Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 454 pages
Publisher: Macmillan (Feiwel & Friends)
Release date: February 5, 2013
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
Source: Personal shelf
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.
Oh my… wow! I have no words to describe how much I adored this book. I can’t believe I enjoyed SCARLET more than CINDER, the first book of The Lunar Chronicles. CINDER was my favorite YA book of 2012 so it’s not surprised that SCARLET was one of my most anticipated YA books of 2013. And after reading more than half the book on release day, I knew even then that it would make one of my top 10 lists of 2013. I have only one regret: reading it too quickly!
I’m glad the author stuck with the theme of reworking fairytales to suit her needs. While I wouldn’t qualify these books as retellings, Marissa Meyer does inspire her books from themes of the famous fairytales. As you can imagine, CINDER is based on Cinderella, while SCARLET is inspired by The Little Red Riding Hood.
When I first realized the sequel to CINDER wasn’t going to concentrate on Cinder and that we would be introduced to another main character, I was a little disappointed. Since Cinder was such a wonderful character, I wanted/expected the whole series to be about her and Prince Kai, and not just have bits and pieces of her story in the sequel. However, now that I’ve finished, I wish we could have had more scenes with Scarlet and Wolf. Their chemistry is absolutely perfect and the secrets in their relationship makes it so much more interesting. Wolf might or might not be the Big Bad Wolf of the story but his duplicity will no doubt bother you as much as it bothered me. Their ancestry might be very similar, but I think what makes their relationship so attractive is the fact that they are from two completely different worlds.
The quasi-relationship we saw bloom in the first book between Cinder and Kai is sidelined in SCARLET because the two never come in contact. Cinder is a fugitive on the run and Kai is responsible of capturing her, in order to ensure the safety of his country. I hope we see them reunited in the next book because their relationship is without a doubt the most important one in this series.
I’m glad the author decided to “resurrect” Iko, Cinder’s robot friend/side-kick, no matter how large her new “body” may be. The comic relief Iko provides is, in my opinion, necessary, because this book is more somber and has some graphic and gory scenes. Of course, a sci-fi book is never complete without some sort of artificial intelligence and the fact Iko plays the role of fairy-godmother in book one, she couldn’t have been killed off so easily.
While book one centered on New Beijing (the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth, one of the 5 countries of this new version of Earth), in this book we are privileged to a wider view of the world. Scarlet’s story is mostly held in what used to be France, a dramatic change in setting from book one. Despite learning a lot about this world, I think Marissa Meyer has a lot more to reveal in the next two books. Of course, Luna still remains quite a mystery despite the new revelations in SCARLET.
If I still haven’t convinced you to read this series with this review, then just take my word for it. SCARLET will take you on an adventure where darts coming out of fingers can almost be considered normal and where the little red riding hood isn’t as gullible as we thought she was. I simply adored this book and I hope you will too!