Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Release Date:
February 5, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary

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. (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

When I first heard that the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series was going to be a companion novel, I was disappointed. I wanted a straight up sequel. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Cinder and Kai. I should have known that an author brilliant enough to write Cinder could come up with the perfect mix of companion novel and sequel in Scarlet.


Scarlet manages to form an independent story of the main character Scarlet and Wolf and also fully tie in Cinder, Kai, Queen Levana, Iko, and more. Scarlet is a take-off on Little Red Riding Hood. Whereas Cinder followed the traditional story of Cinderella relatively closely, Scarlet feels like a much more liberal take on Little Red Riding Hood. It captures the themes of the fairy tale but is very different from the story you heard as a child.

Scarlet is a young French girl who's had a fairly calm life - helping her grandmother run her farm. When her grandmother goes missing, Scarlet turns her life upside down to find her. It's then that she finds Wolf who leads her on what could be a wild goose chase or a trap. I loved how Scarlet and Wolf played off each other. Scarlet is a stubborn, resourceful, independent girl. Wolf is the strong, silent type. He exudes danger. Yet there's this undercurrent of vulnerability that sucks Scarlet right in. Knowing that this is a version of Little Red Riding Hood, I kept yelling at Scarlet to be wary of Wolf, yet I also couldn't help falling in love with his seeming genuineness.

Meanwhile, we get plenty of Cinder time. And some Kai time as well. Cinder is on the run after her exposure as a cyborg at the ball in the last book. She finds a ship that comes with a strange stowaway. Thorne is a hapless young man. He actually reminded me a lot of Eric Matthews, Corey's older brother on the old TV show Boy Meets World. He's a guy who bumbles through life, seeming like a total idiot - which he sort of is - but a lovable one. I was worried that this was going to turn into a love triangle, but instead Cinder and Thorne form an odd partnership - where Cinder mostly tells Thorne what to do.

While Cinder tries to discover more about her Lunar heritage and stay away from the authorities, Kai is reeling from the discovery that the girl he was starting to fall in love with is a cyborg. Plus the little thing of Queen Levana threatening to basically destroy the world if Kai refuses to marry her. Scarlet does not show the best side of Kai. I hated that he was so angry with Cinder, that he felt so betrayed. It made him look prejudiced and narrow minded. I don't think he actually is that way, but the pressures upon him from all sides made him seem like the enemy.

Scarlet does a wonderful job of linking two stories together. It truly feels like both a companion novel and a sequel. In a lesser author's hands, the multiple plotlines would have been overwhelming and devolved into hopeless confusion. But instead, I was able to easily keep track of Scarlet and Cinder's individual stories and marvel at how they seamlessly came together at the end. If I have any criticisms of the book, it is that I sometimes had difficulty distinguishing Scarlet's personality from that of Cinder. On the whole, Cinder seemed more independent and confident than Scarlet, which is surprising given Cinder's insecurities over being a cyborg. But both girls were created as such strong characters that their dispositions occasionally melded into one indistinguishable mass.

Scarlet is the perfect companion to Cinder. I applaud Ms. Meyer for taking on the ambitious task of adapting a second fairy tale while continuing to maintain the first. It could have gone very badly, but it's smooth sailing in Ms. Meyer's skilled hands. I can't wait to read the next installment of The Lunar Chronicles.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

20 comments:

  1. I agree!!!!! She managed to write sequel and companion novel in one and I love her for this!!! I was also suprised when I started the book, as I clearly not have read the synopsis carefully lol. But. I was excited how the stories blended together! Still, I desperately want to know Kai and Cinder's story to go on!

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  2. YES. I was so scared I wouldn't like Scarlet as much as Cinder, but I so loved it!! I still want more Cinder, but I love the new characters - especially Scar and Thorn *mmm* he so reminds me of Mal on Firefly

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  3. OOH! I'm a little nervous about starting Scarlet, but I just read your review and it sounds absolutely fantastic! I'm not sure that I'm going to like Kai behaving like a jerk, though! But Wolf...kind of sounds really fantastic! Lovely review, Alison! (:

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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  4. I totally agree -- I really didn't want a "companion" novel..More Cinder Please!! But I loved Scarlet, and got enough Cinder to boot. Great review. I'm ready for the next book!

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  5. Nice to have you back! I just my hands on a copy of this and I can't wait to read it. Wolf sounds fantastic and I wonder if he would oust Kai in my favor. :) And kudos for bringing up "Boy Meets World". I haven't seen that show in ages!

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  6. I have this up next to read *bounces* I love that she worked her magic and made this happen for you!

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  7. YAY ALISON!!! So glad you loved this one too. Like you, when I found out this one wasn't going to be a straight sequel but was instead introducing a whole new heroine and hero, I was irritated. I just wanted to stick with Cinder and Kai, but I couldn't help but fall in love with Scarlet and Wolf (and Thorne!). I'm looking forward to see how Marissa handles the addition of two more heroines in the next 2 books:)

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  8. God, this one was SOOOO GOOOOOD! I love how she overlapped the stories and, though I wanted more one-on-one time with BOTH Cinder and Scarlet, I adored this whole story.

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  9. Isn't it just brilliant how Marissa constructed Scarlet?? Like you, I wanted a continuation from Cinder's point of view and hated that she was pulling other characters in at first. By the end of the book, I loved Scarlet even more than Cinder and came to adore each and every one of the new characters, especially Wolf and Thorne. :) GREAT review, Alison!! So glad you loved it, too!

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  10. When she had her signing last year for Cinder and described Scarlet a bit (or the route the series would take) I was concerned and verified with her that we would be getting the rest of Cinder's story, right? Yes, I was concerned. But she assured me that it IS a sequel. I gotta say, I was still concerned though. Then I read it and it was pretty perfect! She pulled that one off amazingly well!

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  11. How have I not read this series yet?? Haha, it just sounds too good to pass up. I am also impressed, just from reading reviews, how the author has apparently managed to integrate both storylines from both characters together and not have it be overwhelming. I mean, that takes talent for sure! Can't wait to get to these books (hopefully soon!)!

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    1. Oh, and I'm happy you're back! I hope the bar went well!

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  12. I just finished Cinder on audio (great narrator, btw) and wasn't TOO thrilled. There was just something missing, something I can't quite put my finger on. But I do have an audio of Scarlet as well, and people keep telling me it's better than Cinder so I have high hopes. I'm glad you liked it as much as you did.
    Great review.

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  13. I'm kind of on the fence about reading this one. I guess I'm just wondering where the story will go juggling all these characters since each book will be someone different. It seems like she succeeded, at least with Scarlet, from your review.

    I keep getting lured in by the cover though lol I'm shallow.

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  14. You're so right, it feels like a mixture of companion novel and sequel. I thought it was brilliantly done! I"m dying to read the next book. Marissa is so skilled at these fairy tale updates—I can't wait to see what she does with Rapunzel in Cress. Amazing review, Alison!

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  15. The first paragraph of your review put my worries to rest, Alison. Great! I was also a little weirded when Scarlet was called a companion novel. I just wanted more Kai and Cinder!

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  16. I agree about this being a sequel/companion novel-it's kind of its own (fantastic) thing and I really loved reading it!

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  17. OMG! The ending is soo freaking awesome! I totally need more!

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  18. Meyer did an amazing job adapting a second tale & intertwining them together. Brilliant.

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  19. I really loved the fact that Marissa Meyer is incorporating other fairytales while still continuing the Cinderella story. I wish there had been more Kai and Cinder in this story... "I don't see how her being cyborg is relevant."
    Just all. The. Feels.

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