The Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet (Paperback)
Short Description for The Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other. Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become Commonwealth's wanted fugitive - when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
- Published: 07 February 2013
- Format: Paperback 464 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780141340234 ISBN 10: 0141340231
- Sales rank: 2,304
Reviews for The Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet
A Strong Sequel, But Not Without Flaws
This book has NO "negative" reviews! Now I have to be the weirdo. This review will have spoilers about Cinder, so don't read on if you don't want to know.
I hoped Scarlet would redeem the series for me since I was one of the few people who wasn't a fan of Cinder. While I know why Marissa Meyer set Cinder in China (because the tale of Cinderella originated there,) the way she handled the culture was a complete mess, and greatly hindered my enjoyment throughout the novel. Thank goodness, I only had to bear Meyer's misuse of Chinese honorifics in one scene in Scarlet. Scarlet, on the other hand, is largely set in France--a country I have no experience/associations with and therefore would not notice if there were cultural discrepancies. I was right, Scarlet annoyed me a lot less than Cinder did, but still a book I would hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend.
Juvenile Writing, Tackling Uneasy Subjects and Relationships:
This is more of a personal gripe. I just checked Amazon, and apparently Scarlet is targeted towards ages 12 and up (I always thought the book was targeted towards 16 and up, oops!,) so I guess the lengthy writing that often made me feel like Meyer is underestimating her readers is suitable after all. There is a scene were the author suggests a one night stand (okay, maybe it was a one week stand, but that's not that much better) and also the brief suggestion of rape in another. Being that the age level is twelve, I see why these topics are glossed over, but it also makes me feel like the author is not confident enough to tackle these issues despite throwing them in.
Queen Levana: GIMMIE THE BACKSTORY!:
I know I am supposed to hate Levana, but I had problems finding a reason to hate her. I get that she wants world domination--and that's always bad--but I wanted to find out WHY she wanted so many people to love her. Was she bullied? A social outcast? World domination is not easy. Not sure why she has to marry Kai either. Why not just kill him and win world domination through conquest? But I just imagine her as a desperate cougar.
I would personally spend my time reading than ruling the world. Cinder tries to make her hateful by describing her burn wounds as a baby, but I felt that was too forced. If her orchestrating the mutation of her people into werewolves and the destruction of thousands of lives didn't make me hate her, a baby getting burned won't miraculously do the trick.
If Cinder's stepmother made me feel for her, despite her "evilness" (which I felt was one of the brighter moments in Cinder,) Queen Levana should have a fleshed out story as well.
Maybe her story is revealed in the novella? I certainly hope so.
Cinder, Poor Girl Gets Overshadowed:
I like Cinder and Scarlet equally, they both have their strengths, but also can be too oblivious or have anger issues. While reading the story, I felt much more invested in Scarlet's character and Cinder quickly became overshadowed. I also felt Cinder became less appealing, not only because she was overshadowed, but because everything became too convenient with her new Lunar powers. Now not only did she have cyborg powers of quick problem solving and the ability to fix hardware by connecting them to her...head? but also mind-control AND the ability to make spaceships undetectable. It felt like every time the author hit a plot hole, she "solved" it by giving Lunars a new ability. "Oh shoot, how is Cinder going to break out of prison? Eh, she can just mind control the guard with her Lunar gift! Oh shoot, how is Cinder going to travel undetected in a gigantic spaceship? Um, well Lunars have the ability to do that too! Oh no, Cinder is stuck in a crowd, how will she get out of it? That's easy! Her Lunar gift can change her appearance to disguise her from everyone!" What can this girl NOT do? And how much of it is actually attributed to her as a person...and not because she has the ability to download and process manuals from the Internet. Suddenly, it felt like Cinder became invincible. Her "let's connect electronics to my cyborg brain" thing made her even harder to relate to.
Cinder & Kai:
I was okay with Cinder & Kai's relationship in Cinder--even though Kai didn't have much of a personality aside from being handsome (he also has way too much time on his hands for being the leader of the entire Eastern Commonwealth.) In Cinder, he struck me as a very poor leader, spending his time being angry, relying on his advisors, not showing up on time to state meetings, and hitting on a girl. Kai really got the short end of the stick in Scarlet, in the few scenes he does appear in, he only serves as background details to the plot. He still has yet to win me over. I wonder how Kai and Cinder relationship will work out, precisely, how Kai will react when he finds out Cinder's true identity as Princess Selene. Will he be jumping for joy? And how will he convince Cinder to be with him without being a jerk that's like "I know you are the princess, so let's marry and everything will be fine and dandy! And let's ignore the whole part about locking you up in prison, doubting you, and stuff." It's going to be sappy. I can just feel it.
Scarlet & Wolf, Echoes of Twilight/A Discovery of Witches:
Not instalove, but dangerously close. Their relationship progressed in the way that romance novels do: the characters don't trust one another and there's some tension, but then they suddenly realize that they are made for one another. How fast their relationship gave me this schadenfreude feeling. I didn't want it to be THAT easy. I WANTED THEM NOT TO WORK OUT. I am evil like that. And because I thought Scarlet did not deserve Wolf. Seriously, that girl has some anger issues. When Wolf comments on her scent, she immediately snaps at him, telling him it's none of his business. That is NOT how you treat a guy who is willing to help you track down your missing grandmother. There's a difference between being a badass and being rude and ungrateful.
I admit, there were some sweet moments, but when I got to the end, their relationship made me wince.
I felt Wolf had more development than Kai though, so I did root for him. But there was a point where I just felt bad for him because Scarlet was just--mean. I could just picture him being that wounded dog thrown out into the rain.
And then came the Twilight echoes. Scarlet was made to be this independent, strong-willed girl, but then she still depended so much on Wolf to save the day. There are moments when she overestimates herself, kind of like Diana from A Discovery of Witches. And then Wolf had the whole "I am too dangerous for you! You have no idea how close I was to harming you..." thing. Ugh.
Blending Fairytale with Sci-fi:
I appreciate how Meyer weaved sci-fi and fairy tales together. The fairy tale elements are often in the background, while the characters have a life of their own. There was a moment, when Scene ran onto a stage in an opera house that was supposed to be a "forest," that struck me as heavy handed and unnecessary. Perhaps it was especially annoying because she was supposed to be in great danger, yet the author still makes her run through a stupid cardboard "forest" for the sake of tying it into the fairytale. Oh, poor Scarlet!
Addressing Plot-Holes: THOSE ID CHIPS
The id-chips left me with a lot of questions in Cinder: how did these id-chip stealing androids get placed in a government facility? Is this a conspiracy? And I am glad Meyer addressed them. Somewhat. I still felt it could have been better handled.
Apparently the general public CARE about those chips, and would riot if they knew it was stolen, because it's VERY important to the family--or so it is said. Which is a surprise, because nobody seems to care enough to claim it after their loved one's death. Or even notice its disappearance. ID-chips causing a riot? I doubt it.
Overall, I felt Scarlet was slightly stronger than Cinder due to more character development in the new characters, though it also had quite a few flaws that made Scarlet a slow read for me. Scarlet has the same fast-paced, action-packed, sci-fi and loose fairytale qualities I enjoyed in Cinder though. It's a pity that Cinder and Kai recede into the background, which makes me scared that the next books will do the same thing and introduce more new characters at the expense of the old. If you loved Cinder, I am certainly you will love Scarlet. Just be prepared not to see Kai or Cinder too much.
As for me, although I was not impressed with the series thus far, each book for slightly different reasons, I know I will probably still read the next book, hoping it will change my mind. I am determined to like this series! by Lilian (A Novel Toybox)
suspense and romance!
I LOVE THIS SERIES!!! If you haven't read Cinder you need to because this is an epic series.
Now that we're in to book 2 there was a lot more action. It was nonstop! Scarlet (red riding hood) was looking for her grandmother who'd gone missing. The authorities had given up the search claiming a suicide/runaway, but Scarlet couldn't believe that. She found a guy named Wolf that could possibly help her. They went on a wild adventure trying to keep from getting caught or killed as they searched for answers to the disappearance. Scarlet was feisty with a temper and stood up for others, a great addition to the cast.
Don't worry, there was plenty of Cinder and Kai in the story too. The Point of View switched between Scarlet, Cinder, Kai, and sometimes Wolf and Thorne. Thorne was pretty hilarious by the way. I won't tell you about him so you can find out for yourself. I didn't get bored when the POV switched because I loved all the characters and want to know what was going on with each of them.
Scarlet was an intense read full of run-for-your-life adventure and romance. I can't wait to read book 3!
language: very mild
violence: moderate by Clean Teen Fiction
- Top review
An old, simple tale weaved into something sci-fi, romantic, and action packed all at the same time.
Fairytales in the future, fairytales in space. If you haven't read Cinder yet, pick it up and give it a whirl. Scarlet is a new character to the series, but there is still plenty about Cinder in this one. Even my favorite robot personality is back.
As the first one resembled Cinderella, this one favors Little Red Riding Hood. There is of course the necessary "big, bad wolf", who is definitely big and bad, but in Wolf's own special way - so he's got you questioning everything. Yep, there is a grandmother in this one as well. So there are familiar parts to the Little Red Riding Hood story, but this is not the story from your childhood. This is a re-imagined world where the girls aren't damsels in distress, but are kicking butt and taking names.
Marissa Meyer has a way with weaving an old, simple tale into something sci-fi, romantic, and action packed all at the same time. And she does it keeping the characters interesting and the story fresh. There is a political drama weaved into the story, it's actually the glue that is holding all of these characters together and giving them something to fight for.
If you love fairytales, cyborgs, space ships, and a little swooning mixed in, this is a series for you!
ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review by Jessica