not until she saw the smoke from her grandmother’s cottage. And even then…
It did take a little bit of time for Red to grow on me. She was so determined and driven that there was almost no room for anything else to shine through. But moments here and there let us see her true character—and that’s where she really shines.
The addition of secondary characters helped us to get to know Red. Both the good and the bad. But that’s to be expected when it comes to surviving after the apocalypse. For what it’s worth – Red’s character is incredibly strong. She survived what so many others did not, and she had less to start with than some. And it was all because of the way she prepared and looked at every situation.
Honestly, I was a bit surprised when this novel ended. It wasn’t abrupt, not really. More like it felt like there was so much more of Red’s tale that could have been told. But then again, with this sort of setting, the plot could have just kept going on forever. So maybe it’s for the best that Christina Henry cut it where she did.
The Girl in Red was an intense and brilliant read. Its twisted nature led it down a dark path, but in doing so it became something new and different. I actually love that this novel hardly felt like the classic and almost over-told tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
There were so many elements mixed into this novel; I think that some people (like myself) will absolutely enjoy that about this novel. Others may not, depending on how busy they like their books. Personally? I’m looking forward to seeing what tale Christine Henry warps next.
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