posted at Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Reviews, Young Adult
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.Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Fairy Tales, Romance, Science Fiction
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.”
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!
“Iko, are you intentionally blushing?'”