Review: Scarlet

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ScarletScarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Fairy Tales, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 454
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

First Sentence: “Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: ‘Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons.”

Review:
When picking up the sequel to a book you adored, there’s always a little frisson of fear that the book might disappoint. This fear increases tenfold when the new book focuses on a different character than the first. I love Cinder, so I admit to a bit of concern as to whether I would like Scarlet as much as a character. Introducing a new cast can be really difficult to get right, but Meyer did so brilliantly.

Turns out that I actually like the new cast even better, though I’m sure not everyone will feel the same. Scarlet, like Cinder, is a powerful girl, who will not let anyone stop her from doing what she feels she needs to do. In this case, what she needs is to locate her grandmother, missing two weeks. The authorities don’t care, seeming to think that her former military grandma just wandered off and forgot where her house was. Scarlet knows better and she will get her grandmother back, even if it means facing danger and relying on unsavory characters.

Enter Wolf, a street fighter, who knows more than he’s willing to let on about the group that took her grandmother. Scarlet doesn’t know if he’s trustworthy, but he’s the best resource she has to try to rescue her grandmother. I actually really liked their relationship, and the complexities of Wolf’s character, except for one thing. They definitely flirt far too much with instalove. Everything gets serious a bit too fast, because, despite the book’s length, there are a lot of things going on, and not much time for falling in love. I really like them (perhaps because they remind me of The Tenth Kingdom), but they got a bit too cutesy and I would have liked them to have more time to develop romantic feelings naturally.

In fact, though the new cast members do get more screen time, Cinder remains a main character and we get to spend quite a bit of time with her. Iko, Kai, and Levana all make appearances as well. The rotating third person narrative worked quite well for the most part, though Kai’s narratives tended to bore me. I like Kai, but he’s not as interesting as the other characters in play, and he doesn’t really get any character development in Scarlet.

As with Cinder, the characters that will really steal your heart are secondary. Iko continues to be completely delightful, especially in her new form. She still fangirls with the best of them over Prince Kai, and is still just as vain, hilarious, and flirty as before. Perhaps my favorite scene occurs when she interacts with Captain Thorne, another new cast member. They have a lot in common, both focused huge flirts and clowns, and they are incredibly funny together. Captain Thorne serves to lighten the mood, keeping even scary scenes funny, and he is just delightfully unscrupulous when it comes to pretty women or items worth stealing.

The world building remains utterly brilliant. I just cannot get enough of the mix of fairy tales and science fiction, and Meyer is a master of blending these elements into a cohesive, dark, magical whole. Meyer raises the stakes in Scarlet, global tensions rising and danger much closer to the forefront. The directions Meyer’s taking the story and the characters gives me every expectation that the next book will be even more dynamic and powerful.

With Scarlet, Marissa Meyer has cemented herself as one of my very favorite authors. Cinder was great, but Scarlet blows it out of the water. I absolutely love this book and this series, and cannot wait for more!

Favorite Quote:

“Iko, are you intentionally blushing?'”

31 responses to “Review: Scarlet”

  1. Yayayay!! I’m so excited for this one. Having a great secondary cast is wonderful :). I am a little apprehensive re: Scarlet/Wolf instalove, because I’ve read other reviews that have said similar things about their romance, but I’m glad that didn’t bring down your rating a lot.

    • Christina says:

      Yes, I love when their are great characters on the side, and not just the MCs. Scarlet and Wolf’s instalove is disappointing, because, up until that point, I really loved them, and they could have had a great slow burn. I really just love this world SO MUCH.

  2. I quit this one half way through. It was just dragging on for me. I didn’t really mind Scarlet at all, it’s just the story was moving too slow. I will still be buying a copy when it comes out. Hopefully I like it better later.

    • Christina says:

      Ah, I guess I can see that. Meyer would have to work pretty hard to make me not love this. The whole fairy tale/sci-fi genre mash up is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

  3. I just don’t understand. Does Cinder’s story tie into Scarlet’s or are they two separate stories. Could you explain the relationship? I’ve been puzzled ever since I read the blurb, last year.

    • Christina says:

      Oh, they tie together, Gina! They’re separate but meet eventually. There’s more of a focus on Scarlet than on Cinder, but both are very important. Kai’s on the backburner.

  4. Ash says:

    I have yet to read Cinder…shame on me… Scarlet looks great. I really have to get started on the books.

  5. Lynn K. says:

    Military grandmother…? That sounds epic! O.O Cinder was good and I liked it a lot but just didn’t quite love it. I have a feeling I might love Scarlet though, judging from the points in your review. Wolves <3

    • Christina says:

      Right? I adore sassy grandmothers, and she definitely qualifies, even if the reader doesn’t get to spend too much time with her. Cinder wasn’t quite perfect, but I had hopes of things just getting better.

  6. KM says:

    My jealousy overfloweth. I want to read this book so badly!!! I’m so glad it’s good – I was worried about the new characters too. The wait until February might kill me lol

  7. Wow this sounds so good! I have yet to read Cinder 🙂 But people said it was amazing 🙂 So can’t wait 🙂 Great review 🙂

  8. Tricia C. says:

    I only read a few pages of Cinder before it was highjacked by one of my students. I really want to read it and am actually glad that I’ve waited so that now I can read Cinder and Scarlet one right after the other. I’ll have to keep Scarlet at home though until I’ve read it. Otherwise, a seventh grader will abscond with it!

  9. Eee, 4.5 stars?! Yay. I’m not reading this review yet because I feel like I can FINALLY break this one out soon, but I am thrilled to see you enjoyed it! Yay.

    • Christina says:

      Ha, I understand that. Yeah, I imagine that some people won’t like this one as much as I did, but, seriously, this world is like everything I could ever possibly want.

  10. 4.5! W00T! I agree with you on the instalove between Scarlet and Wolf. That was the biggest disappointment in the novel for me. Though, obvious, not enough to have me dislike the story. The story seems to be getting bigger and bigger with every book, so I’m really curious on how Marissa will handle all these characters and end this series!

    • Christina says:

      For me as well. It’s such a shame, because I was buying into their relationship until the end. Oy. I also didn’t like how it came off like Twilight werewolf imprinting. Eugh. I want the next one NOW.

  11. Eli Yanti says:

    another great book, I must read this one ,thanks for the review

  12. Kat Balcombe says:

    Yay for awesome world building. I must read Cinder soon, but I keep getting distracted – knowing the second book is also good is a great incentive to stop getting distracted by….ooooohhh shiny pretty….

    I actually like the idea of a new cast of characters, especially as it sounds like it ties in really well!

    • Christina says:

      OMG, Kat, you must, because I think you will really like it. PUT DOWN THE SHINY!

      Yes, when done right, the new cast tends to be a really great narrative device.

  13. Alina says:

    I’m sooo looking forward to reading Scarlet. New characters and a red riding hood twist, this is going to be an interesting series. Thanks for the review!

  14. Bea Tejano says:

    I’m currently reading Cinder, so I’m so freaking excited for this one!!!!:)

  15. Jaime Lester says:

    I am going to read Cinder as fast as possible so that I can read Scarlet. Now that I am hearing how good it is, even with the character switch, I am ready to take a chance on this series. I love the sound of them, I think I will love them when I read them, and I am a huge fan of the covers! Thanks for the review!

  16. I’m hesistant about reading a book where the series’ star is not the main POV anymore, but it seems that Scarlet is likeable and kickass as well.

  17. So, basically you just sold The Tenth Kingdom by saying Scarlet and Wolf remind you of it, so now I know I NEED TO READ THAT BOOK because I LOVE LOVE LOVED Scarlet and Wolf. And yeah, I actually liked them better than Kai and Cinder. And yes yes oh my goodness Iko! She’s the best! And Thorne! He’s so silly!

    LOVE this review. <3

  18. Jean Franke says:

    Just finished reading Scarlet. Yes, the beginning is a little slow. But hang in there. Last night I picked it up at page 321 and couldn’t put this down to go to sleep until 90 pages later – during which time Scarlett, Wolf, Cinder, Captain Thorne, and Iko were kicking some ass although few went unscathed.
    When the scene shifted to Kai then I figured I could sleep, finally, but had to finish the book first thing in the morning.
    Insta-love? I think more insta-attraction. Scarlett was attracted but still questioning and doubtful even through last nights portions of the book. And they were still somewhat tentatively dancing around exploring feelings this morning.
    And while Cinder is good, this book is better. There are two more sequals listed – Cress due in 2014 and Winter due in 2015. Hard to wait. I suspect that – like with the Harry Potter series – I will want to reread the whole series when it is complete, if not every time an additional book comes available.
    One thing I don’t get in the world-building is how the Eastern Commonwealth ended up with an emperor – even Japan’s emperor is only on paper these days, and it is hard to imagine this in post-modern China. Maybe just because the author needed it for the story-line and Queen Levana’s plans for earth.

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