Fantasy Romance Tale for Believers
From the first page a sense of mystery is introduced in this fantasy romance that is a little bit fairytale and a little bit of an adventure story. The title is enough of an allusion to the fairy tale Red Riding Hood that when the connection is hinted at later in the story it is not a surprise.
But what was a surprise for me was how much I came to care about all the characters in this coming of age werewolf tale. It starts from inside the head, and diary, of Elodie, a young girl whose family has had to deal with a curse for centuries. We read her diary of tortured questions and quickly find ourselves understanding just how alone she feels, and afraid.
Enter the Hero
But the story quickly finds another brave soul to follow, Sawyer. The way they come to meet, the almost sniffing of the air around each other is a great description of how two young werewolves might indeed meet each other. The sniffing might not be literal, but it sure is easy to understand that these two are going to have to admit their attraction and sooner rather than later. For Sawyer is the typical rough around the edges hero we have all come to love. He is smart, but not much into school. Not quite the rebel without a cause, but definitely someone who doesn’t back off from trouble. He understands who he is, and accepts it. As he comes to know Elodie, he can see that she is afraid of who she is, or about to become. It stirs something in him, and in a strange way he can see that she completes him.
Fantasy Romance with a Dangerous Edge
I have not read a tale about werewolves with quite this take on it before, although the idea of werewolves needing to hide their nature is nothing new. Nor is the idea to connect modern day werewolves with the old tale of Red Riding Hood. It is more the way it is done that makes this a story worth checking out.
The two teens tend to circle the question of what they are through much of the story, but the clash of danger doesn’t come from that so much as how they deal with it. For Elodie it is a horrible dark secret that has doomed the women of her line for centuries. To Sawyer it is simply the way his family is, their heritage as a people. It is this coming together of two different approaches to the same gift that makes the story so bold.
Danger in the Dark
If the whole question of revealing her curse isn’t enough, Elodie soon finds she is being hunted. It is part of her family’s curse, and she runs from it as fiercely as Sawyer is ready to stand and face it. That is the touch throughout the book that I loved. There are no easy answers here. Both teens have to grow in order to be able to come together and in the end overcome their fears. The fact that they find each other against all odds, and together become a stronger person than either could have been alone, is another sweet spot in the story.
Although this is a fantasy romance, it is not a simple boy meets girl kind of story. There are plenty of dark dealings, some revelations that may have been easy to see coming but still didn’t detract from the enjoyment and a romance that is rooted more in real emotion than some teen angst. All in all, there was more here than I expected and if you love fantasy romances with werewolves and mystery, this is just the ticket!