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Skarlit is No Fool*

Is the Danger from the Big, Bad Wolf?

Skarlit has been chosen as the one from her village to deliver medical supplies to a wealthy realm called Roses. It is said to be an honor, yet no one has ever returned from it alive.  The only way to this realm is through a forest where a wolf lives that is believed to attack and kill the person sent. Skarlit knows all about the dangers because her grandmother was chosen four years ago and never returned. Skarlit does meet the wolf in the forest, but what happens to her there is just one of the surprises in this book.

If you read the first book in this series about Alice, you will be pleased to revisit Robin, Maryanne, and the Merry Men in this book. They provide a safe way station for Skarlit in the middle of the Emerald Forest.

The first part of the book and the underlying backstory did feel a bit derivative of The Hunger Games. It is also a twist on Little Red Riding Hood. I didn’t think that the premise was set up correctly. It just seemed unbelievable that the people in Skarlit’s village would continue to send people on the same path through dangerous woods when these people never came back. The author did state that going via the forest with the only way through, but if you have an understanding of typical geography, this seems unlikely. Or if it had to happen this way depending on topography, why wouldn’t the village set up some more protection than a single person going through the woods? If these supplies are so vital to Roses, why wouldn’t they give protection? Of course, some of this is answered at the very end of the novella, but the shaky setup made it hard for a suspension of disbelief. Some of the secrets that are revealed at the end are shocking, but they aren’t given any real basis in the early part of the story, so they don’t seem inevitable, as shocking moments in literature should be.

This novella is rather short and ends abruptly. I wonder how it actually all does turn out for Skarlit with her new reality and the new person that has become vital to it.