The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

details
Title: The Girl in Red.
Writer(s): Christina Henry.
Publisher: Berkley.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: June 18th 2019.
Pages: 304.
Genre(s): Science-Fiction.
ISBN13:  9780451492289.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Retellings are fun to visit when your favourite stories are brought back to life under new lights. From enjoying the references to discovering new adventures with your beloved characters, these stories are enjoyable from time to time if the author knows how to manipulate their pieces. Christina Henry is one of those authors who like to write darker retellings of classics like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Praised for her fantastic writing style and flawless imagination, her books have always managed to please her fanbase as she hits all the right notes with each of her books. Her latest story turns out to be my first avant-goût of her work and promises exciting reading experiences to come soon.

What is The Girl in Red about? Transforming the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood” into a gritty and dark postapocalyptic retelling where a young woman, who goes by the name of Red, fights for her survival but also fights to prove her womanhood to all the naysayers around her. With two timeless, one set at the beginning of the Crisis and one much later, the story follows Red in her quest to avoid the plague that decimated the population by searching for a refuge at her grandmother’s cabin located in the woods. Although threats of hungry creatures are inevitable, they aren’t the ones that she’ll have to look out for as humans continue to show their best side during crises. With a rocky road in front of her, Red, however, plans on pulling out her axe to just about anyone that dares to get in her way.

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While Christina Henry delivers an entertaining and atmospheric story with The Girl in Red, which favours a fast pace with colourful characters and a truly cinematic experience, it is far from being the most perfect retelling as the author rounded corners to achieve a rather basic story that doesn’t necessarily reach new heights in what has already been accomplished in this subgenre. A lot of the intrigue felt like déjà-vù as the story went through a checklist of necessary ingredients for a postapocalyptic survival adventure. Speaking of checklists, throughout the story, there was an overwhelming impression left on me that indicated that the author wanted to include as much diversity and health issues (ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) as possible to please those who actively search for those elements in their stories. While she doesn’t dwell long on each of the issues to make it seem like she was preaching to her audience, they did seem unnatural and unnecessary to the story.

Where I also had issues with this story lies in the protagonist and how she evolves throughout this story. The narrative structure allows the reader to indulge a certain amount of suspense, where they are kept oblivious of the cause of the Crisis and what exactly happens to Red’s family. However, throughout most of the story, Red is arrogant in her perception of events and actions. She continuously and fervently repeats the importance of movies to her understanding of the rules of survival during postapocalyptic scenarios, as it seems to be her sole reference to help guide her way. While she is strongly independent and bleeds with courage, she simply isn’t a character that I could mentally support throughout her quest with her façon d’être always there to annoy me.

The Girl in Red is a fast-paced and gritty retelling that explores the willpower and perseverance of a young woman as she seeks safety from an intangible threat.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Berkley for sending me a copy for review!

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22 comments

  • Thank goodness for all the movies this generation watches. Now they can survive ANYTHING!
    *super duper Superman eyeroll*

    I’ve already seen some reviews for this book so I knew I’d be ragging on it no matter what you wrote 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • I was less than impressed with this one and rated it 3 stars too. Considering how much I’ve enjoyed the author’s other books, it was somewhat disappointing. I also 100% agree with you on the feeling that she wanted to cram as many of her political and social views into this story as she could. It felt awkwardly handled and out of place, especially when you think how other authors have managed to do the same thing more seamlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still plan on giving her other books a try but man did this one push my desire to read them as soon as possible a bit further.

      Tell me about it… I had a feeling she was going to tackle those subjects one after the other without too much substance/originality. The moment she included the sexuality subject, she crossed the line and made me facepalm!

      Like

  • Great review Lashaan! I don’t think I’ve ever read a retelling, but it sounds like something I might enjoy! Maybe not this one though, as I usually find it quite hard to finish a book when I don’t like the protagonist or when his or her personality is very annoying…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Juliette! There are so many YA retellings of classic fairytales out there, if you’re ever craving for those. I think anyone who wants to try the books by this author, they should check out her first books like Alice. But I definitely agree that such a protagonist is hard to tag along with! 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  • Ohhhhh dear… I am halfway through the book and I am a bit baffled… It’s my first by the author and she has had such a good reception I don’t know what I was expecting but… I am… this book confuses the frack out of me… for the reasons you have listed – I have highlighted bits based on your comments as well and … what age is she? The story reads like she’s a child but then there’s mention that she’s 20 and all that jazz and I feel disjointed as hell XD it reads fast though… and boy, oh boy, I can’t wait to start writing my review… kidding, it’ll be a tough one to write… sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahaha I’m actually glad I wasn’t the only one. By the end of it, I was inclined to consider this YA, regardless of the “violence” in it. It’s also my first by the author but I’ll give her another chance by checking out Alice. I feel like she might have tried something new here by making it closer to “reality” compared to her other work. Hope you’ll have a less rocky ending though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that’s just it… The last 20% of the book was quite neat! So, now I am stuck on my rating, damn it 😀
        But, like you, it was also my first Henry and I think I would also like to give Alice a chance. I never liked Peter Pan as a story so I doubt I will ever read the retelling of it…

        Liked by 1 person

  • I think this book is definitely not for me hahaha 😂 I have such a hard time reading books with annoying protagonists and I’m not sure I would enjoy retellings either 🤔 For me, if it’s not in the original story, then it’s something else and using the same characters only bothers me 😂 That being said, I never tried it so I might like it! Great review, Lashaan 😍

    Like

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