Scarlet -- Marissa Meyer
Book 2 in Lunar Chronicles series
2013 Release -- Feiwel & Friends
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Futuristic, Romance
Based on Little Red Riding Hood
I didn’t write a review for Cinder, mainly because I read it very quickly and just couldn’t think of anything to say about it to the point that I chose to just let my rating sit there and proclaim my like for it--I figured that was good enough.
As for Scarlet, it’s kind of sort of part of some Reading Challenges to write a review, or something like a review, for this book. So that’s why this post exists right now.
Surprisingly, I expected to like Scarlet a whole lot more than I liked Cinder if only because our titular character, Scarlet, sounds like the typical kickass heroine I love to read about.
And while that was certainly true, there was just something about Scarlet (the book) that didn’t quite hit the spot for me and I realized that I happened to like Cinder (the book) more for enjoyability’s sake. Why? I’m not certain I know. But I think it might have to do with the quieter and and less eventful, less exciting narration of Scarlet. Don’t get me wrong, there is immense story progression and lots of excellent character development (specifically with Cinder). This second book of the Lunar Chronicles just seemed to have a quieter tone to it despite the many, many things that go on… and yes, also despite all the bloodshed.
The book picks up where Cinder left off and begins a new chapter to the adventure with the introduction of Scarlet (the character). While Cinder is being held prisoner in New Beijing and planning her escape with fellow prisoner, Carswell Thorne, Scarlet is going through her own stressful time with her grandmother gone missing and everyone around her acting like general assholes. She then finds out that her grandmother had been kidnapped because of her knowledge of the missing Princess Selene. Coming across Wolf, a mysterious street fighter with an underlying viciousness about him, the two set off to find Scarlet’s grandmother.
Meanwhile, Cinder and Carswell Thorne are making their escape and planning Cinder’s next line of action, deciding to head to France in order to find Michelle Benoit, Scarlet’s grandmother, also because of her knowledge of Princess Selene.
Meanwhile redux, Queen Levana is still on a mission to find anyway possible to make life much more miserable for newly coronated Emperor Kai, the people of New Beijing, and for everyone on Earth in general. With Cinder’s escape, her inflexibility pertaining to the treaty alliance, as well as Kai’s refusal to marry her, the Lunar Queen pretty much has enough reason in her twisted mind to go to war with Earth.
I have several random bullet point thoughts I’d written down and wasn’t sure how to organize my thoughts properly, so I figured why not just draw up a list of unorganized items.
So here we go:
- About the story itself, as I’d mentioned, Scarlet had excellent progression and development. But on a likability level, Cinder had more “pull” to attractiveness… if that even makes any sense.
- I absolutely loved Cinder’s development between Book 1 and Book 2. In Cinder, I thought that, despite her toughness, Cinder was still a bit of a pushover. I mean, I get that she didn’t really have much in the form of choices in her life being a cyborg owned by someone and all. But if we could have had a Cinder and her current personality in Book 2 living in the shoes of the Book 1 Cinder, I wonder if things wouldn’t have been more interesting. In Scarlet, she’s ALL tough without the meekness and it’s pretty badass.
- On that note, alongside Cinder having grown more in spunk and snark, I feel like there is more personality in the characters of Scarlet (the book) altogether. Everyone seems more fun or more insightful or more inspiring.
- The book’s pacing was smooth, though I didn’t have that physical need to keep reading at all times… I’m not sure what that says about the book itself though. O.o
- Scarlet is pretty kickass… but that seems to be all there is to her. She’s strong and she’s strong… and she’s resourceful. And she’s strong. And she’s just genuinely fully-developed kickass. Her lack of faith in other people aside, she doesn’t seem to present too many flaws. And that, unfortunately, makes her just a smidge boring, though I still thought she was pretty badass as well.
The next three items are about Wolf. If anything, I think Wolf (second to the Cinder-Thorne comedy duo), is really the one who caught my attention. As a literal “Alpha”, he doesn’t really exude much in the sense of typical broody alpha-male characters in fiction. In fact, I found his brand of broody alpha male characterization kind of refreshing:
- Wolf reminds me of an innocent child despite the fact that he is far from childlike. Being in Levana’s army since he was young really deprived him of the growth and development he would have experienced as a normal young male growing up. And so it seems he’s experiencing a lot of things for the first time, and I love how it fascinates him so.
- Wolf’s reaction to everything is like a newborn babe taking his first steps. It’s actually kind of endearing, even.
- Wolf is that quiet, subdued nice guy you would always want on your side; silently considerate and altruistic without really trying, but at the same time hiding a dangerous, yet protective fighting animal underneath.
Oh, so many layers to Wolf that are just so subtle and quietly there.
As for other characters:
- Carswell Thorne… is amusing. I like his strange sense of goofiness with a nonsensical form of humor. He’s laughing and you’re not, but somehow it’s funny in a weird way--you just don’t want him to know you think his humor is catching. It’s a bit wayward and a bit hard to follow; something that, now that you think about it, feels like maybe it’s what was missing from the Lunar Chronicles world.
- Queen Levana makes me shudder. She seriously scares the hell out of me. For reasons I do not even comprehend, and for obvious reasons.
- Prince Kai… is boring. I didn’t care much for him in the first book because he was always the standard ‘Prince Charming’ type without breaking character… And even now he still doesn’t break out of that mold after becoming Emperor. Even with all of his conflicts and his struggles… well, he’s predictable.
- Finally, I absolutely, a hundred percent LOVE Iko!
Final Thoughts: So there it is. Random bullet list of thoughts with a short somewhat of a summary. As I’d mentioned in another review somewhere, I’m not a hundred percent in love with the world of Lunar Chronicles, but I still find that it is very creative and very well-built, and has a very colorful culture. The stories and the characters are attractive and there’s a sense of FEELS at random places that come and go so quickly you don’t really have much time to think about it except to bask in the afterglow of all those FEELS.
It’s a thing.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):