Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends
Released February 5, 2013
452 pages
YA / SciFi / Twisted Faerie Tales

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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.

I raved about the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series when it came out early last year. Cinder encapsulated everything I wanted in a YA book – a strong female protagonist who made smart choices, a future dystopian-like world, a really nice, smart boy for the girl to fall for, MOON PEOPLE! Oh, and of course CYBORGS! I love twisted faerie tales, so tossing this twisted classic into a sci-fi future full of deadly viruses and CYBORGS! and I was completely sold. It didn’t hurt that Meyer’s writing style is kinetic, engaging and made the story fly by as ran through my head as a perfectly created movie.

So I was crazy excited about the sequel even though I had no idea how a take on Little Red Riding Hood that occurs in France would tie in with my favorite cyborg in China. It didn’t help that…


…Cinder happened to be locked in a jail cell awaiting shipment to the Moon where she would be executed by the evil manipulative Queen Levana. Who rules over all the MOON PEOPLE! who exist on the moon. Who was secretly the aunt who tried to kill her by burning down her nursery while she was a very small child. Who is trying to marry the handsome and dashing Prince Kai by withholding the cure to the deadly plague wiping out his country.

I mean seriously, there is nothing wrong with anything in that paragraph. It is all awesome, all the time, dipped in an awesome coating and covered in awesome sauce. Can you tell that I am a huge fan of Marissa Meyer?

Anyway, I was excited by Scarlet and despite the length and the fact that I read it while laid up with a respiratory infection, I wasn’t disappointed for even a second. I honestly think my illness stuck around a day longer just so my boss would send me home to finish the book. It kept me engaged and entertained when everything else made me want to go to sleep.

So if Cinder is awesome on top of awesome, Scarlet somehow manages to double down on all that awesome and create something even better. While Cinder is a cyborg mechanic, Scarlet is a bit of a tomboy farmgirl. Prince Kai is a dashingly sweet prince while newly introduced street-fighter Wolf is awkward, mysterious and intriguing and “Captain” Thorne, a mischievous thief/ladies’ man with a canny knack of getting in the middle of trouble. These two girls are distantly connection though they don’t know that and all the mysterious forces of their worlds are pushing them together.

As with the standard Little Red Riding Hood tale, Scarlet is trying to get to her grandmother when she comes across Wolf, who is equal parts adorably awkward and mysteriously creepy. They end up on a journey that takes them across the French countryside and directly in the path of Queen Levana’s latest plot. Meanwhile Cinder escapes with the help and sarcasm of Captain Thorne and heads towards France in an attempt to find the truth of where she came from. Adventures ensue, the ladies hold their own and the boys often cause trouble.

I could rave about this book forever. The story buzzes on the page with its energy and excitement. Even the quiet parts have undertones of excitement and impending adventure. As Cinder comes into her own and begins to accept her real identity, she becomes even more of a heroine while Scarlet holds her own against some of the creepiest foes in recent memory. Because these bad guys’ true form isn’t fully revealed for some time, this somehow made them even more evil in my brain and that Scarlet doesn’t completely fall apart in the face of genuine monsters testifies to her strength of character.

Once again I was left with a satisfying conclusion while still wanting more. I also have no idea how a third faerie tale character can be incorporated in the story, but I have faith that Marissa Meyer will continue her streak of awesomeness and find a way to make everything tie together. I still can’t get enough of this series and even though a few secondary plot strings from Cinder were placed on hold for this volume, this was an incredibly satisfying and entertaining addition to the series. I need Cress NOW!


I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review, but I also purchased a copy when Marissa visited BookPeople last month.