I love Christina Henry’s books. Especially her fairy tale retellings – if you haven’t read Alice or Lost Boy yet, you should get on that. Needless to say, I was very excited to pick up Henry’s newest book, The Girl in Red – her take on the Little Red Riding Hood story. Because a postapocalyptic Red Riding Hood sounded pretty amazing. And it was.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
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 the story of an adult Red trying to get to her grandmother’s house. Only, instead of the big bad wolf, there is a virus that wiped out a significant portion of the population, gangs battling for territory and food, the military that wants to put everyone in camps for their protection, and something that is eating people from the inside (and may or may not be related to the virus). There’s a lot going on. And Christina Henry does a great job of immersing you in this world.
I loved Red. She was such a badass, despite all the obstacles she has to fight her way through. She’s also bisexual, disabled, and biracial. So if you’re looking for a diverse lead in a science fiction novel, here she is. I think she might be my favorite Christina Henry character so far (which is kind of a big deal, because all of her protagonists are amazing). For a book that revolves so much around one character, it’s very important that said character is great. And I think Henry pulled it off here. I really enjoyed Red as a character, and she definitely made this book for me.
I also really enjoyed the story as a whole. The side characters had a lot of depth, even if they were only featured for a chapter or two. The sci-fi elements were really well done as well. Honestly, this book kind of gave me a Zombieland vibe, even though there are no zombies. And I love Zombieland. Postapocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy retelling, whichever category you want to throw The Girl in Red into, it’s still a fantastic novel.
★★★★★ – I loved The Girl in Red. It was just as good as all the other Christina Henry novels I’ve read. And it was such a great read for the spooky season. Highly recommend!
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose The Girl in Red as one of your two free books. I actually listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it!
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