Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Also by this author: Heartless, Renegades
Series: The Lunar Chronicles,
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Also in this series: Winter
Goodreads Synopsis: 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. 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.
My Review of Scarlet:
The Lunar Chronicles series is definitely one of the most original and entertaining retellings I’ve come across in recent years. As was the case when I read Cinder, I totally flew through the 450+ pages of Scarlet in just a couple of day because the story being told is just so darn good! I also love that even though this series is a fairytale retelling, it doesn’t really feel like we’re just rehashing a story that has already been told. Meyer may use those fairytale characters as the jumping off point for her story and may incorporate a few elements here and there — like little shoutouts to those fairy tales – but her story is truly an original. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before and I love that freshness about it.
As you can probably guess from the title, Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with Scarlet in the Red Riding Hood role (complete with fiery hair and a little red hoodie that she loves to wear). As with the original Red Riding Hood tale, there is also a grandmother who is in danger, as well as a wolf (well, a character named Wolf anyway). From there, as I said, the story takes off on a completely original path that eventually ties it in to Cinder’s story from the first book in the series.
Things I Loved:
Strong Women: I have to say I loved Scarlet every bit as much as I loved Cinder. They’re quite different from each other in the sense that Scarlet tends to be more brazen and rash than Cinder, but bottom line, they’re both fiercely protective of those they love and are determined to stop anyone who means them harm. It’s great to have these two strong, smart females leading the series.
The Plot Thickens: I especially loved how effectively Meyer begins this second book with a whole set of new characters and a whole new storyline. Scarlet is trying to find out what has happened to her grandmother, who has mysteriously gone missing early on in the book. Along the way, Scarlet meets this odd Wolf character and enlisted him to help her. As their story unfolds, Meyer weaves the tale in such a way that it seamlessly entwines with the storyline from the first book in the series, and all of the major players in both books end up working together.
Chemistry: Let me start here by saying that I think The Lunar Chronicles series so far has been, for me anyway, the perfect mix of action and epic adventure with a hint of romantic potential thrown in to spice things up. I found Scarlet and Wolf to be just as likable as a potential pairing as I did Cinder and Prince Kai from the first book.
What kind of surprised me though was how much I LOVED newcomer “Captain” Carswell Thorne. who was charming in his own roguish, kind of clueless way and who often provided a bit of comic relief throughout the story. I think he’s meant to be a minor player, but in many ways, he steals the show as soon as he appears in the story when Cinder comes across him trying to download porn in prison. He and Cinder accidentally cross paths after Cinder is imprisoned at the end of the first book, and they decide to break out of prison together. Adventure ensues (as well as a great deal of chemistry, in my opinion). Even though Cinder clearly has feelings for Prince Kai, I actually have to confess that I found myself shipping her a bit with Thorne. I’m probably the only reader on the planet who did, but I just loved their banter and found their interactions to be a lot more natural and realistic than I found those between Cinder and Kai in the first book. I’m curious to see who, if anyone, Cinder ends up paired with, but at this point, I’d be cool with either Thorne or Kai.
Plot Twists: I don’t want to give any important plot details away, so I’m just going to say that If you like plot twists, you’ll love Scarlet then because it’s full of them! All I’ll say is that if you thought the idea of Cinderella as a Cyborg was WOW!, wait until you see how Meyer pays homage to the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. It’s mind blowing!
Anything I Didn’t Love:
Queen LeVana: Ugh, I also didn’t think it was possible to loathe Queen LeVana anymore than I did in Cinder, but yep, it’s definitely possible. She is just pure evil and I can’t wait to read the next book in hopes that Cinder, Scarlet, and their companions finally take her down once and for all.
If you’re looking for a truly unique read, definitely give The Lunar Chronicles a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
I really enjoyed this book as well and can’t wait to get to the next instalment. I’ve been buddy reading with a real life friend and we need to find the time to write our review of this one before we can move on though!
I jumped into this series after picking up Heartless and LOVING it and I’m so glad that I did!!! Meyer is fantastic at retellings/reimaginings and is quickly becoming a new favourite author.
I still haven’t read Heartless yet, but I definitely plan to once I finish this series. It’s turning out to be one of my favorite series of all time.
This is such a timely review because I am just about to pick up Scarlet! I finished up Cinder last week and also completely flew threw it; this series seems like it is so unique and I definitely underestimated it (oops). So glad to see you enjoyed Scarlet so much as well! I can’t wait to dive in. 🙂
I’m glad I’m not the only one who under-estimated it. I’ve put off reading The Lunar Chronicles for ages that exact reason and I’ve just been so pleasantly surprised ever since I finally started reading it.
Oh gosh, I love Thorne. I’m glad you are loving this series. I STILL need to read Winter, but hopefully I can find the time sometime soon. I’m excited though.
Thorne is awesome! I’ve got Cress in my TBR pile now so hoping to get back to this series very soon.
I love this series so much!! Glad you enjoyed Scarlet and hope you love the rest. WInter is the best 🙂
OMG, it’s such a brilliant series. I really can’t wait to read Cress and Winter.
So happy you loved this one and I can only agree wholeheartedly with your reasons for loving this 🙂 Hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the series as well!
It’s so brilliant! If I were ever to write a series, this is the kind of series I’d want to write. Can’t wait to read the next 2 books!
I ADORE THIS SERIES! Ugh, Queen L definitely gets worse with each book! I kind of assumed Scarlet was a blend of Little Red and Beauty and the Beast, but I have no idea for sure. OMG Captain THORNE! He was my favorite character probably, but I didn’t really ship him with Cinder, although I can absolutely see why you would. Great review! 🙂
It’s such a great series. I’m guessing I’m probably one of the few who saw ship possibilities between Cinder and Thorne. I’m just weird like that with my ships, haha. I can’t wait to read the next book!