Review: Red Hood

Red HoodRed Hood by Elana K. Arnold

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image by @chez_colline (IG) 

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING.

Reasons you should read this book:
– You’re a feminist
– You like fairy-tale retellings
– You like paranormal fantasy x YA
– You like strong, empowering women (of all ages) including the heroine
– You like speculative fiction and/or allegories
– You like calling out misogyny!!!!!!
– You like standalone fantasy novels

There are so many unique features of this book, namely it’s narrated through a second-person voice (ie ‘You wonder why your boyfriend didn’t say something’). It’s really really really cool. It thoroughly gets you into Bisou’s (that’s the main character) world.

This book took 40% to establish what the mysterious paranormalcy was. Honestly, I think it would have been better to establish this element of paranormalcy earlier in the novel, and then give more time to explore the current lore of this secret world. But that’s not what the point of this novel is about, it’s more of an allegorical way of explaining the tendencies of men/wolves.

If you don’t understand what this book is about (from its blurb), here is my poor effort of summarising (and clarifying) the story: Bisou is a high school girl. Her mum’s dead, and she lives with her Nana (called ‘Mémé). Bisou is ‘in’ with the popular-ish crowd, but only because her boyfriend (James) is with the cool jocks. They go to prom/homecoming/whatever American’s hold parties (sanctioned by school!?!?) are called. Later, after they leave, Bisou is in the woods. She is chased by a wolf. The wolf attacks her. She kills the wolf, from some sort of killer instinct. She runs back home. The next day, the news is headlining that a boy is found naked and dead in the woods. This boy was from Bisou’s high school, and worse yet, from her social circle.

In sum, this world is: some men are werewolves, and some women are wolf-hunters. Every full-moon, wolf-hunters get the urge and hunt out a werewolf. These werewolves are always alone, preying on young girls. Luckily, wolf-hunters kill any wolves before they can attack innocent women.

The magic lore in this world fell short. It would’ve been so great to explore other werewolves + wolf-hunters, such as societies/families — not just the immediate circle that Bisou knows (which is her bloodline + some randos from high school). As I said earlier, the core message is hardly to do with the magical realm. It was all to challenge the ideas of the social structures and expectations upon girls, women, and the male-kind.

The final 40% unfolded at a fast pace, and the finale was very brief. I expected Bisou to actually verbalise more, but it’s almost entirely described in narration instead. There’s also a lack of a conclusion. Again: it wasn’t the purpose of the creative message, but for a book– I like them, damnit!

The other great element of this novel, aside from the second-person narration, was the fragmented inserts of poetry. I adored every speck that is sprinkled within this book, and wish to read more. And I’m not somebody who enjoys reading poetry! This has certainly warmed me up to it.

TL;DR: GO READ THIS BOOK. IT’S SOOOO UNIQUE TO YA FICTION AND CHALLENGES SOME GREAT ASSUMPTIONS OF OUR WORLD.

This has been added to my favourites; I’m so glad I own a hardcover copy of this 😍

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PRE-REVIEW:

Date: 24/2/20

I absolutely must read this ASAP after Kristi’s raving review 😍😍😍😍😍😍