Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5th, 2013
Shelve It: Goodreads
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
Surprisingly, my favourite thing about Scarlet wasn’t the plot (which was great), it wasn’t the non-stop action (which was thrilling), and it wasn’t the romance (which had some rather swoon-worthy moments). It was Scarlet’s characters that truly stole the show for me, and which had me laughing out loud or gasping at a particularly twisty turn of events!
Continuing almost exactly where Cinder left off, Scarlet wastes no time getting to the good stuff! From the first few chapters Scarlet was non-stop action, which the culmination of events leading to one of the most thrilling chase scenes I’ve encountered in quite some time! I loved how Meyer was able to seamlessly combine two seemingly different plots, into one exciting and suspenseful tale, and I loved how separate the two plots seemed for much of Scarlet’s 400+ pages. And with the introduction of a few new characters, I loved that Scarlet managed to keep my attention through a well-placed juxtaposition of the dangerous with the comedic. While Scarlet and Wolf fought for their lives in the woods, Cinder and Thorne fought off cockroaches and feces. While Cinder watched Prince Kai abandon her to the Lunars, Scarlet marvelled over Wolf’s fascination with tomatoes. I loved that as one plot point escalated, the other was relatively calm. It allowed a level of suspense and tension to permeate throughout Scarlet, without becoming overbearing.
Scarlet was a heroine worthy of this series. Determined and brave, she didn’t let her fears get in the way of protecting her family. A
little lot impulsive, her quick-to-act attitude often got her in and out of sticky situations, and I loved her spunk. I did question how quickly she grew to trust Wolf, especially considering his involvement with the group responsible for her grandmother’s kidnapping, and how quick she was to believe everything he told her about her grandmother; I kept hoping for a sliver of mistrust to rear its head, and was disappointed when she believed him so fully. Their attraction towards each other was immediate, but also of the slow-burning variety; there was a lot of unresolved glances and mistaken touches before either of them took action. While I mentally berated her choice to trust Wolf, I also couldn’t fault her for it when he often acted so wounded:
Her mind emptied of everything but the gusting wind and how fragile Wolf looked in that heartbeat, like one movement could break him open.
Wolf was an enigma, and by the end of Scarlet, that remains true. His history is one I hope we learn more of as this series progresses.
Cinder was her usual, comedic self.
A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”
“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”
I loved watching her learn how to use her new-found Lunar abilities, and I empathized with her guilty conscience when it came to manipulating those around her. I did miss her interactions with Kai, and while Iko made a triumphant return in a scene that had me laughing out loud, her presence wasn’t as weighty as it was in Cinder. Honestly, I can’t say Cinder grew much in terms of character development, since so much of her time in Scarlet was spent in hiding and on the run. Every action she did take was in an attempt to figure out her past, so I’m excited to (hopefully) see her fully accept her new role and lead the rebellion in Cress.
The other new character introduced is easily my favourite character of the series:
Cadet Captain Thorne. While sticking with Cinder was out of purely selfish reasons, first to escape imprisonment and then to hopefully find the princess and claim a reward, his selfish attitude was somehow endearing.
“You might be a crazy Lunar, but you’re not evil. As long as you’re using your glamour to help people, and more important, to help me, then there’s nothing to feel guilty about.”
I loved that he fancied himself charming and handsome, and that he was dismayed when the news of his escape wasn’t mentioned because the focus was all on Cinder. I also loved that he remained clueless to Cinder’s true identity, and that the only reason he was upset was because he figured a princess should be prettier. Shallow and self-centred, I should have despised Thorne. Somehow though, his mix of vanity, selfishness and cluelessness combined to create a character I enjoyed.
When she had hone, Thorne let out a low whistle. “I know, I know. She seems a little” – crossing his eyes, he swirled both fingers around his ears – “but it’s really part of her charm, once you get to know her.”
I also loved the dynamics between him and Cinder, and how bit by bit, you could see that he was growing on her.
There were some things that I found pulled me out of the story – like, why Cinder wasn’t placed with a family who would respect that she was the long-lost Lunar Princess? I’m sure that was covered in Cinder, but I couldn’t remember. It seems like things could have gone quite a bit differently for her (and for the Commonwealth) if she had been trained from a young age to use her powers with a family devoted to the cause. I also couldn’t figure out why Scarlet’s grandmother wouldn’t have installed the bioelectricity block on her family members. She must have figured someone would come looking for answers one day, why not protect her family?
My small squabbles aside, I really enjoyed Scarlet! It was action-packed fun from start to finish, I loved the intersecting plots and the addition of some new characters was a pleasant surprise!