The 100 Books Project: Red.

“Whatever demons haunted him retreated so that, when he looked up at me, his face was no longer menacing. It was just heartbreakingly sad, marked by the kind of loss that scars a person. I knew it because I saw the same expression in the mirror every day.”

<Red by Kait Nolan

Since a lot of my thoughts on epublishing were changed and shaped by following Kait Nolan’s blog, I knew that one of the first books I needed to get for my ereader was Red. She was finishing it up and working on getting it published when I started in on this adventure and joined up with A Round of Words in 80 Days, and my intrigue was definitely piqued. A twist on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale with werewolves. What could go wrong?

Nothing, really. The story switches between the perspectives of our two protagonists, Elodie Rose and Sawyer McGrath. They’re both werewolves, only the ways they have been raised into their werewolfdom has been incredibly different. Elodie has come to see hers as a curse, passed down to her from a long line of werewolf women getting knocked up and killed off before the age of sixteen, while Sawyer comes from a long line of werewolves just trying to keep their animalistic nature under the radar. Despite Elodie’s own attempts to remain unnoticed and uninterested, Sawyer is drawn to her, an attraction she naturally tries to reject because of course hormones are going to call up the wolf inside of her. It turns out to be a good thing, though, once it’s revealed that someone has been following her….someone intent on killing her, to satisfy a vendetta against her family that has been going on for centuries.

The more I think on Red, the more I enjoy it, though I can’t say I was entirely blown away. I definitely liked what Nolan was doing with this interpretation; I just felt that it could have been a little bit more. And while the parallels were certainly there, I wished there could have been more throwbacks to the Red Riding Hood mythos. It’s great that Nolan doesn’t bludgeon us with evidence that this is an interpretation, but sometimes I was left feeling that the connections were incredibly loose. There’s a nugget of the original story in there, but that’s about it. I would have liked more of the life Elodie has lead since discovering the curse, to help make the strength of her isolation even more profound, and I was constantly distracted through the first part of the book by Sawyer’s constant insistence that he was nothing like other certain sparkly supernatural stalker love interests despite his actions pointing to the fact that yeah he kind of was. Sorry, Sawyer….

My favorite part of the book, though, comes somewhere toward the middle, once we get past all that teenage anguish of trying to deny their feelings for each other, and Elodie and Sawyer have escaped into the woods. There is a brief moment in time where it’s just the two of them, and they’re accepting who they are and how they feel, completely free of the pressures from the first end of the book and without (much of) the danger from the second end. A lot of times, when dealing with a romance in a book, I’m a natural cynic and very rarely do I feel that the author effectively sets up the attraction between these characters who are just so driven to each other. That was how I felt through most of the book, by no fault of the author, because when we get to this scene, I definitely had a realization of, “Okay, now I get it,” and it was lovely.

I can’t say Red blew me away; I can say I enjoyed it, would probably read it again, and would definitely be interested to read more about these characters. I would have loved to have gotten to know the characters a little bit better before the plot started to take off, and I expected a lot more Red Riding Hood and a little less Twilight-with-just-werewolves (which I hate to say, but, hey, Sawyer brought it up first!), but still a great read.

Books Read: 6/100.

I have two new people to welcome to the blog today, too! Well, maybe. I got a message saying D.J. Lutz was following my blog, but I thought he already was, so maybe wordpress is just being futzy again. Either way, D.J. has always been awesome to me so it never hurts to give him a shout-out. But I do know that Dennis Langley is new, because he returned the favor of me following his blog! Good to have you both aboard!


  1. Red actually DID blow me away. It was one of the best books I read in 2011. Everyone is different in what they expect from a book. If everyone was alike, we would all read exactly the same things and the world would be SO boring. And there would be fewer books. LOL

    Great review, L.S.! I like how you share your thoughts on your 100 books.

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