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Scarlet Moon (Once Upon a Time) [Mass Market Paperback]

Debbie Viguie , Debbie Vigui , Kinuko Y. Craft
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £4.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689867166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689867163
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 10.6 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,225,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it! 26 Jun 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This made a refreshing change for me, from reading endless lengthy novels of late (400 or 500 pages) being just over a mere 150 pages - ideal!

The story as can be gathered is short and pretty fast-paced as a result. (has to be!) I enjoyed this book, but having compared it now to longer reads, I can see perhaps why the people who write longer novels spread them out a little, as shorter stories such as this one does appear at times to have been `rushed' - particularly the ending which I thought was all wrapped up a little too quickly... Also there is a lack of detail in places as a result. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same; it held enough suspense and mystery to keep me interested, and was vey simple to read. My only criticism being the constant and overuse of the word `though', which seemed to pop up in every other sentence and did become irritating. I'm surprised that this recurrence got past the editing stage!

Still loved it though!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Werewolf 6 Mar 2005
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Scarlet Moon" is the second book I have read in the "Once Upon a Time" series, the first being Nancy Holder's "Spirited." This time I was at least aware of what fairy tale was being retold, since I knew that scarlet is a type of red and the wolf attacking the young girl in the first chapter was a helpful clue. More importantly, I knew that these stories are not just simply retold fairy tales but romances for those readers still young enough to have an idealized notion of what it means to fall in love. This is important, because whereas Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty are all romances, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is traditionally not. That is, however, the approach that Debbie Viguié takes in her turn at the story.

The story of "Rotkäppchen" (literally "red cap") by Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm published in "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" (1812) is the most familiar version of the tale. But that is based on Charles Perrault's "Le petit chaperon rouge" (1697), Ludwig Tiekc's 1800 play "Leben und Tod des kleinen Rotkäppchens: eine Tragödie" (which is where the hunter is added to the tale), and an oral version collected by Jeanette Hassenpflug. There are also oral tales from Northern Italy, the Tyrol and the Pyrennees the basic plot elements of which have been found in Oriental tales from China, Japan and Korea. The universality of the story is rooted in its fundamental themes of female pubescence and awakening sexuality, the contrasting notions of male and female heroism, the importance of family ties and obeying your parents, and the conflict between society and nature. But there are so many variations that it is possible to include a lot of different elements into the story (the Grimms had an alternative ending where the grandmother saves herself and her granddaughter from the wolf without any help from men).

"Scarlet Moon" is set during the time of the crusades (I assume in England, but it could be Normandy) when Ruth, our young heroine, is waiting for her brother and cousin to return from the Holy Land. Because the young men are away Ruth has been learning her father's trade of being a blacksmith and from time to time she visits her grandmother, who lives in the woods because she has been banished from the town because the simple folk believe the old lady is a witch. When she was a young girl Ruth was attacked by a wolf with green eyes and she now that she has become a young woman she still bears the wounds of that encounter and has never gotten over the fear of that attack.

It turns out that both parts of the title are worth paying attention, because the moon is an important part of Viguié's revision. If you want to turn Little Red Riding Hood into a romance using the original roster of characters your choices are the wolf or the huntsman. Viguié chooses the wolf and the fact that the book's title is "Scarlet Moon" should tell you what kind of wolf we are talking about. This certainly makes for an interesting twist on the tale and ultimately what is key here is that Viguié keeps the characters and the locations of the original without feeling compelled to follow the structure of the story.

This story has its predictable elements but given that it is a retold tale that is hardly a serious complaint. My only serious problem with the story is the dialogue and the relationship between Ruth and Lord William are pretty modern. Ruth is certainly a proto-feminist (I suspect all of the heroines in all of the books in this series are as well), and she definitely has no conception of the class structure that existed in that place and time. However, that language may well be what makes "Scarlet Moon" accessible to its young readers, so you can hardly fault Viguié for not using accurate language that predates Chaucer (although the thought of young readers struggling with Old English is certainly amusing).
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ..the wolf will have it's fill... and blood will spill. 10 Feb 2006
By Karusichan - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Ruth as a child she was attacked by a wolf. She was traveling through the woods with her brother, Stephen, on the way to her grandmother's house and a wolf savagely attacked her, marring her leg with it's teeth and it's claws, a wound no means would ever heal without scarring. But Ruth gets in a blow with her knife before the wolf escapes, and Stephen takes her to their grandmother's home. Her grandmother helps as best as she can, but none of her knowledge of herbal lore is suitable to revive the deep gashes of flesh and muscle that Ruth has lost in the encounter. Her brother helps too, trying his best to get her to walk before he has to depart to Jerusalem to aid in the holy wars there. When Ruth learns of this she is greatly saddened, and takes her sorrow out in her father's forge, knowing that the pain in her heart is greater than the pain in her leg.

Nine years pass and still the crusades rage on. Ruth has become a strong young woman, accustomed to hard work thanks to the hours she puts in as a blacksmith to her father's secret shame. She visits her grandmother, Giselle, whenever she can, knowing that the studious old woman is not welcome in the village thanks to her "Witchcraft" like interests, even though she has a few other visitors coming to learn what she knows. One day, Ruth's cousin Peter returns from Jerusalem, thin and wretched and with a haunted look that alarms Ruth, especially after he delivers the news that Stephen was killed in battle. Ruth is greatly disturbed by this and retreats into her work to dull the pain.

A chance encounter at the smith proves to be Ruth's undoing. After an altercation with Simon, the local tanner, ends in angry blows exchanged a handsome young noble man named William steps in to right the situation. He forces Simon to pay for the work that he claims is shoddy and the tanner leaves in annoyed disgrace. Ruth is weary of William and at the same time attracted to the man who interfered, especially after he proves to be such a charming man, but he seems as if he has some sort of secret he can't convey to her, even after he begins to spend more time with her. Besides that a wolf is skulking around the village woods again, even though the villagers had hunted down the one who attacked Ruth nine years prior. Why is it that the wolves can't seem to let Ruth, or her family, alone?

Part "Little Red Riding Hood", part "Peter and the Wolf", part feminist allegory, part werewolf fetishism, this story seems to span all sorts of genres. The basic elements of "Red riding hood" are there of course, Ruth does spend much time tripping through the forest to grandmother's house, carrying a basket of food and wearing a cape, but beyond being set upon occasionally by wolves that is about where the similarities end. Much of the story is set about her own self-consciousness of her boyish-like physique and attitude, and her growing relationship with William, which she is unsure of because of her own self-doubt more than his own mysterious nature...then there's a lot about this that seems to degenerate into a lycanthropic lust story as one of the characters arrousal arises from his desire to devour. It makes it an interesting twist on the fairy tale combined with a take on a bodice ripping romance novel, only cleverly done so you can't quite tell it's a bodice ripper until most of the way through. It is not surprising to me though, having read other work by Debbie Viguie, that she manages to pull this feat off. I was greatly impressed by the twist and turns in "Midnight Pearls" (another book in the "Once Upon a Time" series) as well as by the character development. I am starting to notice a pattern, however...the cursed main character (s), the inadequate feelings from that of the main female protagonist, the magical elements that are there, but subtlety so... this is what I have come to expect from her work and I was not disappointed by this. I will say that some of the romantic protestations had me rolling my eyes, and for that I might have to deduct a little off of my enjoyment just because it was annoying at times, but overall this is a good read...worthy of four and a half stars, though I have to award 4, because I can't do halves on Amazon. Fans of dark tales will enjoy this as well.

"Slash, claw, bite, kill. Angry trees shouting above; ignore them, ignore them.Trees don't touch me, can't hurt me. The woman tasted sweeter than the man, but the man had more meat on him. Destroy, devour, the wolf will have it's fill.

Blame the wolf, always the wolf. Never me, just the wolf. Watch him kill, blood will spill. Growling, snarling, clawing, biting.

All are dead.

All are dead."
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful addition to the "Once Upon a Time" series. 27 Mar 2004
By Rebecca Herman - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Ruth was a little girl, she was attacked in the forest by a wolf with green eyes. Her older brother Stephen saved her life and drove off the wolf -- but even nine years later, she is haunted by the memories of that day, and still lives with the scars of the wolf's attack. Shortly after the attack, Stephen and their cousin, Peter, left to join the Crusades, and Ruth took solace in taking Stephen's place in their father's blacksmith shop. Now Peter has returned from the Holy Land with the news that Stephen died in Jerusalem. With her beloved brother dead, Ruth feels her fear of the wolf becoming worse -- especially when she is walking through the woods to visit her grandmother, a healer who was banished from the village after being accused of witchcraft. One day while working in the forge, Ruth meets William the young earl of Lauton. Ruth and William fall in love -- but a dark shadow hangs over a William, an evil magic that has cursed the men of his family for generations. Will their love be strong enough to conquer that evil?

I highly recommend this wonderful blend of fairy tale, history, romance, and magic to teen readers. This enchanting, romantic love story is my favorite book from the "Once Upon a Time" series. I love the setting, characters, and the very romantic love story.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea, But Poor Execution 11 Mar 2008
By B. Calhoun - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When she was a young girl, Ruth was attacked by a wolf with green eyes. She was saved from death by her brother, but she still carries the scars from the wolf's claws. Years later, Ruth is working as a blacksmith after her brother went off to fight in the Crusades and died in the Holy Land. Ruth still goes through the woods to visit her grandmother, since the old woman had been banished from the village for being a witch (when really she is only an herbalist and amateur astronomer). One day, Ruth meets the handsome but troubled young lord, William, who seems not at all perturbed that a woman is working as a blacksmith. She finds herself attracted to him, but she doesn't know that he is connected to the wolf that attacked her all those years ago.

Viguie's interpretation of the Little Red Riding Hood story is good: she provides a reason why Grandma is only accessible by walking a dangerous path through the woods and the idea that the wolf is really a werewolf is rather clever and allows the wolf to be an actual character (as someone else pointed out, regular wolves don't really talk, so couldn't really do much besides be dangerous).

The book itself, despite its interesting concept, is rather boring. The biggest problem is the utter lack of chemistry between the two leads. Despite the fact that they are constantly stating how in love (lust?) they are with each other (particularly William), they are pretty dull when together. Furthermore, William blaming his bloodlust on his attraction to Ruth (and telling her this) is not very heroic. There is also little explanation about WHY William doesn't simply lock himself in a dungeon cell during a full moon instead of running off into the woods. He doesn't seem very proactive in stopping himself from killing innocent people. The way to break the curse also turned out to be pretty lame (and kind of random).

I can't recommend this book, even for fans of the Once Upon a Time series. Viguie simply wasted a good idea. Younger readers or those who don't mind giant holes in the plot might enjoy reading this book, but there are far better fairy tale retellings and werewolf stories out there that are more worth your time.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be judgmental, just enjoy it. 4 Aug 2006
By Kristen Sanecki - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Attacked by a wolf at a young age, Ruth learns what it means to fear. Her whole life, she is constantly distressed by paranoia and panic of her surroundings. So when her brother, Stephen, and cousin, Peter, leave for battle during the Crusades, she must pick up where they left off: preparing to be a blacksmith alongside her father, in the place of a son. Ruth's outcasted grandmother, Giselle, is a great healer, and has always helped replace the past loss of Ruth's mother. So when distraught Peter returns from the Crusades after nine years without Stephen, it is Giselle whom Peter turns to, and Giselle whom he comes to loathe.

When the Earl of Lauton's horse throws a shoe outside the blacksmith shop, Ruth is immediately attached to the nobleman William, and he to her. But all that prevents their young love is a secret. A secret that has plagued William's family for generations and one that is the cause of Ruth's fear. But can he be trusted that she need not fear any longer? Does he remember all of his cursed actions?

I feel like defending this book. So everyone who complains that it was "lust" not "love"...yeah. It was lust. They even pointed it out ("And when I am near you, all I feel is passion...). But can lust not be love? It's not like all they did was ogle over each other and make out. They cared for each other, simply in a way no one else could.

Also, it doesn't have to be like the real "Little Red Riding Hood". It's a retelling based "loosely" off the story. Why would we want to read about a little girl getting eaten by a wolf? I prefer not to see the heroine die a most horrible death along with her sweet-natured grandmama. It's just not..right.

And finally (but not lastly), the werewolf does work. You couldn't communicate with a wolf. They eat things. They're carnivores. A werewolf (mythically) has feeling, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and...a man body. Don't get me wrong, you could create a character like that for a wolf, but then Ruth would fall in love with a complete animal? No.

So I suppose it's just how you look at it. I personally enjoyed it. It's not expected to be a long novel with exactly the same features as were written hundreds of years ago. That kind of story just doesn't pertain to what us "modern" folk want in a "modern" retelling of a classic fairy-tale. It just doesn't.
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