Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry


The Girl in Red
The Girl in Red by CHristina Henry
Berkley
Publication: June 18th, 2019
Paperback. 304 pages.

About The Girl in Red:

"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...."

Over the past couple years, Christina Henry has slowly moved her way up to become one of my favorite authors. Everything I've read from her has been fantastic and The Girl in Red is no exception to that. The Girl in Red is a loose red riding hood-inspired post apocalyptic tale that is just a gritty as some classic fairy tales (meaning: full of grit and intense themes) and as smart and involved as I've come to expect from Henry's books.

This story takes a modern twist on the Red Riding Hood story, though our protagonist is still called Red, wears a red hooded jacket, and is indeed on her way to grandma's house and must avoid a variety of threats and predators on the way. The difference--other than a modern setting--lies in the fact that endless amounts of people are currently dying in the world from an unknown disease and Red is now entirely alone on her journey for survival.

The book alternates chapters between 'Before' and 'After' sections, referring to the time just before the world fully changed and the virus wreaked havoc and the time after everything happened when Red is now traveling alone. I found this setup a really compelling one that slowly brought everything together as the story progressed. Each Before or After section unveiled something crucial to the plot by carefully revealing more and more about Red, her family, and the state of the world as the disease went from mild outbreak to fully-fledged outbreak that caused mass death.

Red is a character that I don't think I'll be forgetting anytime soon. She is incredibly intelligent and plans to do nothing but survive. I've met some determined characters in my reading life, but Red really stands out as someone more prepared, resolute, and unwilling to die than almost anyone I've read about before. The way she reacts to the virus and how to avoid coming into contact or contracting any part of the disease made my heart sing because of how educated and firm she was. I am personally a bit of a germaphobe with some mild OCD and for some reason reading about Red and her rules for survival just made me feel so connected to her and understand her feelings towards the entire situation. I also admired her bravery and willingness to do pretty much anything she had in order to protect herself and her family.

Red comes across as a bit of a know-it-all who thinks she's smarter than everyone around her, but the thing is--for the most part, she often is. However, it's because she's done research and is also willing to admit when she's unsure of something. She didn't really come across as an arrogant character to me, but rather one that simply had a goal and the confidence to achieve it, though in fact a lot of her bravado seemed to be more of a cover up for her own fear than actual certainty in everything she did.

I've grown to really enjoy post-apocalyptic types of stories over the years and I thought this one had a particularly compelling premise and execution. I can't say much about the disease present in this because of spoilers, but suffice to say what I thought was a simple singular issue turned into something much more intense than I could have imagined--and much creepier. I love the directions Henry took this story and how she showcased various aspects of humanity in a crisis.

The Girl in Red has an ending that I both expected and found too abrupt at the same time. I love how it ended and think Henry did it in a great that leaves plenty for the reader to continue to wonder about, but that also wraps up the most essential components of the story and gives some good closure. Would I love if there was a sequel or more to this story? Absolutely, yes! Is it necessary and am I satisfied with what we do have? Also yes.

Overall, I've given The Girl in Red five stars! Every time I had to put this book down I found myself constantly yearning to pick it back up again. I was never bored and always hooked by Red's narrative. If you like strong characters and/or post-apocalyptic stories, this is definitely for you.



*I received a copy of The Girl in Red in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

You might also like:
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
The Mermaid by Christina Henry

4 comments:

  1. I loved this too! I was also wondering about the ending, and whether or not she might write a sequel. Seriously, I want to meet her grandma!

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  2. I've been seeing a lot of 5 star reviews for this one!

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  3. GAH I need this! Yours is the second 5 star review I have seen in just two days! I requested it now, but since it is coming so soon, I also added it to my wishlist! I neeeeed. I am such a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stuff, and this just sounds incredible! So glad you loved it, fabulous review!!

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  4. I really like post-apocalyptic stories, so I definitely want to try this one!

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