Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Square Fish on February 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison—even though she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive if she does—in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is a wonderful sequel to a wonderful series that was, most definitely, a wonderful idea to read in 2015.
I took a long break between reading Cinder and Scarlet, and I’m really mad at myself because of this. Turns out, that as much as I loved Cinder and Kai and the world of New Beijing, I was so pleased with how Meyer introduced new characters and settings so seamlessly into the series without losing the focus of the story and ruining connections made with characters from Cinder. Because Wolf is fascinating, Thorne is a constant ball of entertainment, and Scarlet is just a serious badass.
And I don’t mean badass as in a kick-butt-throw-punches kind of girl (though I know she can hold her own) but more in a “So my grandmother’s gone missing and it might be because of a weird wolf gang living in Paris? Let’s do this,” kind of badass. There’s no hesitation with Scarlet like there was with Cinder in the first novel. There’s just plenty of blind focus, which is what I admire about Scarlet. Why? Because, like Thorne, she’s human. There’s nothing about her that’s “special” by galactic standards, and so she’s a bit more admirable, in my opinion.
But let’s talk about plot for a moment. Just as Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella, Scarlet is, as I’m sure you can piece together, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Complete with a red hoodie, Scarlet is on a mission to find her missing grandmother and finds help from an unlikely source, a roughened street fighter named Wolf who may know more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. But woven throughout their action-filled story are bits of Cinder’s side and her travels with the enigmatic Captain Carswell Thorne, as well as Kai’s political dealings back in New Beijing as he continues to fight off Queen Levana’s advances.
And Meyer doesn’t shy away from violence in Scarlet, especially towards the end of the novel. And while some people found this to be a bit off-putting about the novel, I think it adds a refreshing amount of realism to such a science fiction-based book. These characters are all on the brink of war. Having everything stay blood-free would actually be a bit disappointing. Meyer’s use of violence to escalate the plot line had its desired affect of making everything about Cinder and Scarlet’s timeline seem that much more important and rushed.
Basically, I’m not putting The Lunar Chronicles series down anytime soon. Next up, an upgraded Rapunzel!