Meyer, M. (2013). Scarlet. NY: Feiwel and Friends.
ARC received in contest I won, but I don't know who sponsored because the package had no return information to help me out. EEK!
YA Dystopian / SciFi / Fantasy
Book Two of The Lunar Chronicles
452 pages, ages 13-17
I gave this 5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
Scarlet smoothly begins where Cinder finished, but this time with a fairy tell parallel to Little Red Riding Hood. My one word for Scarlet? MAAAAHHHVELOUS!
This book rocked, and I am eagerly anticipating the next installment, Cress (a Rapunzel tale), to be released in 2014. As a matter of fact, I would almost recommend waiting to anyone who hasn't started the series, as this is the kind of series you just want to devour one after another.
In this installment of The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder's story continues to unfold, but we are introduced to new character Scarlet. The story is told from alternating points of view between Cinder, Scarlet, and now Emperor Kai. Though this has potential for disaster, Meyer transitions between the stories smoothly and it really works well -- there may be two or three chapters about Scarlet and just when you don't know if you can handle any more twists or turns, Cinder will take over and build-up the reader in an entirely different direction -- and next a quick chime-in from Kai to see his turmoil in dealing with his conflicting feelings over Cinder, his country's welfare, and to remind us of the purely evil Lunar Queen Levana. Boo! Hiss! She is bad, bad, bad to the bone. HATE HER and just hope that when the series finishes, she goes down memorably. What's truly remarkable is that Meyer manages to weave the seemingly independent stories of Cinder and Scarlet together in a believable way -- super snaps to her for doing that very well.
Where Cinder was smart but subtle in her debut novel, Scarlet is smart and IN YOUR FACE in hers. Scarlet knows what she wants and goes after it, kicking-butt and taking names to anyone in her path. It was great fun getting to know Scarlet, but I am not sure what purpose she'll serve from here, though revenge must weigh heavily. Happily, Cinder also has become a little more kick-butt/in-your-face and also stays singularly focused, doing whatever it takes to get what she needs. We see some good growth and soul searching from Cinder, which results in setting the stage nicely for the next book.
Two new characters are introduced in Scarlet. The first is Wolf, who is clearly big and bad. Err, maybe he's big and good. Wait! Maybe he's just pretending to be good! Yes, that's it! Or vice-versa! Wolf brings terror and tenderness and violence and romance to the stage. Love him. . . or loathe him. Not sure yet. The second is "Captain" Carswell Thorne, who is clearly a womanizing con man. Err, maybe just a con. Hmm. Maybe more like an opportunist. In any case, he's excellent snarky, comic relief for the very serious Cinder.
note: The story of Scarlet's grand-mere could be a whole book in
itself! I would love to see Meyer write a little ".5" about her! COOL
I am so happy that the ending was such that we could have
resolutions to a few things, breathe a little, and get geared up for Cress. Yes, of course there are plenty of loose ends, but they are not left for us in a frustrating way. This was one action-packed roller coaster ride!
I give this book a 7 out of 10 on the Clean-O-Meter scale. There is no vulgar language and no sex, though there's a little kissing and there is one pretty steamy kiss. The only other sexual reference was to androids who are escorts, and one scene where there's very mildly implied sexual domination when an escort droid is dragging a man, chained behind it. There are scenes of drinking and smoking, but it's not done by teens. The book is pretty violent with bloody, illegal fights, a battle to the death between two Lunar creatures, torture (and some subsequent deaths) of prisoners, and most notably, the very bloody, savage attacks of Lunar creatures on Earthens. These creatures and scenes could be pretty haunting to the immature reader.
Here's Entertainment Weekly's trailer, but I don't think it does the book justice. As always, I don't picture the main characters like they are portrayed. Enjoy!