Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles 2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 5 Stars
Amazon Summary: 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.
My Review – Note, mostly pretty spoiler-free. No small task!
I continue to be pleasantly surprised by ms. Meyers fairy tale adaptations. The weaving in of Lil Ms Hood was something that we knew was coming, but that didn’t make it less enjoyable. And what was best was that she’s given us TWO kickass, female MCs…a personal fave. I also have to say that I was partial to Scarlett right away. We curly-haired gals have to stick together.
Overall I have to say that this didn’t suffer from “bridge book syndrome,” despite being a lot of backstory and weaving of pieces. (It is a four-a-gy, not a trilogy, after all.) I found it pretty action-packed and page-turning. Please be aware that I do cringe at the use of cliches, but that doesn’t make them less true in this case. So what exactly did I love so much about Scarlet? In honor of Valentine’s Day…let me count the ways…
1.) Smolder factor. One of the things that stuck with me after reading this book was the smolder factor between Scarlett and her, ahem, “man.” Now, smolder can be anything from a good build-up with a lot of longing (preferably avoiding actual use of the word, “longing”), to little bits and suggestions that keep you bothered and reading, to actual tasty details. Meyer’s couple, though a quick pairing, has HEAT. I liked.
2.) Cinder. She continues to be the bewildered but somehow kickass girl she was in the first story. I have to say that for the first thirty pages or so I was like, “Where the f*** is Cinder?” I knew the L.R.R.H. premise was coming in Scarlett and the backstory on her necessary, but I was dying for more Cinder…and then she dropped from the sky. Loved. And her struggle with being Lunar continues to be interesting. I love the idea…what if you lived in a society that despised certain members and then you learned that you were one of them? How much would you loathe yourself? What if you became an outcast? Cinder’s already being an outcast makes the revelation both worse and better. Worse because her life already sucked enough and better because at least she was already used to it as a cyborg.
3.) IKO!!! I LOVE IKO and I want her myself! When she was resurrected as Thorne’s ship I was thrilled, not to mention entertained. Iko is always the comic relief and I enjoyed her character a great deal in this book.
4.) Thorne. I really enjoyed the addition of Thorne. An egotistical scallywag is always fun. He’s definitely Han to her Leah…in his mind – ha!
5.) Levana. We finally get a glimpse into Lavana’s evil brain, though I still find a purity of evil and nothing else. And by that I mean her reasoning for such cruelty. I usually like my villains multi-dimensional. BUT it is a fairy tale after all and my favorite fairy tale villainesses are nothing but evil. So I have to amend my statement in my Cinder review to say that Levana is a perfect evil queen.
6.) Kai. And then there is Kai. Is it an accident that Kai rhymes with “sigh?” Methinks not. What makes him so great? He’s a loving son and a kind man who is solicitous of women. He’s committed to his people, he’s open-minded and thoughtful… He would make an excellent mother. One of the best scenes is the one with Kai, Adri, and Pearl. Adri and Pearl’s disgusting, self-serving, obnoxious behavior makes him ill. (I always love Cinderella adaptations that show the Prince hating her horrifying stepmother.) He can’t marry Levana!!
7.) World-Building. I find Ms. Meyer’s world-building tremendously detailed and interesting, as well as plausible enough to root a fairy tale in “reality.” I like her interpretations of the natural progress of regional developments taking place right now. (ie – Decline of America and Europe, the subsequent rise and fall of Asia, with Africa as the shining continent “on the hill,” at this point, if you will. Given that Meyer seems intent on taking the story to this new Africa at some point, I’m very interested to see it through her eyes. New Bejing is already fascinating.
8.) Action. Finally, after all the rest of that awesome character stuff, there is a lot of ACTION! There are twists and turns, as well traditional takes on the fairy tale that catch you off-guard as much as the twists. With this much action and build-up, I’m not sure how Meyer will navigate two more books, but she obviously has the entire tale in her mind and so far, she hasn’t done me wrong.
After a decade of being held off by Kai’s father Levana has launched her first battle in the war. Will Earth survive? I look forward to finding out.