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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Book Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

The Girl in Red 
by Christina Henry
June 18, 2019
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic 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 is a post-apocalyptic re-write of Little Red Riding Hood. Absent, however, is the vulnerable girl of the classic fairy tale. Instead, readers are treated to heroine with formidable survival instinct; a young woman channelling both the woodsman and the wolf: “I am going to my grandma’s house, and if you try to stop me I will slice off whatever I can reach and leave you here to bleed to death.” The Girl in Red is another of Henry’s classic tale reboots. She’s creatively and skillfully reimaged other stories including Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

When a viral illness devastates the United States, Red seeks refuge in the remote cabin of her grandmother. To get there, she must embark on a cross country hike through dangerous territory. Armed with her beloved red hoody, a hand axe, and her exceptional survival instinct, Red faces unimaginable horrors throughout her quest. The plot unravels non-linearly between past and present. The story is terrifying, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

The Girl in Red is a study in society. Henry bravely launches a scathing critique of contemporary society. Woven into the fabric of the story is critical comme
ntary on consent, discrimination, gender equity, racism, and guns. The best, and worst, parts of society are magnified and completely terrifying: “ ‘Do you think I don’t know what kind of men this world has wrought?’ … ‘Every woman knows. And those men existed before everything fell apart.’ ” There’s a twinge of optimism, though. Henry presents a diverse and inclusive cast of characters. While innocent victims abound, survivors are beautifully sensitive and intensely intelligent. 

Five Sheep
Review: Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1)
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Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood
About the Author:
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS (Ace/Roc) series featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle. She is also the author of the forthcoming dark fantasy ALICE (Ace Trade).

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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