I received a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
In the new world, werewolves rule the land. What was once the United States has been reclaimed by wilderness and is overrun with giant thorn trees. Creatures known as treecrawlers, roam the night, attacking anything with a heartbeat.
On Meredith Rider’s 10th birthday, the werewolf army, known as The Sworn, arrives and murders her parents and her best friend, Kassian. Only Meredith, known to her family as Red, and her grandmother survive the attack. As a teen, the werewolves come for her again and mark her wrist with the symbol of The Chosen. This means that once she turns 18, she must report to the capital for her duty…to bear children for the barren female werewolves. The Chosen are considered traitors and are loathed by most humans, though the Chosen were not given a choice in the matter.
Meredith hides her mark for years and no one but her grandmother knows her secret. Until she must reveal it to save the man she loves. Upon this discovery, Meredith is taken into the custody of Vixor Rae, a handsome young werewolf with a terrifying reputation. Meredith is forced to join a caravan headed to the capital where she will meet her Chosen fate. Meredith absolutely hates the werewolves, especially Vixor, but when treecrawlers attack and they are the only two left alive, they must find a way to survive.
I absolutely love a good retelling and there aren’t many inspired by the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. This is more than a retelling, however. Red Rider is an old fairytale completely reimagined, set in a frightening world I haven’t seen before.
I was pulled into the story from the very first page. Meredith is a tough girl who can hold her own, even against her greatest enemy. Most of the characters are likable, though they all have their annoying moments. That seems to be pretty normal for YA, though. The world building is good enough that I only had to stop and think “wait, how does that even work?” once.
While the trope was easy to spot from a mile away, I did NOT see the big twist coming. I didn’t like that the story ends on a giant cliffhanger with so many issues are left unresolved. I get that it was intentional and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, but the ending felt rushed.