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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

Currently reading

What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood - Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Johnson This review appears in full at http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/I can't remember the last time a book made me feel so stabby.Last Friday afternoon I was facing a two-hour train journey and had two books in my bag: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and this little sucker (the red theme was pure coincidence). I first reached for Scarlet because I've been meaning to read it for awhile, but one sentence in and my Friday-arvo brain-mush was ready to fall asleep. So I turned instead to Red Riding Hood because a) A trashy read was just what I needed; and b) I was curious to find out who the damn wolf was after watching the movie trailer.The introduction by director Catherine Hardwicke reveals that this novelisation (based on the Red Riding Hood sceenplay) is a more in-depth look at the characters and their back stories, which couldn't be shown in the time-limited movie (she also reveals the whole thing was based on an idea by Leonardo Dicarprio - random!). After getting halfway through the book on my two-hour trip, I was left thinking that maybe the movie will be worse than I anticipated, given that the characters and their back stories are basically non-existent in the book, and I'd hate to see what they look like with LESS development.See, Valerie, our heroine, is different from the rest of the inhabitants of her village. We know this because we're told: "Even at the age of seven, she knew that, somehow, she was different from the other villagers." At the age of 17, she falls instantly in love when she sees her mysterious childhood friend, Peter, for the first time in 10 years. He's mysterious because we get approximately 12 words from him in the first 80 pages. Of course, she's betrothed without her knowledge to Henry Lazar, the son of the only rich man in town, whom every girl has the hots for. Except Valerie, of course. Coz, y'kow, she's different. Oh, and there's a Wolf who's been terrorizing the village once a month for who knows how long (seriously, who knows? That back story is never explained). He (or she?) has been kept in check by animal sacrifices... until now. DUN DUN DUNNNN. The first part of the book is quite slow and the flowery language is in full bloom; I have to admit that if I hadn't been stuck on a train I probably wouldn't have kept reading. Interestingly, after I went on a mad googling session upon finishing the book (more on that in a sec) I discovered that this part is the "back story" that was added by Blakley-Cartwright, which gives me hope for the movie after all. Because the story does pick up after that and becomes much more interesting and better paced.The best part of the book (and also the worst, but I'm getting to that) is that I wasn't able to guess the identity of the wolf. Sometimes I thought it was Henry, then Adrien, then Peter, then Grandma, then Mother, then Father, then Grandma, then Peter... this thing keeps you guessing to the very end. Literally. Which brings me, finally, to why I felt so stabby and went on a Google bender: THERE IS NO ENDING. That's right, just an online pointer to a website that tells you that the final chapter WON'T BE RELEASED until March 25th. As in, after the movie comes out. Coz they don't want to spoil it and all. A fact which is especially frustrating when your primary motive for reading the book is to find out the ending of the movie. All I can say is: Grrrrrrrrrr.Look, it won't stop me from seeing the movie. Or rushing online to read the last chapter when it's finally released. But the whole gimmick is just so insulting to a reader and seriously devalues the book. I definitely wouldn't recommend anyone else read it - at least until the movie/ending comes out!