Wendy reviews ‘Little Red’ (Fairytales Retold, Book 1) by Shelby Rhodes. Self published January 29,2022, 287 pages.
Follow along and you will see a tale retold in a world of unimaginable creatures, gods, and goddesses. A world filled to the brim with magic. Our story begins with a sorcerer with too much power without the age to match.
Ryder, our hero, who just so happens to be a painfully short redhead, has found himself burdened with the fates of thousands, in a life where he has so far received very few answers. In order to find the cure to the plague that has overtaken the Kingdom of Solais, he sets off on a quest to seek out his slightly crazy grandmother, in the Yore Forest.
Add in one flirty, handsome werewolf Prince, a sarcastic sorcerer-hating werewolf, some full-blown insanity, and a bit of magic, and Ryder finds his momentous task doubling in difficulty and stress. But all is not what it seems, and sometimes life takes you to places you never wished to stand. In the end, Ryder’s decisions and paths are not choices but destiny. And in said destiny lies insurmountable magic, death, and maybe even love.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review
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Bane sprinted into the forest, running faster than Ryder could ever hope to. The thudding of the man’s bare feet on the dirt path almost lured Ryder to sleep.
It would have been to their detriment. The danger was not over. Escaping his grandmother would take more than physical strength and a little magic. She would not give up that easily.
Ryder had barely had that thought when he felt it—magic. The air became electric as it surged closer. He could taste it. Ryder could feel it permeating his very bones. But something was wrong. Instead of fear or apprehension, his very soul felt elated.
Ryder felt energy build inside him. Strength he shouldn’t have had, it called for his magic to rise. And as the unknown force sped towards them, his heart started to race in anticipation.
At first, there was only a thundering rumble. Then the ground began to shake, and a roaring symphony of cracking, snapping, and explosions followed—sounds of pure destruction. Screeching beasts could be heard in the distance, the creatures dying as they are unable to get out of the way of his grandmother’s spell. And soon, the already dim sky darkened further.
He watched Bane quickly glance back. When the werewolf swore and started a brutal pace, he knew they were probably screwed.
Even knowing that, Ryder couldn’t stop his eyes from widening in horror when he finally caught sight of what was after them. It was not something anyone could outrun. Headed their way was a tsunami-size wave of dirt, rocks, and trees. He could see nothing beyond it. Not only was it coming from behind, but from all sides, leaving only an increasingly narrow path in front of them.
And as the two waves began to swell over them, stealing away their path, Ryder’s first thought was that they were going to die. But then the defiant part of him, that always pushed him to defeat the odds, screamed no—no, he would not die this way! Ryder refused!
He let his magic consume the mysterious energy—he let it free. Instead of recoiling from the all-consuming spell coming for them, his magic flew towards it. As their magic collided, a spell he had never learned filled his mind. The language was old, foreign to him, but he somehow understood.
When the world turned to darkness, the wave mere seconds from crushing them, time slowed for Ryder.
His body hummed, and the spell he shouldn’t have known past his lips. “Îgňaęϋe těŕrvŉa ɋȏnǹ ȸrǽ relǽg’uɱ Ťę môrʋǐtȕs!”
He began to emit a red glow. That glow became brighter and brighter, until it was blinding.
Ryder blinked as time returned to normal. The wall of dirt, all of it was gone. The only evidence of it having been there was the barren land all around them.
“That was…insane,” Bane rasped, voice shaking. The man had a death grip on him, and the werewolf’s voice wasn’t the only thing shaking.
In a slight daze, Ryder peered up at the man. Fearful brown eyes met his. It was the look one cast at a monster. Ryder quickly glanced away.
Clearing his throat, Bane announced, “We should get going.”
Going where, Ryder thought weakly. He found he was too tired to ask. The energy and magic that had saved them had dissipated, the spell that had been so clear moments before was lost to him.
Bane started off again after a moment of hesitation, carrying him into the barren wasteland the spell had created. Listening to the werewolf’s speeding heartbeat, Ryder let his exhaustion take him.
While he did not know where they were going, or what was going to happen, the one thing he did know was that this was far from over.
I’ve read a good many retellings of fairy tales and I love them. There’s something about the new spin on an old story that just makes me happy. And, when an author gets it right in every way???, brilliant! I could absolutely tell that Shelby Rhodes went above and beyond in the writing of this story.
I’m going to showcase a few of my fav things…
- Classic tale with good bones and recognizable characters. Check.
- Generous dollop of magic. Check.
- A plague that will wipe out the entire village. Check
- Adventure. Check.
- Epic quest. Check.
- Danger and suspense. Check.
- Hard won HEA. Check.
- A complete appendix of spells *this was one of the most amazing parts of the story. I’ll talk more about it in a bit. Check.
One of the great things about a retelling is that the author can take liberties as they please. Make a character that was a young female in the original version an adult male for instance. I loved Ryder, aka Red in this version, not only was Red an adult, but he was super loveable. I know he saw himself as flawed, but he really was a hero. His spellcasting made me laugh more than once!
I also loved that the other characters took on different roles in this book. There were some serious twists and turns with a whole new meaning of “My, what big teeth you have”, a whole new look for grandma, surprise insanity and of course, the gorgeous, flirty werewolf prince, who has issues and his own family drama (that crosses paths with Red and his family in unexpected ways).
So, back to the appendix of spells… in the e-book, each time someone says or uses a spell in this book (and that happens a lot since there is an entire village of sorcerers lol), that spell is written as a link that you can click on and be taken to the definition of said spell. WOW, I can’t imagine the work it must have taken because there are TONS of spells, like it could be an entire little book of its own! THIS WAS SO COOL!!!
I really loved this book and can’t wait for more retellings by Shelby.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Books have always been a big part of Shelby Rhodes’ life. Unfortunately, growing up writing had been a constant struggle for her. So, even with her head filled with stories she never tried to write them down.
It took many years to gain the confidence to explore writing as a creative outlet. Now writing has become a way for her to dive into new adventures and explore new worlds.
With confidence, she fully intends to explore everything that has been stuck in her head. It is her hope that others will join her on her adventures.
Check out my website, http://www.ShelbyRhodesAuthor.com, for upcoming releases, free shorts, or if you just want to see what I am currently working on.