Title: Once Upon A Time: Red’s Untold Tale
Author: Wendy Toliver
Published: by Kingswell Teen on September 22, 2015
It’s Wolfstime, the foreboding period around each full moon when villagers must protect their homes and families against the giant, ferocious wolves that roam the forest. On the day Red turned thirteen, Granny gave her a special red cloak upon which a spell had been cast to protect Red from wolves.
Red is now sixteen and is desperately trying to fit in among her peers, save Granny’s failing bakery business, and, of course, protect herself from wolves. Her crush on Peter and her determination not to let the mean girls sabotage her blossoming romance cause Red to make some questionable choices.
Will these choices let the wolves in? Will Red pick the right battle? Will her skills be strong enough to keep her alive?
Red’s Untold Tale is an official canon companion novel to ABC’s Once Upon a Time and it’s written by Wendy Toliver. I received this book as a birthday present from my friend Lily, because she knows how much I love Once Upon A Time and Ruby/Red Riding Hood was my favorite character of the first few seasons. I never read a book written after a TV series (it happened the contrary though), so I didn’t know what to expect.
The story is well written and it’s a prequel of what happened on screen. I really enjoyed reading about how Red started feeling something new for Peter, realizing that she was falling in love with him after a lifelong friendship. The moments they shared together were so cute and magical and they actually made me smile, even if I don’t usually like super romantic scenes.
I didn’t expect it, but the real action came after the first half of the book; before, we just read about a bunch of single episodes in Red’s everyday life and some Wolfstime dreams and flashbacks from her childhood. After this, the story actually started and the plot became absorbing.
At first, I was concerned that Granny’s character was too rude and ill-tempered in the book, but I realized she was exactly the same in the TV series after re-watching a couple of episodes from the first season. It seems I was just too used to see the “newest” badass Granny of the last seasons. I also noticed two main differences. The first one is Red and Peter’s ages: they are 16 in the book, but they look way older in the TV series, even if the two stories are connected. The second one is that Peter isn’t one of the hunters who try to kill the wolf in the TV series, while he always participate to the huntings in the book.
Finally, we don’t have a proper happy ending, since this is a companion novel and the ending comes with the TV series. That’s why I’d recommend this book to someone who is already familiar with Once Upon A Time and Red’s character (that’s not like the Red Riding Hood from the fairy tale we are used to know), I’d also suggest to rewatch episode 01×15 after reading the book, to see the big picture of the entire plot.