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.
I have to give it to Ms. Meyer for one again combining your favorite fairy tales with sic-fi/fantasy. Seriously, well done! The Lunar Chronicles is quickly becoming one of my new favorite series and for good reason. It has kick-ass protagonists like Cinder and now Scarlet. When we first met Cinder in book one, she was shy and timid, eventually coming into her own strength. And when I heard that we would be introduced to a new main character, I was a little nervous. I was worried that I’d end up comparing the two and dislike Scarlet. But let me tell you! When Cinder was unsure of herself in the beginning, Scarlet is fierce. Who’s afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf? Not Scarlet.
I should warn you that this review *will* contain spoilers for Cinder. So, if you haven’t read book one…
Scarlet picks up directly after Cinder left off. Cinder’s busy breaking out of jail, Kai is trying to placate Levana (the wretch) and we get to meet Scarlet (yay!). And if you can’t remember the finer details about what happened previously, there is a nice little recap.
The biggest difference between this installment and Cinder is the point-of-view flipping. And with that, you have two different main characters with two separate goals. Scarlet’s is to find her missing grandmother, who was abducted and Cinder’s is to escape from the Eastern Commonwealth and… not get caught. Somewhere along the way their paths intertwine and revelations are had. Now, here’s the thing: Though, overall, I did enjoy Scarlet, there are still a few things I really disliked about it too. Don’t give me that look! There is method to my madness.
Things I liked:
1. The new characters - Along with meeting Scarlet, we also are introduced to two other characters, the wolf, who travels to Paris with Scarlet in search of her grandmother and Carswell Thorne, a womanizer and fugitive that escaped prison with Cinder. I thought they were both great characters, especially Thorne, who I happen to love and hate at the same time. Wolf is a bit more complex because of his past (which I can’t talk about due le spoilers), but I like the mystery surrounding his character.
Scarlet is fantastic. I mean, the girl wears a red hoodie and carries a gun in her belt. Sweet and innocent? *pfft* How about sweet and deadly?
She’s all about action and doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She doesn’t sit back and wait for someone else to save her grandmother. And I think the best way to describe her would be to quote Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus: “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy!” So, while she isn’t a perfect character, she certainly is determined to do whatever it takes to reach her goal. I loved that about her and I think other readers will too or at least respect her spirit.
2. I also really enjoyed the plot and back story. We get to find out more about Cinder’s past and how she ended up ended up on earth and who helped her. I really think Meyer did a good job at telling two different stories and later having them weave together. And I really like seeing Scarlet and Cinder together. I only wish that they had teamed up sooner than the ending.
Things I didn’t like:
1. At times it felt like there was too much story to tell. (Maybe this was just me wanting more from Scarlet.) Even though Scarlet is longer than Cinder, I’d even say that I think that there was too much happening in this installment and not enough time spent developing the new characters or the new relationships, which, incidentally, leads to my next con…
2. I’m not sure I liked Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Since the novel very frequently flips back and forth from Scarlet to Cinder and even Kai, there wasn’t much page time the reader is left developing some kind of connection with their relationship. Actually, they themselves didn’t even have much time developing anything and by the end, I found it all rather cheesy. And while they do both admit that they’ve developed feelings for one another (in a matter of days), it never felt real because I was too busy keeping up with all the story arcs.
3. I missed Kai and Cinder being together. Kai is in the book, but I missed the chemistry they had in Cinder. I think Wolf and Scarlet’s romance was supposed to fill the void temporarily, but since I didn’t really spend much time with them, the sparks never flew for me. Perhaps in book three, Cress, things will be different. But right now, I have my doubts considering it looks like we will be meeting even more characters. I’m starting to wonder if this world is just too big for this series. Ah, well. We’ll see.
‘Cause, yeah, it needs its own section.
Kai. WHY?! WHY? WHY? WHY?
Okay. I think I need a moment to process that ending. *breathes in and out*
Did that just make you want to read this book even more than you already did? Oops.
So, in conclusion, even though I liked Cinder more, Scarlet was still a fun and exciting read. Meyer has built an interesting world, making “old faces” from fairy tales new again. And I know you’re probably giving me dagger eyes for the little bit above, but just think how hard it will be for me to wait for Cress. It’s torture, I tell ya.
ARC was provided by Macmillan. Thank you!