Flame-haired, red-hooded Scarlet Benoit is frustrated. Her grand-mere has been missing for more than two weeks and nobody seems to care. While the employees at her pub attribute her grandmother’s absence to lunacy, Scarlet knows better. Her hope is running low until Wolf, a streetfighter somehow connected to her grandmother’s disappearance, walks into the pub. He offers to escort her to Paris, and conflicted in her opinion of this both fierce and gentle stranger, Scarlet consents. Meanwhile, Cinder is in some trouble herself. Having escaped prison with the cocky inmate Captain Thorne, she is on the run from both the Earthen authorities and the lunar Queen Levana herself. It is when their paths converge that they truly understand the danger they and Prince Kai are facing.
Despite the few faults I found with Cinder, the first book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, my anticipation of the next book, Scarlet went unabated. Meyer’s full-fledged, imaginative take on a futuristic Earth and her dynamic retelling of the fairy tale Cinderella left me with no worries on how she would adapt the story of Little Red Riding Hood within the ongoing plot arc of Kai and Cinder, two characters I’d already grown to love. When I was able to trade for an ARC at NCTE/ALAN (and get Marissa to sign it!), I returned home a happy woman. It’s generally a bad idea to go into a new read expecting most of your expectations to be met, but not this time. Scarlet is everything you can hope for in an author’s sophomore effort.
From the moment I first met Scarlet and Wolf, I knew they would compete strongly in any contest for my affection. Scarlet is the typical feisty heroine; determined, passionate, and loyal. She is one-track minded for the ones she loves, especially when all hope is gone. Wolf’s draw is obvious initially; he has the reformed bad boy image going on as well as an aura of mystery about him. You’ll love him even more after the mystery is revealed. I wasn’t as equally compelled by Cinder and Thorne’s chapters until I could laugh at Thorne’s smugness. Unfortunately this made the book less of a page-turner for me at times. But by the conclusion Cinder and Thorne are beginning to know and trust one another instead of being annoyed or uneasy respectively, and it was refreshing to see Thorne break his stereotype. On the other hand, I wouldn’t change anything about Scarlet and Wolf’s story arc. The satisfying resolution of their relationship stands in stark contrast from Cinder and Kai’s at the end of Cinder. Perhaps best of all is that I didn’t see the plot twist coming from a mile away. The only major fault I can find with Scarlet is that we have to wait a year for Prince Kai’s fate to be determined, which of course is not really a fault at all. In the meantime I impatiently await to see what Marissa has in store for us in Cress. Whether you like scifi or fairy tales or not, if you like YA fantasy, read Scarlet. It does not disappoint.
Angieville review – “I kind of have a thing for this book. … It slid handily into the first slot on my Best of 2013 list.”
Bunbury in the Stacks review – “… it’s even more fun and engaging than its predecessor
Dark Faerie Tales review – “Meyer has a lot of talent and I highly urge you to read Scarlet.”
Good Books and Good Wine review – “[Scarlet] makes me want to keysmash all kinds of words of love, it is that good.”
The Book Rat review – “I loved Scarlet and Wolf almost as much as Cinder and Kai – just not as swoon-worthy couple (yet).”