Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, AWESOME, cyberpunk, fairy retellings, faepunk, urban fantasy
Publication Date: February 5, 2013 (Macmillan – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: 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.
☆: 4.5/5 stars! Another hit for Meyer!
Review: Damn, another hit right out of the park for Meyer on this one, guys. If you liked “Cinder”, you will LOVE this. And if “Red Riding Hood” is one of your favorite fairy tales (like it is mine) – you will most definitely love this. I feel like Meyer really grew with this volume – a huge leap forward even though she’s already immensely talented. If you’ve read “Cinder”, you simply must, must, must continue your journey with “Scarlet”.
What I have to say impressed me the most and where Meyer grew the most: tying things together that don’t seem related. While I read a very early ARC (distributed at ALA 2012) and there are a few areas where the transitions are a little wobbly (between Cinder and Scarlet/Wolf), how everything was linked really impressed me. Meyer decided to further use the relationship web school of worldbuilding in this second book, and it was the best decision she could have made. That helped tie together everything absolutely fantastically, and it was all really…wow. That’s the only word I can find for it, wobbly first-pass ARC transitions aside.
It seems whatever fairy tale that Meyer touches turns to gold. The way she decided to use the idea of werewolves and tie that into the whole war between the Earth and the Moon was possibly one of my favorite parts of the entire book. While it’s woven throughout the slowly, the big reveal as to what Wolf and his packbrothers are is nothing short of breathtaking. It makes sense. It makes utter and total sense in a time where magic is just bioelectricity and cyborgs are just apart of everyday life. And Wolf? He was wonderful. I liked that he was the more fragile character of the two (compared to Scarlet), and that he needed more love, more reassurance, and it reminded me more than a bit of “Beauty and the Beast”. He’s not always in control, and he’s always trying to figure out how to handle Scarlet and how gung-ho she is about finding her grandmother. He has a lot of secrets, and yet, his character is very layered, very complex, and utterly satisfying.
And Scarlet. Oh my. I totally have a girl crush on her. Or I possibly want to be her – I haven’t decided yet. A gun-wielding, red-hoodie-wearing tough French girl? Yes, please, sir, may I please have some more? If anything, I’ve found myself liking her more than Cinder. And I LOVE Cinder. Meyer has a way with her female characters – even if they need rescuing, they still manage to take charge of the situation and have that rescuing on their own terms. I honestly think that this is why so many people love this series – girls, especially. Both Scarlet and Cinder, traditionally very needy fairy tale characters, have gotten the power and glory they so desperately deserve. Even poor tortured Grandmother gets power in the end, and that was wonderful to see, even if her demise was quite…grisly.
In Cinder’s department, I definitely have to say that there’s a definite “Firefly”/”Serenity” feel to things (especially when Cinder and her new friend are off in their spaceship) – so I can’t help but wonder if there’s more than just one little tip of the hat to Joss Whedon in there. Seriously. I loved all of the scenes with Cinder, Iko, and the spaceship and generally wanted more.
I also loved how we got to see more of the Queen and her motives, a general expansion of her character and that of the world of the Lunar Kingdom. She’s a little more complex than she first appears in “Cinder”, and you can bet that I’ll be reading the next bridging novella coming up that will be tiding us all over between this book and book three: “The Queen’s Army”. I can’t wait. I’m starting to love this Lunar Queen, and I would love for her to get her own book. That’d be awesome.
And finally, Kai. Poor Kai. He’s become a bit of a doormat, though I won’t spoil why or how. Yet I do feel like there could have been a bit more longing on both his part and Cinder for each other, though what we got was enough to go on pining for book three.
The other technical areas? Sensory imagery and all that? So flawless I won’t even address them.
Final verdict? “Scarlet” is a definite must-read for 2013, and now I’m chomping at the bit of book three and that upcoming novella. I demand more. Now. “Scarlet” will be out from Macmillan in North America on February 5, 2013, so be sure to check it out then. And be sure to stop by the blog on February 2, 2013 for a guest post by Marissa Meyer on retelling old tales! It should be a ton of fun.