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.
Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series, and introduces us to Scarlet Benoit, a young girl living with her grandmother in Rieux, France. When her grandmother suddenly disappears without a trace, Scarlet embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, no matter what the cost. The book is based on the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ fairy tale.
When I finished Cinder and moved onto Scarlet, I have to admit that the beginning initially threw me, as I wasn’t expecting the book to be primarily about Scarlet and her adventure through the French countryside. I knew that Meyer was going to be introducing new characters along the way, but I’d expected Cinder’s tale to continue, with small portions from other characters.
Once I realized that each book would focus on new characters, with appearances from characters introduced in previous books, I fell into the book. Along the way, we meet Wolf, a shy street fighter whom saves Scarlet from herself a few times throughout the book. We follow the duo as they make their way to Paris to find her grandmother, who is believed to have important information regarding Princess Selene.
Scattered through the novel, we also catch up with Cinder, and eventually Carswell Thorne and Dr. Erland (both of which help her escape from her prison in New Beijing), as they make their way to Africa with the authorities hot on their trails, so Cinder can discover more regarding her Lunar heritage.
Throughout this book in particular, I found myself waiting for the other shoe to drop in a few instances – Wolf’s background, Cinder’s escape, the true loyalty of D. Erland and Thorne just to name a few – In some cases, the answers are provided, in others you have to wait until the next book to figure things out.
I found the book to be well-paced, but towards the end I almost found it too long in spots. I was anticipating things to happen earlier than they did, and in some cases I found that there was just too much going on, with no real progress – The book felt like it slowed down drastically about 3/4 of the way through, and never really found it’s footing again after that. There were a few key reveals near the end that lacked the build-up, because of the slow down.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, but perhaps not as much as I did Cinder. Scarlet is a fiery, strong female lead, who carries the book. She has a tendency to fly off the handle and react to things without fully thinking them through. Overall, a solid 3 out of 5 stars. This was probably my least favourite book in the series.