‘Kin‘ by Lili St. Crow was first published in 2015. It is a modern day, supernatural retelling of the popular fairytale, ‘Little Red Hiding Hood‘. It’s the third story in the ‘Tales of Beauty and Madness‘ series. [you can buy a copy here!]
The novel follows Ruby de Varre as she faces the prospect of growing up to be Clanmother, potentially getting betrothed before college, and starting a family to continue the de Varre rootfamily bloodline.
This book is a thrilling and twisted paranormal take on the classic fairytale, full of more werewolves than you can poke a stick at. Although you probably shouldn’t do that if you want to keep your limbs. It was just as delightfully spooky as the previous two. And loosely followed the fairytale it was inspired by. Due to this I did predict quite a few of the main plot points. Thankfully how they came about was still completely fresh and original. I didn’t know how something would happen, just that it would (which is better than it sounds, promise).
Ruby de Varre blossoms under pressure in this instalment, and we see beneath the stubborn, cocksure veneer of a girl which we’ve seen in the previous two books. She tries to keep up so many different images of herself for numerous people, including her best friends and her grandmother. But is finally starting to crack under the pressure. These cracks are what facilitate things going wrong in her life, which I thought was a very realistic depiction of one’s life falling apart.
Facing pressure from her Gran, the Woodsdowne Clanmother, to be more responsible, Ruby struggles to become a good leader. She is being trained to takeover one day, and no-one seems to think she can do it; not even Ruby herself. Again, I thought this was a really well thought out depiction of a person’s internal struggles. There are times when you just don’t believe in yourself, and you believe that no-one else believes in you either. It’s not always true, but it can be very damaging.
This also ties into Ruby’s relationship with Cami and Ellie; which we’ve already seen from the two other viewpoints. Now we see that Ruby also thinks the other two are better off without her, and that she is the third wheel. I think it really speaks of teen relationships that each of the three girls doubts why the other two hang out with them. Some readers will probably find this insecurity annoying, but I rather liked that it was something the three friends had in common.
Anyway, one of the things that I’ve absolutely loved about this series is the depiction of New Haven. The world just feels so alive and deadly. Very little characterisation or world building is needed. The world simply exists, and I felt its pull all throughout Ruby’s story.
The same goes for the werewolf stuff. I found myself wanting to know so much more about Ruby’s kin; more about rootfamily, their traditions, their history, and the politics of it all. But something I didn’t like was how we only saw brief glimpses of it all, until the very end. And then it just ended. I wanted more werewolf stuff. Seriously, St Crow, get on it!
Oohh. Honestly, Ruby. I loved Thorne too, but he’s not in it that much. As I said above, Ruby is an incredibly interesting character. She appears very two dimensional in the previous two books, but from her perspective you learn a lot more about her. She’s loyal, and fierce, and a better person than she thinks.
When Ruby stands up against her Kin, showing everyone that she is indeed stronger than they all think, and that she has what it takes to be Clanmother one day. It’s pretty epic, and I just loved that she finally came into her own.
“Oh nothing. I’m just probably going to be married off or collared because Gran thinks I’m too Wild. After expecting me to be Wild enough to qualify as rootfamily for years. When really I’m not Wild enough, and not sub enough to be calm and collected. Stuck in between. No big deal.”
Please let me know what you thought of my review, and also of the book, if you’ve read it! More book reviews are coming, so keep an eye out!