Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
May the nations hear my cry: Marissa Meyer has done it again! Those who follow me on the various social media outlets have heard me say time and again that CINDER, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, was one of my Top Three Reads of 2012. Needless to say, I was so excited to get my grubbies on an ARC of SCARLET. I was trying to hold out on reading it until closer to the publication date, but my curiosity got the better of me and so I dove in.
SCARLET picks up where CINDER left off, with the introduction of a few new characters:
Carswell Thorne, a self-proclaimed ladies man first and fugitive-on-the-run second.
Scarlet Benoit, our newest heroine, who is feisty and independent.
Finally, from stage left: Wolf. a completely mysterious, swoon-worthy character whose real motives will keep you guessing til the very end.
I was hoping for more character development with Prince Kai, but his character felt a bit neglected in comparison to the others. This may very well be the result of Marissa Meyer having too many story threads to keep up with... Cinder's growth and character development impressed me the most. Whereas in CINDER she was a bit timid and shy, she really comes into her own within the pages of SCARLET. She is outspoken, snarky, decisive, and brave. I was rooting for her the whole way through! Thorne is an excellent addition, and the banter between him and Cinder made me giggle quite a bit. Scarlet is a likeable character from the start, with a personality as fiery as her red hair. She's more than willing to strike out on her own but is not too proud to admit that she needs Wolf's help to find her grandmother. Oh, and Wolf... I loved his role in the story, which brings an element of darkness that was not present in CINDER. Thankfuklly, Iko (one of my favorite characters!) is still present to charm and entertain, though in a much different and, ahem, larger form.
SCARLET is told from the points-of-view of both Cinder and Scarlet, with the occasional insight from Prince Kai. While I enjoyed seeing things from Kai's point-of-view, I was more entertained by Scarlet and Cinder. The action is on from the start, which is definitely a good thing. However, in this case, it does take away from the natural progression of the relationship between Scarlet and Wolf. I felt there was a bit of Insta-love happening, but enjoyed their developing relationship overall.
As for the general plot, Marissa Meyer expertly weaves the story of Scarlet with the story of Cinder in a way that doesn't confuse the reader or hinder the flow of the story. I especially loved discovering more of Cinder's background and how she and Scarlet are connected. And boy, are they! While Marissa has once again crafted a completely original tale, there are elements within both stories that relate back to the classic fairy tales that inspired this series. This is how you put a refreshing spin on an age-old tale!
Overall, SCARLET was an excellent addition to the series, though I think I still prefer CINDER. Let me just say, though, after the way SCARLET ended, waiting for CRESS (the third installment in the series) will be torture! Kudos, Marissa Meyer! You've done it again.