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.
If there’s anything that I completely admire about Ms. Marissa Meyer aside from her awesome, delicious writing, it’s her frigging wild imagination. I can’t even begin to fathom how anyone could weave a bunch of fairy tales together in a huge, dramatic, plot-driven story, and not just make it work but also make it breathtaking. Cinder, the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, was one of the best YA I’ve read lately, and Scarlet? It was just as good. Both together as a whole in the grander scale of things in the series’ world? Even better. Hats off to you, madam.
It is not oftentimes that you see a series introduce a brand-new heroine in the second book, in an entirely different context and situation, and make her just as likeable and endearing as the first one. In my personal experience, such circumstances end up in a “compare and contrast” battle. “Ah, I like the other one better.” “This other heroine is so annoying! We don’t need two of ’em!” “These two have the same personality anyway. We could’ve gone without one or the other.” Granted, I found Scarlet a tad bit annoying and impulsive, but she had her own charms that provided her a distinct voice that gave her an identity glaringly distinguishable from Cinder. She was feisty and impulsive; her strong-willed personality completely different as opposed to Cinder’s timid and calculating nature. Put the two together and you have a pretty awesome team. (And yes, if you follow my status updates, you may see me bashing Scarlet, and I do admit there were times she infuriated me, but she’s overall a great character ;p)
With that said, Scarlet was an amazing continuation. The story is now seen and told in two perspectives, one in France (Vive la france!) in the eyes of Scarlet, and the other in the eyes of Cinder, who’s trying to break out of jail with the help of an American fugitive named Thorne (who, I sincerely believe, is leagues more interesting than Kai. But then again, that’s probably just me who likes outgoing and laid-back characters), who was arrested for stealing a spaceship. Both parties are on the run from something dark and sinister, and it is perhaps through their meeting and joining of forces that questions will be answered and hope recovered. All of these in the wonderful writing of Meyer, who masterly weaves and blends fairy tale and science fiction elements, while also putting together proses and internal narrations that are poetic and beautiful. I am not kidding. She’s really that good.
It was also pleasurable to read the rest of the side characters. They’re all so charming in their own ways, that I don’t think the book would be the way it is without them. Thorne is definitely one of my favorites. He is so refreshing after witnessing the uptightness of Kai in the previous installment. I know I might be the minority here, but I’m seriously wishing he ends up with timid and shy Cinder. They’d make a cute couple. Haha. Wolf, on the other hand, who is evidently Scarlet’s love interest, is mysterious and a bit more complex than the other ones, which I welcome because I really like complex individuals. So much room for character development. While I don’t really, really like Kai’s tense and uptight personality, I do find his actions and decisions here responsible and realistic, something that I look for in a ruler. And Iko? She’s awesome. ‘Nuff said.
But of course, what I like the best here, as usual, are the political drama as well as the plot that move the story. We find out more about Cinder and her heartbreaking past, and the role Scarlet’s family played in it. Apparently, there is more than what meets the eye, and despite everything Cinder found out in this episode, they are still not enough to answer the lingering questions that hound her. The twists and turns were skilfully written and revealed, and they just leave you wanting for more. Sigh, 2013 is such a good year for books.
All in all, Scarlet is an amazing continuation. Don’t let the 4 stars I gave fool you – it surpasses its predecessors in many, many ways. You do NOT want to miss this!
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