While those who are familiar with the classic tale of Red Riding Hood will have a few clues as to where Edmund’s story will lead, the majority of Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress is divergent enough from its “source material” to keep even the hardcore fairytale fanatic guessing until the final page. Focusing on the exploits and adventures of a headstrong, independent, and motorcycle-riding teenage orphan known as Red, Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress reads like a mesh between Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a dash of sparkly vampire (yes, that’s a Twilight reference) for good measure. When Red is called back to Wayward Woods, the town where she was born, her mysterious past is revealed piece by piece. With the help of her childhood friends Ash and Dote and Wayward Woods’ own bad-boy heartthrob, Wolfgang Helheim, Red learns that destiny has chosen her as her generations’ Alpha Huntress, a fabled warrior with great power and great responsibility. Charged as Wayward’s defender from evil and both blessed and cursed with the revelation that she is one of the many werewolves living in her birthplace, Red slowly assembles a trusted group of friends and family who will follow her into battle against a powerful and evil presence from her past that is desperately seeking a way to return to Wayward.
Edmund has written for film, television, comics, and more and easily creates a world of magic and mystical creatures in A Tale of Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress that will surely thrill fans of YA fantasy. Still, Edmund’s strength as a writer really lies in his charismatic characters. Red is a headstrong, intelligent, and brave heroine whose ability to swing a broadsword or transform into a werewolf never consumes or negates her femininity. Her friends, Dote, a slightly off-beat and up-in-coming witch, and the fearful, yet loyal Ash, quickly become indispensable to Red and the reader. And, Wolfgang Helheim, the “big bad wolf” of Edmund’s tale, serves to add both dangerous romance and suspicion as the reader comes to crave his appearance while also waiting to see which side of good and evil the character will ultimately fall. There are a few characters that seem slightly underdeveloped, such as Wayward’s honorable Prince who pledges his rapier to Red’s cause, but given that Edmund intends this book to be the first in a series, one can imagine characters like this one will be expanded on in further volumes.
If you consider yourself a fan of the reinvented fairytale, then do no hesitate to enter the world of A Tale of Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress. Bouncing between Red’s magical discovery of her place and family in Wayward and her often bloody brawls to defend her home from various nefarious villains, the book is sure to deliver on many levels and satisfy readers who desire both bracing action and whimsical fantasy.
A Tale of Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress is currently available for the Kindle or in paperback at Amazon.com. If you’re interested in learning more about Red Riding or its author, Neo Edmund, be sure to stop by the official website and Facebook page. You can also follow Edmund on Twitter (@NeoEdmundx).