ARC Book Review: Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent #BookReview #YA #RedWolf #Retelling #RetellingsReadingChallenge

Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent

Publication date: July 20th 2021


This high stakes, pacey reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Megan Spooner.

For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.

But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.

But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.

My Review:

Soon to be sixteen years old, Adele wants nothing more than to settle down with the boy of her dreams and live in peace with her family in the village of Oakvale. Her father’s death still haunts her, and she has much to learn about her family history. On a trip to her grandmother’s cabin through the dark wood, she’s troubled with a surprise encounter, and now must grasp and accept her newfound responsibilities as a guardian and protector of Oakvale.

I’d never been alone in the dark wood before, and I felt my mother’s absence like the loss of a limb. She’d grown up in my grandmother’s cabin, though back then before the forest had encroached so boldly upon Oakvale, it was just inside the dark wood. So she was far more familiar than I was with the dangers and with ways to avoid them.

The book is written well, and it’s a quick read. If I didn’t have other things to do, this probably could’ve been finished in half of a day. The story is unique and inventive being that it’s nothing like the original Little Red Riding Hood but still follows along with connections to the woods, wolves, grandmother, and of course: the red cloak. Some interesting twists take the story in new directions, making it impossible to predict. Albeit rather subtle, certain parts of the story reminded me of some of my favorite movies, including Twilight and The Village, which was an added plus.

The pacing was spot-on for the most part, but there was one event that seemed to drag on for too long. There’s a bit of a love triangle going on in the story, but it was minor and surprisingly worked without bothering me too much, given that this isn’t one of my favorite tropes. The romance was kept very minimal. Finally, the book ties together perfectly and leaves the reader with questions. What a cliffhanger too! I was left to ponder which person was involved in the shocking end. It leads me to believe there may be a second book.

As far as characters, Adele was my favorite. She’s the main character and extremely likable, in my opinion. Multiple things are going on here, and Adele has a great deal on her plate, including the need to maintain secrets and relationships, fight monsters, and solve mysteries. Adele is courageous—always putting one foot forward and doing what’s right, regardless of the circumstances. She’s consistently wary–trying to make the right decisions–willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family and the village of Oakvale. Some of Adele’s choices made me question her at times, but in the end, they seem to be the right ones. Other favorites included Grandmother and Max. Grainger was a favorite from the very beginning too, and I’m left to wonder what’s going to happen to his character if there are future installments.

This is a new author to me, and I have to say I was very impressed with this book. Anyone who enjoys retellings should try it. I’m hopeful for a sequel!


Publication date: July 20th, 2021

I’d like to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest review.

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Publisher : HarperTeen (July 20, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062411624
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062411624
  • Reading age : 14 – 17 years
  • Grade level : 9 – 12

This is another addition to the 2021 Retelling Reading Challenge. You can see the books I’ve read for that challenge by clicking here.

Thanks for reading my review! Have you read any good retellings lately? Feel free to share your thoughts below. As always, happy reading!


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