I received this book for free from Caffeinated PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Red by Kate SeRine
Series: Transplanted Tales #1
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp. on January 2, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Retelling
Source: Caffeinated PR
“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”
Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…
Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…
My top thoughts:
I don’t do review tours very often anymore because it stresses me out to have to read a book by a certain deadline. But when I saw this one come through from Caffeinated PR, I couldn’t resist. And I’m really REALLY glad I was weak. Because it was SO GOOD!
What I liked/didn’t like:
If you like retellings this may / may not be for you because while the characters are 99% characters – or, as they call themselves, Tales – from Fairy Tales or Literary Fiction, they live in our world now and their “official” story informs their character but it is not who they are now. And I personally loved that element, this idea that given the freedom to write their own stories, characters might choose a different life than the one their writers gave to them. I expected only fairy tales, because the main character is Red from Little Red Ridding Hood, so imagine my delight when my favorite literary couple of all time appeared! Yep, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. They weren’t the only literary characters, (for example, Vlad and Juliet make appearances) although fairy tales do dominate.
As I said, the main character is Red (that’s her nickname, but I honestly can’t remember what her given name is… Tess? IDK, not important really) and I loved everything about her. First off, I loved that she’s kind of running from her story and trying to build her own narrative. I loved her relationship with her Grandmother (who is also a FANTASTIC character). Red is an Enforcer for the Tales (kind of like a Detective) and she reports to Al (ahem, Aladdin). He assigns her a case where Tales are getting torn to shreds by some sort of monster; assigned to her because the three most likely culprits are her exes. Fun, right?
And then she’s assigned to work with the other main character, Nate – who is a reaper. Death himself as a partner. And if you’ve read many books with Death/Reapers, they have this tendency to be darkishly handsome and melt-worthy. Nate does not disappoint, although he’s considerably sweeter than you’d expect Death to be. And not bad in the kitchen LOL. And as you can imagine there is romance – especially because Red has quite the romantic history and entanglements. While the action and mystery are the stars of the story, you won’t be disappointed by the romance either.
I loved watching them solve the case and the way knowledge of the different stories and characters intermixed with being in the Ordinary (what they call us humans) World. I was on my toes the entire time trying to figure things out. I had lots of good guesses and while I was close, I wasn’t 100% correct because I missed a couple clues. Those are the best detective books for me – when I could have solved it but didn’t because there were enough red herrings to throw me off.
The mystery and initial problem are wrapped up very nicely, but there’s still a larger problem at hand when the book concludes and I am eager to read the next book to see how things continue!