Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Synopsis: Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison—even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does—in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.
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.
My thoughts: Cinder is back! I’m so in love with this series, and Scarlet proves the first book wasn’t just a fluke. I now am certain this series will just keep getting better and better.
I was really afraid that I’d miss Cinder so much–because she’s awesome–and I just wouldn’t have room in my Lunar Chronicles heart for another protagonist. First reason why that worry was silly: Cinder was still in it! Every few chapters it switched back to her (and then to Kai, thank goodness) and the Cinder cheerleader inside me got to do her flips and kicks. Second reason why that worry was silly: Scarlet is awesome. Seriously, she kicks butt, but she still stands on her own rather than being a cheap copy of Cinder. She held her own book–and a sequel, no less–and killed it. Some of her decisions were frustrating, but being rash just matched her red hood and fiery personality. And I couldn’t help but root for her even in her hopeless ‘missing grandma and crazy dad and on her own’ situation.
And then she meets Wolf. Who is this guy? Instincts say he bad news, but is he? He’s so helpful and sweet and (dare Scarlet and I say it: attractive) but he lies and is elusive and truly is a scary stranger that fights people for a living. Everything says we should stay far away. Did Scarlet and I listen? Nope. There were hints of instalove, but nothing was pushed over the top so I was okay with it. Plus, they were cute together. Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, the relationship that should not happen with the man you should not be with is exactly the kind of relationship I root for. And the back and forth, do we trust him or do we not, was intense and thrilling and I loved it.
Also, I loved Thorne and Cinder. I loved their relationship (or lack thereof), I loved their unlikely friendship and I loved the way they interacted with each other. And I loved the way Kai reacted when he discovered they were on the run together. Thorne provided some nice comic relief to the fast-paced action–I ended up liking him even though I was wary at the beginning. I loved how most of the story focused on Scarlet and Wolf, but jumped to Cinder, and every once in awhile to Kai, to remind us what was going on everywhere else in the Lunar Chronicles universe. Everything moved so quickly, and the whole book only spans a few days I think, making it a quick read, which I appreciated. The climax was freaking intense. Enemies invaded, people died, loyalties were tested and revealed…all good stuff. The only thing is that I kept waiting for Scarlet and Wolf to catch up with Cinder and Thorne, and they did eventually, but I wish it had been sooner because I wanted to see the dream team in action. It did make me super excited, though, for the third book to see where the ending of Scarlet takes these awesome characters.
Rated 5/5 for another amazing retelling that not only builds off of a beloved story but debunks the theory that the sequel is always worse than the first