January 30, 2013 by Heidi
Title: Scarlet [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Marissa Meyer [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: The Lunar Chronicles Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi, Retelling, Fairy Tale
Published: February 5th, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Format: Hardcover; 464 pages
Source: ARC from publisher.
Spoilers!: Believe it or not kids, this review is SPOILER FREE for BOTH Cinder and Scarlet. I want to see new people pick up this series–I’m pretty sure 95% of those who read Cinder are already frothing at the mouth for this one.
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
About the last thing the internet needs right now is more cat videos, but I never really get sick of them, so what can you do? If we narrow the internet down to readers, YA readers in particular, about the last thing we need is another review talking about how awesome Scarlet is. But we just can’t help ourselves, because let me let tell you–it is awesome. Scarlet is one of those rare second books in a series that are working to redefine second book syndrome for the better–it’s even more fun and engaging than its predecessor.
You should check out Scarlet if:
- You love Bill Willingham’s Fables. Okay…specifically, if you love Bigby Wolf. A big bad wolf who can just as easily go on a murdering rampage as protect someone? Yeah, Scarlet’s got one. Wolf is one of those terrifyingly beautiful characters that you can’t help but falling in love with, even though you know it’s dangerous. You know that he could literally rip your heart out, and are all too aware that he may not be entirely in control. Usually these wolf boys just need the right type of girl to handle them. For Bigby it’s Snow, but for Wolf it’s Scarlet. Even in the original Red Riding Hood, the wolf doesn’t end up getting the better of Red in the end, and it’s quite obvious from the beginning that Scarlet won’t be gobbled up so easily.
- You don’t like SciFi. I’ve known multiple readers to shy away from this series once they realize that it involves cyborgs, people from the moon, and robots. I’m here to assure you those aren’t valid reasons to stay away–no matter how ridiculous that sounds. The Lunar Chronicles is in no way hard SciFi–in fact, it’s a fairly genre bending series. My biggest issue with it may be that I feel some of the “science” isn’t explained well enough, and verges over into fantasy land, but I have less and less issue with this as we move forward because I’m so busy being engaged in Scarlet‘s fast paced plot and stunning characters.
- You don’t like fairy tales. Yes, each book in The Lunar Chronicles takes on a new fairy tale and retells it. Not a fan of works like Shannon Hale’s middle grade retellings? Well, first off–let me go breathe into a paper bag for a minute because I need to talk myself off a ‘you’re crazy’ rampage–but secondly, that’s perfectly valid (says the librarian in me). Fairy tales really aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Here’s the thing–Marissa Meyer utilizes a very bare bones structure when forming her tales. It’s so easy to get lost in the story and forget that you’re reading about a cyborg Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood trying to get to Grandma, and that’s the way she intended it. I feel as if the subtle connections between the major aspects of these fairy tales and The Lunar Chronicles are like shiny little Easter eggs for those of us who love these tales, but it’s also a great way to mostly forget that you ‘know’ the story you’re reading.
- You like to fall in love with an unexpected character. I’m not talking about Wolf again–because let’s face it, I’m a sucker for wolf boys and we all know it by now. I’m talking about Thorne. Thorne is my absolute favorite character from Scarlet, largely because I didn’t see him coming. Or rather, even if I’d known he was going to be there, I’d have expected to hate him. You see readers, Thorne is a bit of a smarmy bastard. Usually, I hate smarmy. I want to smack smarmy right off that man’s face. But that man isn’t Captain Throne. Thorne balances his smarm by being utterly ridiculous and slightly insane. You can’t be completely confident in his confidence. He manages to bring an unexpected element along with a large dose of humor to the story, making him that ultimate sidekick. I really want to meet the woman who can handle Thorne–personally, I’m banking my hopes on Cress (Rapunzel’s castle was surrounded by thorns, was it not?).
In fact, I have to say that The Lunar Chronicles has something for everyone. Like bad boys? There’s Wolf. Like good guys? There’s Prince Kai. Like the class clown? There’s Thorne. Like smart resourceful chicks? There’s Cinder. Like headstrong scrappy girls? There’s Scarlet. Like a villain that makes you so mad you shake with rage? There’s Queen Lavana. Sure, there’s elements not every reader will love, but I can’t help but pushing everyone to give Cinder and Scarlet a chance–you can take it up with me if you regret it.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Gah!!! I cannot wait for Cress!! Like I said, I want to meet this chick, and also feel like Rapunzel is one of the fairy tale women that gets overlooked a lot. I want to know what a pain her hair is.
Get a second opinion:
Angieville – “I kind of have a thing for this book.”
Alexa Loves Books – “this book is perfection to me.”
Good Books and Good Wine – “it makes me want to keysmash all kinds of words of love”
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Category Review, Young Adult | Tags: China, Cinderella, cyborg, fairy tale, Feiwel and Friends, France, futuristic, genre bending, Little Red Riding Hood, Macmillan, retelling, review, right to the moon, sci fi, wolf boy, young adult