Tuesday, 18 August 2015

'Scarlet' by Marissa Meyer (2013)

Synopsis: Scarlet is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale and is the second novel in The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet Benoit is 18 years old and lives on her grandmother's farm near the town of Rieux in southern France. Scarlet's grandmother has been missing for the past couple of weeks and - much to Scarlet's rage and frustration - nobody in the town much cares and the police have now dismissed the case. They think that her grandmother has either left of her own accord or taken her own life. Scarlet is convinced that her grandmother has been abducted though and is determined to find her and solve the mystery of her disappearance, so when Scarlet then meets a mysterious street fighter called Wolf she persuades him to help her in her search. Although Scarlet doesn't entirely trust Wolf she feels drawn to him and figures that he's probably her best chance of finding her grandmother. The two of them then embark on a dangerous mission to Paris to rescue Scarlet's grandmother. Meanwhile, Emperor Kai is desperately trying to placate Queen Levana and Linh Cinder is now being held in the New Beijing prison before her imminent execution. However, Cinder is then able to escape from the prison with the aid of her newly-discovered Lunar powers and the gadgets that Dr Erland was able to smuggle into her cell. During her escape Cinder also teams up with a former American cadet called Captain Carswell Thorne who has managed to hide away a spaceship. Now on the run, the two of them go looking for Scarlet's grandmother themselves.


What a superb sequel! Although I found the first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, to be an engaging and enjoyable read I still had a few issues with that book. However, I found Scarlet to be a huge improvement and it actually managed to fix most of my issues with the first one! The story in this book is far less predictable and is even more action-packed, gripping and suspenseful than the first. Marissa Meyer's writing has also improved and she does a superb job at bringing Cinder and Scarlet's dual storylines together. I loved the new characters in this one and I happened to love the fact that some of this book takes place in the Paris Opera House. As a Phantom of the Opera fan this made me very happy! :D

Despite its title the book is actually split pretty evenly between Cinder and Scarlet's POVs so those fans who really loved the first book shouldn't worry about Cinder's character and storyline being neglected. I found Cinder herself really likeable in the first book and I appreciated her character even more in this book. Cinder gets some great character development in this one: she learns more about her past and grows in self-confidence and her dialogue with Iko and Thorne is often extremely amusing :) The new heroine Scarlet struck me as being quite similar to Cinder in some respects (as they're both brave, practical and resourceful) but is definitely the more outspoken, driven and confident of the two. She's much more reckless and quick-tempered than Cinder is as well. Overall I loved Scarlet just as much as Cinder and I really enjoyed the two new male characters in this book. I've noticed that most of the Lunar Chronicles fans seem to like Captain Thorne the best when it comes to the male characters but although I did find him funny and interesting in this book I wouldn't say that I'm at the stage where I love him just yet (hopefully that will happen when I read the third book?) Wolf on the other hand! Wolf is the most interesting character in the Lunar Chronicles so far in my opinion. Although he's brooding, mysterious, calculating and a ferocious fighter somehow he's also very shy, sweet, socially awkward and adorable! I loved his character and his relationship with Scarlet whereas in the Cinder book I found Kai a bit bland and I didn't feel all that much chemistry between him and Cinder.

Again, I enjoyed Scarlet far more than I did Cinder and if the next two books in The Lunar Chronicles can match its quality then I can definitely see this series becoming a favourite of mine. I would still have liked for the new settings of Rieux and Paris in this book to be more atmospheric and descriptive and I didn't find the few Kai chapters in it to be as interesting as the Cinder and Scarlet chapters - but overall this book is extremely well-done and I loved it.

Rating: 4.5/5

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