March 26, 2014

Review: Scarlet

By: Marissa Meyer
Published: February 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardback, 454 pages
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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Even in the future, beware of the big, bad wolf.

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.

Rating: 4.5/5

Well. My biggest worry was hulk-smashed. I haven't read a sequel in a while. If you don't count Harry Potter, I haven't read a sequel in over a year (Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead). Over. A. Year. And before then? Some time in 2012. It's odd, you know, as I used to only read series for a while. Anyway. I was worried because the last few sequels I remember reading weren't as good as the book before, and for me to willingly want to continue with a series, the book has to be at least as good as the previous book or better.

This was just as good as, and in many ways, better than Cinder.

Little Red Riding Hood is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I was stoked that Meyer was weaving her into this story. Like with Cinder, Meyer set us up with the general aspects of the tale but spun a creative twist around it all. I was engaged from the get-go and invested in Scarlet's world and upset about her missing grandmother. Meyer wove her tale in with Cinder's incredibly well, and while I knew they would connect, they read like completely separate stories that met in a perfect center.

I really enjoyed the narrative. Meyer's writing in general is fantastic and smooth. She transports me into the story from page one and no matter what's going on around me, I could see and hear and feel everything going on in the book. That's a magic skill, if you ask me, and not only was her writing strong, but she deals with multiple points of view like nobody's business. I can't remember the last time I read a book--YA especially--when there's been more than two (really, more than one) and I've identified with each. It was never confusing or one-dimensional or unneeded.

As for the characters, the new additions--Scarlet, Wolf, Thorne, and various supporting characters--were great. Thorne was by far my favorite. Totally fell in love with him. Not as a love interest, but just as a character in general. His dialogue and humor were fantastic; I snickered in every scene in appeared in. Wolf was one of those characters that you can't figure out what to think about his intentions, which I always love about a character. I couldn't tell if he was hiding something, or if the secrets he told were the truth, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching his character grow. Scarlet, though, for me, was my least favorite of the three. By no means did I dislike her--I actually did love her most of the book--but once it got to the meat of the story with her and Wolf, her characterization was a be sporadic for me. Reactions and responses sometimes seemed out of character or...annoying (I despise using that word, but I can't think of another). If Meyer sticks with the Scarlet that we're introduced to, I think she'll be fine.

Now, for the story and plot. O. M. G. Loved. Absolutely loved. While I think the ending was a bit rushed, the plot unfolded and collided in such a way that I just couldn't wait to find out what happened next. What was better with Scarlet than in Cinder was the twists. There were quite a few I didn't expect, and I gasped out loud a couple of times. Though I do think the characters are a bit too ignorant to the whole Princess Selene thing; they take a bit too long to connect the dots sometimes. However, that's something I can easily overlook. I guess there are packs of lunar "wolves" hunting them, amongst other major problems, and ain't nobody got time to worry about who Princess Selene is.

I do have to mention one last thing, with the whole love interest thing because, you know, YA series aren't complete without them. (Sarcasm, in case you were wondering.) I both respect and am slightly upset with Meyer over this. In general, I think she shies away from the whole the mc-has-to-have-a-love-interest thing, as Cinder is relatively solo with a male sidekick and/or slight attraction to a prince, and Scarlet was pretty much out of the love interest issue for about half the book. But. Then Meyer brought it along, kicking and screaming, and I didn't care for it. Not a huge fan of Scarlet and Wolf so far. I just happened too fast for me. You've known each other a day, man, why are you kissing. You have a missing grandmother, for crying out loud. I think if Meyer had kept with sexual tension and attraction without all of a sudden having them all, "Oh, I can't let anything happen to you, though I've known you twenty-four hours." Seriously. I was not a fan of that quickness. At least they acknowledge the quickness themselves. I guess that's a plus.

All in all, I loved this. It's left me hungry to open Cress, and even after 24 hours, I'm still thinking about the story and how exciting and creative and amazing it was. If you loved Cinder, you'll love this!

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