The Lunar Chronicles #2
Young Adult/Fairytale retelling/Dystopian
Feiwel & Friends
Available February 5th
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
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.
Scarlet is a sequel that has us initially on edge, our desire to return to Cinder's story alone rather than embark on an entirely separate journey with a new cast of characters strong enough that we crack the spine with a wary sort of anticipation, hoping our doubts will be quickly proven unfounded. Luckily for us, Ms. Meyer gives us everything we could have wished for in this second installment, teasing us a bit as Scarlet and Cinder's stories run parallel to one another for majority of the book, never quite intersecting even as we know they must at some point cross paths. Normally, this setup can be a touch frustrating for us as readers, our eagerness to stay with one character, in this case Cinder since we are more familiar with her, causing us to skim through the other character's chapters in our haste to return to the one who has most captured our attention, however, Scarlet's story captivates from the beginning, and we revel in our time with her as much as we do our time with Cinder herself.
Though Scarlet's search for her missing grandmother and her budding romance with Wolf is as engrossing as the continuation of Cinder's tale, Scarlet herself doesn't quite grab us emotionally from the beginning the way Cinder did. This could perhaps be attributed to the nature of their original fairytales, with Cinderella's status as an underdog causing us to immediately back her, whereas Little Red Riding Hood is a young woman who isn't quite observant enough to notice her precious grandmother has suddenly developed canine features until it's far too late. Scarlet is thankfully far more layered and interesting than her fairytale counterpart, though they share a similarity in their susceptibility to deceit given Scarlet is often quick to believe what superficial appearance tells her is the truth while neglecting to examine the situation from multiple angles before judgement is passed and a negative opinion is formed.
Despite her inability to think with her mind and heart instead of simply trusting her eyes, Scarlet is certainly someone we come to care about, and her troubled relationship with Wolf is gorgeously depicted. Wolf is a deeply intriguing character, both alpha and beta hero wrapped up in one uniquely contradictory package. On one hand, he's alpha to the extreme, a gifted street fighter with a penchant for using his fists to make a life for himself, but he's also shockingly quiet and often reserved once the adrenaline rush fades from his system. He's both curious and hesitant to spend time in Scarlet's presence when not in a violent setting, often exhibiting a skittishness and fear of the unknown so common in his wild namesake. As Cinder and Kai's did, Scarlet and Wolf's romantic relationship builds slowly, something we appreciate even more given that this story is not theirs alone but instead shared with the aforementioned couple, allowing us plenty of time to truly believe in them together.
Though Scarlet is over 400 pages in length, it passes in an utter blur, our excitement over learning of Kai and Cinder's fate since we left them last combining with our giddiness over the addition of a striking new couple to ensure time absolutely flies by when reading. We of course reach the end with no conclusion to the threat of Queen Levana in place, but we can't help but be content with what we've learned in this installment, feeling optimistic when we look ahead to future books that while we'll often face a “to be continued” of sorts at the end of them, we'll never be left unsatisfied.
Be sure and check out my interview with Marissa Meyer HERE and also enter for a chance to win copies of Cinder and Scarlet!