Review: Scarlet

13206760Cinder, 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.

This review is spoiler-free!

Last month I reviewed Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, and planned to write about Scarlet and its sequel Cress together in this post. But the series is my new obsession, so I’ll give each novel its own review. These books are seriously some of the best I’ve ever read, guys.

First, I want to fangirl about that cover. All the (currently published) books in this series have colorful, elegant covers that are fantastical but not too “busy” and cluttered with stuff. Marissa Meyer has some excellent people helping her to put these books together.

As its name indicates, Cinder is an adaptation of “Cinderella” – but I didn’t think the sequels would follow the same format. I don’t really know why, but that’s what I thought and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Scarlet retells the tale of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

Cinder was just as awesome in this book as she was in its predecessor. I loved how no-nonsense she was, and she had more purpose in Scarlet than in Cinder because she had something more important to work towards (trying to find Michelle Benoit).

She picked up a friend, Carswell Thorne, along the way. Actually, it’s more like she kidnapped him because she needed his spaceship, and then discovered that he was completely irritating. I laughed so much at their bickering-filled friendship.

However, Cinder didn’t appear as often as I would’ve liked. This was completely logical because Scarlet was the protagonist of this book, but still. I like Cinder better. I can’t pinpoint what it was about Scarlet that I disliked, though. She was smart and kind and not afraid to fight. Maybe there wasn’t anything bad about her. Maybe it’s just that this series is bursting with wonderfully-written characters so while Scarlet may be awesome, someone else is even better.

Or maybe it’s Wolf. He became Scarlet’s boyfriend and while their growing relationship was sweet, it just didn’t stand out to me. I think I know why – Wolf perfectly fit the “bad boy” trope (just like Draco Malfoy, Loki, et cetera also do).

Which has never interested me. I mean, even if we’re talking about a gender that I am attracted to, well, I don’t get the “bad girl” thing either. I won’t say that I’ll never ever fall in love with a moody, rebellious loner but it wouldn’t be the deciding factor in my attraction to them, if that makes any sense. So I couldn’t relate at all when Scarlet thought about how dangerous or distant or whatever Wolf was. And she seemed to think about that a lot.

Also, I think I was getting a little bored at that point because it took those two forever to get to Paris.

Anyway. Let’s see, what else did I like?

Oh, right. The pacing. It was both slow and fast – slow because these books are lengthy and fast because the events described within take place over just a few weeks. I loved that too.

In conclusion, although I did not like Scarlet as much as Cinder (or Cress for that matter), it is nonetheless a fantastic book and I wish I’d read it earlier. I had never even heard of it until a few months ago and that’s a shame. Read it. I command you, by use of my thaumaturgical powers!

Rating: 3.5/5

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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11 Responses to Review: Scarlet

  1. Bane says:

    I need to find these books.

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    The ‘bad boy/girl’ trope is an interesting one. I can understand how somebody rebellious and dangerous can seem intriguing and exciting, especially for people who have led sheltered lives. At the same time, it’s so often written in a way that makes those characters seem manipulative, unkind, or even abusive, which can often be a factor in relationships like that. So writers have to be careful. I quite like it when it’s done well, but it’s very often done badly.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I can understand that. It just doesn’t work that way for me, somehow. I wouldn’t say no to intrigue and excitement – I mean, if the Doctor showed up on my doorstep and said he was looking for someone to share in an adventure of course I’d go with him – but I’m not interested in those feelings coming from a relationship with someone rebellious or dangerous.* I don’t want that in my life.

      I think Meyer did a *lovely* job writing Scarlet/Wolf’s relationship in that it wasn’t abusive or manipulative. So that was nice. I just… didn’t connect. My personal bias stopped me from loving those two as much as I love Cinder/Kai or some of the others (which I won’t spoil for you since you haven’t read Cress).

      *…it could definitely be said that the Doctor is dangerous so, um… guess I should’ve picked a better example. Although maybe it doesn’t matter since I was talking about romantic relationships and he’s a dude. With magnificent hair, it’s true, but still a dude.

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I like revolutionary behaviour, so I guess rebels kind of appeal to me. Explains why I wrote Bronwyn the way I did. I think I harbour a desire to be a rebel without having the height or strength to actually pull it off (but I rock a leather jacket).

    • nevillegirl says:

      Haha, I kind of think I’d like a rebel ~in theory~ but then I think about who I would realistically choose and I realize that I would be quite content with a quiet life.

      I require proof of this. 😛 Do you have any leather jacket selfies?

    • nevillegirl says:

      …I concede the point.

  3. Cait says:

    This is actually my favourite so far. 🙂 I mean, I LOVE Cinder…buuut, something about the beginning was always a bit slow for me. I just devoured all of Scarlet, and Thorne had me laughing all over the place. I spent a lot of it angry at Kai though. DUH. Dude, get it together. Scarlet and Wolf were quite adorable…but I DO understand how they wouldn’t be favourites, when there’s Cinder lurking in the background. Omg, just wait until Cress. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. 😉

  4. Pingback: Review: Cress | Musings From Neville's Navel

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