Genre: Young Adult / Sci Fi / Fairy Tales
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.
After reading Cinder, I was on an book high for at least a week. I loved that book, loved the issues raised, loved the characters and heartbreak. So I had really, really high expectations for Scarlet. I wanted to be swept away by the characters again, held fast by the struggles they face. Unfortunately, while there was some interesting plot development, and a number of new characters were introduced, I only "really liked" this story, with a caveat or two. :)
By this point, you've probably either read other reviews of Scarlet, or read it yourself. There about five thousand rave reviews out there, so I'll just give a quick overview of what rocked: It's a fun, fast-paced read. We go to a new continent, we meet the precursors of the terrifying army that Queen Levana is building, we get major comic relief from Captain (er, Cadet) Carswell Thorne, whom I was so very glad to meet. We get to continue to hate Levana, who appears to be devoid of any saving grace whatsoever (hard to believe, but there you go...some people just aren't human, and she certainly isn't). So why not a higher rating?
Scarlet takes place over three days, so there's a lot of action--almost too much. What that means is that character development is really difficult to manage. Meyer succeeds with Cinder--she discovers more about herself and her past, and starts to move towards a realization of both the importance of who she is and what she is willing to do about it. But Scarlet...oh, Scarlet. I just couldn't empathize with her. Her emotions ruled her to such an extent that she felt almost manic at times--too aggressive, too emotive, too melodramatic. I know, I know, some folks loved her. I wish I could have. But her development over the story didn't work for me, nor did her romantic attachment--because there just wasn't enough time for the depth of emotions involved to develop or to stabilize.
I was also so sad about Kai's role. I really wanted him to do something. Of course he only had three days, but in Cinder he was on the move, in and out of the palace, thinking and struggling with things. In Scarlet he's basically locked in his office the whole three days agonizing over the manhunt for Cinder and what Levana will do if they don't catch the fugitive cyborg. Oh, and giving a couple of press conferences. Quite frankly, I adore Kai. So I really wanted to shake him and tell him to do something so I could continue to love the man that he is. But he doesn't. He just pulls his hands through his hair and looks out the window. If he doesn't shape up in the next book, I might just cry.
Overall, this is still an enthralling read. Fast-paced and full of action, Scarlet packs a lot of thrills. It falls short (for me) in the character development department, but I am still eagerly awaiting the next installment.
About the Reviewer
Intisar Khanani is the author of Thorn and The Sunbolt Chronicles. A YA fantasy enthusiast, she spends her free time reading and writing as much as possible. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.