Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Edition: Hardcover, 452 pages
Genre: YA Science Fiction Dystopian (Fairy-Tale Retelling)
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…
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.
Scarlet brings us back to the word of the Lunar Chronicles but introduces us right away to a new character and a new setting (France). We meet Scarlet Benoit, a independent and fiercely loyal young woman who is intent on finding her missing grandmother.
Obviously this is based on the fairy tale Red Riding Hood and I really liked that Meyer decided to use the original story more in this one. We could obviously tell that Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella that weaved itself in and out of the original story while building a new world, but Scarlet is basically the story of Red Riding Hood on steroids. Since majority of the world building has been taken care of, Meyer focuses on turning up the tension and makes the stakes even higher for the characters. She doesn’t ignore new world building though! We are given a better look at Lunar and we are taken to France, which feels calmer and smaller than New Beijing. Added on top of the two new locations we also get to see some kind of terrifying new enemies, that just add to Levana’s bag of insane tricks.
Scarlet is our Red Riding Hood, who is just as determined to get to her grandmother as the original but does it (thankfully) in a less inquisitive and repetitive way. She’s headstrong, spirited, and very focused. Then there is Wolf, who is a fighter and isn’t quite use to Scarlet’s brand of courage. He’s more of the strong silent type, but I wouldn’t really call him broody. I really loved watching their relationship grow into something oddly complicated. The third new character is Captain (Cadet…) Thorne, is a rather reckless and lighthearted guy whose quips made it impossible not to smile. I love his optimism, which seems oddly misplaced at times, and I even love his over inflated ego. Of course we also have our returning cast: Cinder,Kai and Iko. Cinder’s character sees some fantastic character development as she learns more about herself and tries to come to terms with everything. She’s still our brave and confident heroine, but she finds herself struggling with her newly found Lunar gifts. My beloved Iko returns to us, albeit in a rather different form, and while she doesn’t get a ton of page time I’m incredibly happy she’s back. Much like Cinder I find her presence to be comforting, even when she’s attempting to blush and commenting on how cute boys are. Prince Kai is now Emperor Kai and is struggling under the wait of the crown and the recent events in New Beijing. If I had to choose on character to give a hug to I think I’d give it to Kai, he has had a tough time of it since the start of the series.
I’m still utterly in love with how well Meyer has woven fairy tales together in a vivid science fiction world. The fact that she doesn’t immediately mash Cinder and Scarlet’s stories together makes it even better. While the plot progresses and slowly knits itself into the overall fabric of the world, we have time to learn the new characters and find out where all of the old ones are. The fact that we are treated to more than one side of the events adds not only depth but tension as characters work to figure things out.
I’m super happy I finally got around to reading this one! Cinder was one of my favorite books last year and Scarlet has definitely made it to my favorites this year. The world this series holds is something incredibly unique and imaginative and I can’t wait until I get to visit it again in Cress.