Review: Scarlet, Marissa Meyer

scarletTitle: Scarlet (Goodreads)

Author:  Marissa Meyer (Website) (Twitter)

Rating: ★★★★★

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Details

Series: Lunar Chronicles #2 of 4
Genre: YA Science fiction
Published: Penguin Australia (Puffin in the UK, Feiwel and Friends in USA), February 5, 2013
Pages
(hardcover): 464

Paper copies: Amazon.com (hardcover) • Amazon.co.uk • Book Depository
E-copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble • Bookworld (epub)

Please note: This review is for the second book in this series, and so will contain spoilers for the first book, Cinder. You may wish to go and read my review of Cinder instead!


The Queens ArmyThe Queen’s Army

Before reading Scarlet you may wish to take a look at a short story that comes in as #1.5 in the series. The Queen’s Army is about a young Lunar boy, chosen to be part of Queen Levana’s army. He is physically modified to give him wolfish characteristics and is trained to be a killing machine. The events of this story pave the way for what happens in Scarlet, and gives a bit of background into some of the newer characters.

You can read The Queen’s Army for free at the Tor website! (Goodreads link)

Review

I loved Cinder when I read it early last year, so I couldn’t wait for Scarlet to be released and hoped it would live up to such a fantastic first part of the story. Thankfully, it did!

Scarlet starts almost immediately after the events at the end of Cinder, so here’s a quick recap of where things lie:  Cinder has just crashed the ball, drenched from the rain but determined to tell Kai that the Lunar Queen is planning to kill him after their marriage, if he agrees to it. She confronts Queen Levana and is exposed as a Cyborg. She flees the scene, leaving one of her feet behind her, but is captured and thrown in prison. Doctor Erland, the Lunar who had been working on the cure for the plague, tells her to escape and come meet him in Africa.

As well as continuing Cinder’s story, Scarlet is also based loosely on the story of Red Riding Hood. Scarlet Benoit is a young lady living with her grandmother in rural France. Her grandmother has been kidnapped, and in her search to find her Scarlet meets the curiously vulnerable street-fighter, Wolf. Scarlet’s father turns up desperate and disoriented after having been tortured by the same group that has kidnapped Scarlet’s grandmother, and Wolf agrees to help Scarlet find those responsible. What could her grandmother possibly know that would cause someone to do this to her?

Scarlet’s and Cinder’s stories are very separate throughout most of the book, each following their own path, but it all ties together nicely in the end. Prince (now Emperor) Kai also makes a few appearances so we get to see how he is coping with the growing crises. Kai and Cinder are not actually together so I did miss their delightful romance of the first book, but in Scarlet we get the growing relationship between Wolf and Scarlet instead. Their romance develops over only a couple of days, which feels slightly rushed, but it’s only early days for them so it will be nice to see how they further develop.

Cinder continues to be a kick-arse Cyborg and it was lovely to see the android Iko back in the action. Cinder has an accomplice on her journey through this book – a shallow and a rather comical figure, Captain Carswell Thorne. I loved how he added a lighter side to an otherwise fairly action-packed story.

If you enjoyed Cinder then you should definitely get a hold of Scarlet. Marissa Meyer has continued her story about how just a few people can change the course of worldwide events and I’m not sure how I’m going to wait a whole year for Cress to come out!

Warnings: Violence but otherwise clean.

cinder scarlet cress_dummy Expected pub Feb 2014 winter_dummy Expected pub 2015

What did others think of Scarlet?

  • “If Cinder was about lies and manipulation, then Scarlet‘s focus is on all of the secrets that led up to that.  It’s engrossing and fast-paced, the kind of story you never want to end.” – The Starry-Eyed Revue
  • “For the few of you out there who, like me, were unimpressed by Cinder, I challenge you to give Scarlet a try. It will, undoubtedly, make you eat your former words about this series.” – Ivy Book Bindings
  • “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.” – Stéphanie of Tynga’s Reviews