Once upon a time, a young ten year old girl in a red riding cloak went to go visit her elderly teacher to learn Earth magic. Along the way she encounters a very strange man.
Remembering her mother’s warnings of not to talk to strangers the young girl, Rosamund, quickly bypassed the stranger. Once to her teacher’s cottage, Rosamund felt that something was very wrong, the house was too dark, and her teacher was acting quite strange, that is until her teacher, (who wasn’t her teacher at all but the strange man she’d met) grew fur and sharp teeth and claws and tried to attack her! Fearing for her life, she quickly locked herself in a safe room and pleaded, with magic of course, for someone, anyone, to help her. Luckily for her, a Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters came to her rescue. The werewolf, for that was what the strange man had been, was killed by the Hunt Master. Rosamund is later adopted by her rescuer and this terrifying ordeal is what paved the path for her future.
She is then trained by the Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge to hunt, protect and defend. While most Earth Masters are healers, some, like Rosa, “cleanse” the Earth by protecting its gentle fae folk inhabitants from evil. Here at the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master, her specialty being werewolves, shape shifters and vampire. Now Rosa travels across Germany, Transylvania and Romania in search of evil and kills it.
Pretty soon, Rosa encounters a Fire Master—who happens to be a friend of her adopted “Papa”—who wants to show the rest of the Hunt Master Lodges that Rosa, though female, is exceptional at her work and to have them call her should an evil being rise in their territories. Through this Fire Master, Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They believe that a murder resides in the remote countryside of Transylvania and that this murder has been killing one person every week for forty years! Unfortunately, they have no proof. The villagers are too scared and most people taken were nobodies, no one of any importance. Rosa agrees that she will help them with this evil but there is a catch… one of the men she is helping, just happens to be a hereditary werewolf.
Throughout her life Rosa had been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves; those who transform themselves by use of dark magic/blood magic, and those who have been infected by the bite of magical werewolves and a third kind, those who are born with the ability to shape shift. Now Rosa has to decide if she can trust this Hungarian werewolf and stop the murders in Transylvania. That is, will she live to get that far?
Little Red Riding Hood happens to be one of my favorite fairytales so I was overjoyed to read Mercedes Lackey’s ‘Blood Red’. I have to say that it was pretty good! It was a bit slow in areas but Rosa wasn’t portrayed as a Mary Sue, mind you she is still in an era where women wearing pants is scandalous so she still has to portray the Lady on the outside. I had fun reading this version of Little Red hunting werewolves all over Romania and Transylvania.
Though it was somewhat predictable, it was still a quick, rather enjoyable read. Overall I would give it a 3.5 or 4 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves fairytales and/or Mercedes Lackey. A quick word of caution: there is rape and incest mentioned which more or less presumes to have happened off screen to non-major characters. It doesn’t go into it at all, it’s more hinted at.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I am a big fan of Mercedes Lackey’s books, are you? Which are your favorites?