Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Scarlet

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: February 5, 2013
Hardcover, 452 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

The Lunar Chronicles continue in this second instalment, following a new fairy tale character, Scarlet, as she searches for her grandmother. It starts with a bang and never silences. Early in the book, Scarlet meets Wolf, a mysterious street fighter who's willing to help her look for her grandmother. But the longer she looks, the more information she realizes her grandma was hiding from her, and the closer she gets to Wolf, the more dangerous he becomes. While Scarlet is on her own search, Cinder has escaped from prison and is on her own mission, eager to stop the war that is destined to happen all because of her. The chapters coordinate so flawlessly, it's hard to believe this book follows so many different story lines. 

It's hard to tell that these two books focus on two totally different fairy tales. Meyer blends them together so seamlessly, that it's like she's created everything about these characters and stories herself. Adding in the futuristic universe, plague, and a whole other planet, creates a completely new fairy tale that stands on its own. I liked finding the small references to Little Red Riding Hood throughout the novel, from Scarlet's red hoodie to a wolf impersonating her grandmother. There were more twists in this book than in Cinder, leaving me wondering more than a few times about how it would end. Meyer added Scarlet as a main character perfectly, making it seem like she's been in the story all along and having her encounter Cinder in the best way possible. I can't wait to see how she'll add the other two girls, Cress and Winter, into the tale.

I knew I would love Scarlet the minute I met her. She has the same fierceness that Cinder embodies, both girls ready to fight for what they love. Scarlet is fiery and carries a gun. She's not afraid of what she amy encounter along her journey, except maybe her feelings for Wolf. These two have fire between them. I loved Cinder and Prince Kai, but what they were missing Scarlet and Wolf make up for threefold. Fans who read The Queen's Army will recognize Wolf, which just adds to the tension. I found myself way more interested in Scarlet's story than Cinder's, but I was very happy when they came together. Cinder's new partner, Captain Thorne, was hilarious and charming and I liked what he added to the story. 

Fairytale re-tellings always grab my attention. I like that authors can take well known stories and turn them into something completely different. Meyer has done a great job so far keeping the fairytale practically separate from her writing. It's wonderful that she's created a whole new world but the meaning behind the fairytales is still there and prominent. This is hard thing to do and she has managed to do it perfectly. The ending has left me eager for more and her writing has let me wanting to improve mine. Normally I'm not a fan of third person, but these books just wouldn't be the same if they weren't written that way. Beautiful modern fairytales for a modern world. Because princesses kick ass now, didn't you know that?

“Little Red was a tender young morsel, and the wolf knew she would be even tastier than the old woman.” 

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