Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of ten, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls “Papa.” Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.
For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense— “cleansing” the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm.
And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shapeshifters.
While visiting with a Fire Master—a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge— Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: one of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.
Rosa has been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves. There are those, like the one that had murdered her teacher, who transform themselves by use of dark magic, and also those who have been infected by the bite of these magical werewolves—these poor victims have no control over their transformative powers. Yet, there is a third kind: those who have been born with the ability to transform at will. Some insist that certain of these hereditary werewolves are benign. But Rosa has never encountered a benign werewolf!
Can she trust this Hungarian werewolf? Or is the Hunter destined to become the Hunted?
This is the tenth book in the Elemental Masters series and the story gives a new portrayal to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
Like the story of Little Red Riding Hood, Rosamund or Rosa goes to see her teacher Grossmutter Helga (Grandmother in German) to find her dead by the hand of a werewolf. She is able to call for help and is saved by the Hunt of the Bruderschaft (Brotherhood in German) of Master Elementals. They see potential in Rosa and take her in, to become years later the first Earth Hunt Master Woman.
I liked the part where Rosa has a sudden fear of her future. Everybody has had that moment in their lives. We fear what lies ahead of us: the unknown. We fear the trust and confidence that others have placed upon us because we don’t always think that we are up to their expectations. We don’t see what other sometimes see in us.
There are moments when you would think that the story is going slow, but be assured that everything has its purpose and it helps the story that will come ahead. Because Blood Red is part of a series that has a new main character within every book, the story has to explain more about the character and how he/she thinks and acts. The story doesn’t have much romance, a few parts, but it is more of a story of believing in yourself and understanding your power and the world outside your comfort zone.
Blood Red has a lot of mythical creatures, some of them were old and others had different names for me. I have read of some of them in other books, but didn’t remember their names, like Cernunnos the Lord of the Hunt with other names like Woden or Herne. This is the first time I place a name and title to that creature. I like a good book that makes me do research about the characters, creatures, or the places the story talks about.
Mercedes Lackey changes the Little Red Riding Hood story her own way to create the formidable hunter that is Rosa von Schwarzwald. This story tells us that there are three types of werewolves: those who are born, those who are bitten or cursed, and those who use blood magic to shift. I think that this is the first time I read of a person using blood magic to turn into a werewolf, I have read of other uses for blood magic, but this is the first case I see.
Another thing that I liked of this story was how with the help of elementals an Earth Master can learn the language of the place they are in in one night.
The cover was appealing. I tend to judge a book by its cover and summary, but in this case both were good enough to catch my attention. The artist for the cover is Jody A. Lee. The cover gives a glimpse of what the story offers, alike Rosa as the Red Cloak.
I recommend you read Blood Red, read of a world of magic and creatures that hunt in the shadows, and learn to give the benefit of the doubt to those who earn it.
Would you like to be an Earth Master? Tell us in the comments.