(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
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, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Scarlet is pretty much everything you’d expect from Marissa Meyer: fast-paced, lots of plot twists, great characters and a seamless blending of fairytale and science fiction. With that said, it’s still not as good as Cinder.
I’ll start with the new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a pretty good character and goes through an interesting character arc throughout her travels with Wolf. I wouldn’t say she stands among the legions of amazingly memorable characters like Claudius, Katniss, Marco or Ish, but she certainly isn’t a Mary Sue. Personally, I liked Wolf much better than Scarlet because he had a lot more depth. At first he’s your tortured, brooding streetfighter, but as the book goes on, we get introduced to his background and see Wolf change both through his actions and words. Cinder, of course, is still as resourceful and intelligent as ever; I have no complaints about her.
The plot is pretty fast-paced, but Marissa Meyer makes sure that she inserts a little bit of backstory to remind readers of the events of Cinder. This was especially helpful for me since I haven’t read Cinder in nearly a year. So, memory jogged, readers will move along quickly and discover lots of incredible plot twists along the way. Red herrings, betrayal, escape…just about everything a good plot requires. Scarlet also ends on an interesting enough cliffhanger that I want Cress right now. Unfortunately it isn’t out until 2014, but apparently it features Rapunzel.
Much like Cinder, Scarlet carefully blends the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf into a science fiction narrative. It doesn’t really feel contrived either, so the growing connection between Scarlet and Wolf was satisfying for me. However, the reason I don’t like Scarlet as much as the first book is that it seemed to lack heart. Marissa Meyer had great characters, a great plot, her usual great world-building, but there wasn’t that oomph that was present in Cinder. Overall, it was a good story, but I wouldn’t call it great.
I give this book 4/5 stars.