Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Title: Scarlet
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book 2
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fairytale Retelling
Told: Third Person Multiple, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, some gore, sensuality, scary situations)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | TBD

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.

*          *          *

Three Words: Dystopian fairytale retelling.

Writing: The writing style felt like I was watching a television show instead of reading a book, which made it much more engrossing. Several new viewpoint characters were added, which caused things to feel a bit crowded, but with so much going on it couldn't be helped. Vivid description, realistic dialogue, and breakneck pacing made for an absorbing read.

Setting: This time, most of the story took place in France! It was a fresh and exotic yet familiar backdrop, and I loved every second. We also spent more time in New Beijing (China), and a bit orbiting Earth in a spaceship.

Story: The book follows two storylines (that of Cinder and Scarlet) separately from several different viewpoints. Cinder, having escaped prison and now on the run with another wanted criminal, must keep away from both Earth's authorities and the Lunar queen's minions as she struggles to decide if she will accept her destiny. Scarlet, at a loss after her grandmother's disappearance, joins up with mysterious stranger Wolf to find her and gets much more than she bargained for as she is thrown into a war for not only her life, but the freedom of two worlds. While not quite as good as Cinder for me due to the overabundance of viewpoint characters, Scarlet possessed all the originality and creativity of the first book and was a magnificent read. As with Cinder, not much came as a surprise, but that didn't detract from the story in any way.

Characters: The cast continues to grow, but each character remained unique and brimming with personality. Cinder was brilliant, resourceful, and unflinching to do whatever it took to keep herself safe, despite how she felt about who and what she was. I adored her - Best. Character. Ever. Prince Kai was back and completely out of his element and depth, as usual. But he struggled to do the best by his people, even when he had no options. Iko returned as well, and I was very happy to see her! Even if she wasn't quite the same.

Several new characters were added to the mix in Scarlet - such as Scarlet herself, a feisty and fierce young lady who was willing to do anything, go anywhere, to protect the ones she loved. (If she didn't love you, watch out.) I adored Wolf, who was stronger than anything but a little boy at heart. He was definitely just what Scarlet needed - and vice versa. Also introduced was Captain Thorne, a new ally for Cinder. Thief, ladies' man, and bit of a scoundrel, together with Iko he lightened any darker tones in the book.

Romantic Relationship: With Cinder on the run, she didn't have much time to think about Kai - while he was left with too much time to think about her. Worlds apart and unable to contact each other, it was impossible for their romance to go anywhere. So we had Scarlet and Wolf. While their characters lean heavily on the Red Riding Hood/Wolf story, I felt the romance was very Beauty & the Beast - aka my favorite fairytale romance of all time. It was sweet but had some passion too, and I look forward to its continuation in future books.

Series: This is Book 2 in the 4-book Lunar Chronicles series. It picks up right after the cliffhanger end of Book 1 (Cinder), and alas also ends on a cliffhanger. You can find my review of Cinder here. Book 3, Cress, releases February 2014.

Conclusion: Original, vivid, and engrossing, Scarlet was a stellar read. I can't recommend this series highly enough - and cannot wait to get my hands on Cress!

Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles

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