Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
So recently I read a book on a whim called Cinder. Cinder was a young adult novel laying around my apartment for a few years now. And I always brushed the book off to the side as I was growing tired of the tropes of the Young Adult genre. But come unemployment and the pandemic, and I found myself reading some books that I had been ignoring so long. And when I read Cinder, I was shocked by how clever it turned out to be and I was in love with it. So when I finished the book I was ready to dive into the rest of the Lunar Chronicles. Here is my review of the second book in the series called Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.
So what is it about? It follows two stories. First it continues Cinder’s tale. After being trapped in a New Beijing prison, she escapes with fellow prisoner who happens to be a pilot. They escape and Cinder who learns she’s the last lunar princess and they travel to France to find the woman who took care of her in her youth and learn more about her past and who she really is. Second, it follows Scarlet, a red head teenage girl who desperately wants to find her missing grandmother. She soon learns her grandmother is being held captive by a gang of animalistic thugs. An ex gang member named Wolf decides to help her and they travel to the Paris to save her grandmother. And after a lot of twists and turns, these two story lines intertwine in a great climax.
So the good and bad? We’ll let’s start with the bad. The scifi remix of Red Riding Hood is nowhere as creative or clever as the Cinderella remix was in the first book. It was actually very tame and boring during Scarlets half of the book. I was just hoping Wolf would turn into a werewolf or there would be a shootout, or her grandmother was a traitor or something. Where the last book cranked the fantastical to an eleven, this book brought it down to a five. It was basically Wolf and Scarlet traveling together and falling in love. Speaking of which, that love story was so sudden and out of nowhere, that it just didn’t work at all. Also Scarlett is not a good character. She is not a very smart. Red flags are being waved throughout this story and she pays attention to none of them. She falls in love with Wolf when she doesn’t even know him. I felt Scarlet was quite dumb in much of her decision making. Then on top of that, Scarlet is a damsel in distress for the entire book. She always needs Wolf to save her and it was annoying that she had no real agency over her story.
Now the good? Despite the fact that Scarlet and Wolf’s story was a mundane tag along journey full of young adult tropes, the climax with the two of them is masterfully well done. And I could see the author clearly had this scene in mind and was just spinning her wheels to get there. So there is a pretty good pay off to Scarlet's story. Also Cinder’s tale is great as well with her new friend Thorne. It’s slow in some parts because they have to lay low from the police in parts of the story, but it all seemed so meaningful. And Cinder’s story is just great and pulls on some heart strings at a couple points as she uncovers her past. The moment it is revealed why she’s cyborg and why she doesn’t remember her childhood, is heartbreaking. Also this story take on the big bad wolf is interesting. There are these beastlike half wolf half human super soldiers on the moon revealed in the last book. But here the author did not approach the tale as one would expect after that reveal. It was a nuanced approach and though I have mixed feelings about the choices made. (I’m a big creature feature fan.) I will say I did not see it coming, adding some uniqueness to a completely different type of monster. Also it had a pretty good cliffhanger as well.
Overall, this was a fine sequel. I thoroughly loved sixty percent of it, as I felt the other forty percent was just okay. From the review so far, I’m sure you can determine which parts were which. It’s not as good as the first book, but I thought it a pretty good read regardless. So if you like the first book, then go ahead and give this a read. It may not be as fantastical but it’s still pretty fun.
4 smoothies out of Five
Overall Rating: The Red Riding Hood Scifi Remix does Not Have the Same Charm as Cinder, but it’s Still Pretty Fun.