Book Review: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)

Sequels can be really problematic, especially if the first book was intended to be a standalone. Thankfully, Cinder ended with enough cliffhangers that Scarlet feels like it belongs as part of the story. To see my review of Cinder, go here.

As with Cinder and Cinderella, Scarlet takes the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it on its head as it meshes with the unresolved parts of Cinder’s tale. Meyer did a remarkable job weaving the two stories together.

The Story

Scarlet, a vibrant redhead who sells farm fresh vegetables for a living, is searching for her missing grandmother. The police have proved less than helpful, assuming that the woman chose to run away despite all the clues to the contrary. True to the resourceful and determined woman Scarlet is, she takes the matter into her own hands.

Following clues, she meets a man named Wolf who is dangerous in every sense of the word. He’s a powerful fighter, inhumanly strong and fast, and has enhanced senses true to his namesake. He says he might be able to help her find her grandma.

On the other side of the world, Cinder is escaping from prison with the help of her new found lunar gift and a man, Thorne, who becomes her accomplice by accident. She doesn’t know where she’ll go, or what she’ll do, but she’s determined to stay out of the hands of the authorities. As she moves closer to freedom, she starts remembering more and more of her past and is determined to find the truth about her childhood.

Cinder and Scarlet’s pasts are woven together and their paths collide in the search for Scarlet’s grandmother who played an important role in keeping a much younger Cinder safe. But, none of this can be easy. Wolf is part of a secret militia unit and has orders to find and bring Cinder in.

My Review

Overall, the book of Scarlet stays true to all the parts of Cinder that I liked. The female protagonists are both strong women with careers and specialties that make them unique and likable. They have their own goals and are willing to work and sacrifice to meet them. The world continues to stay interesting as we explore new areas in futuristic France – although because we have already seen much of it, it’s not as exciting as when we explored it in Cinder.

Where the book Cinder played heavily into the Cinderella story, Scarlet only takes a handful of stylistic and character cues from Little Red Riding Hood. There’s no clear huntsman character, unless you count the unwitting prisoner that Cinder drags along because he has a spaceship. Where the self centered stepmother in Cinder was played exactly as her Cinderella counterpart, the Wolf counterpart in Scarlet is surprisingly complex.

My biggest struggle with reading Scarlet was swapping between the points of view between two strong female protagonists. While it was executed perfectly, both spoke and acted in unique ways that were different from each other, I found myself getting confused with which girl I was reading because their goals were fairly similar. They both were following clues and trying to find the same woman.

Recommendations

This is a solid fun read. If you liked Cinder for the adventure and action in a futuristic world, you’ll like Scarlet for the same reasons. However, if you loved Cinder for its princess story, beautiful palace, fancy dresses, and Prince Kai – you’ll find very little of that world here.

There is some icky violence and depictions of gore in this one, far more than in Cinder so be warned. However, there’s still no swearing and all the romantic leanings and feelings never progress to anything more. But – there’s a heaping pile of teenage angst that comes with Scarlet, so if that’s something you love, yay. If not, I told you so.

I give Scarlet 4 out of 5 stars – fun and lives up to expectations.


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