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.
My first impressions of Scarlet were that it was a filler book through and through. The storyline was basic and I didn’t feel like there was actually anything for me to be interested in. I felt that way through to about 55-60% where it improved in leaps and bounds.
Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and short of calling her Little Red it was a pretty decent retelling – the requisite hood was in the picture often and she rambled on about her grandmother often but that’s a bone for me to pick at later on.
The story followed Scarlet’s journey to find her grandmother who it appears has disappeared at first read and it’s made clear that the police think she may have run away or committed suicide which I found a little hard to believe. It is later revealed that she has been kidnapped by some men with the tattoo LSOP followed by numbers.
It’s all very suspicious right from the bat and the story is worked through at a slow pace to get to the good stuff.
We followed Cinder more than we followed Scarlet and the book is blooming named after her! Throughout the first half it was nothing but “where’s my grandmother?” Etc etc and it got old pretty darn quickly. The whole ‘grabdmother’ arc to the story I understood I just didn’t agree with it – it seemed that she was more important than Scarlet as well and we spent more time following Scarlets journey to Paris than any actual background as to who anyone actually was.
We meet Wolf fairly early on in the book which I quite liked – he was a good character and I liked more than Scarlet. I didn’t like how he lied to her all the time at the beginning though but I felt he more than made up for his falsehoods later on in the story.
His “breed” so to speak are animals trapped in human form and controlled by a single entity per “Pack” which was a nice twist. I originally believed him when he said he was a Loyal Soldier to the Order of the Pack and was quite peeved to find out he was Lunar!
The secondary characters in Scarlet were a lot more likeable than the secondary characters in Cinder. Iko is back which I really liked – I think she has got just the right attitude to mix things up a bit but she’s also got that innocence that Cinder and Scarlet do not.
Thorne – now he is a character I can grow to love. He’s got all the flair and all the sarcasm needed to keep what could potentially be a dire situation amusing and lighthearted which is a nice plus.
The writing style was similar but also not at the same time and I felt at times it was missing quite a bit of oomph that Cinder had.
As above the first 55-60% were pretty tame and not a lot happened but then all hell broke loose and bodies started dropping and Cinder and Scarlet along with Thorne, Iko and Wolf started kicking major Lunar butt. I knew that Queen Levana was evil but damn if she isn’t the most evilest hag agoing. I sincerely hope she gets her just desserts and soon.
The final 40% got a lot more action packed and it no longer felt like I was taking a slow jaunt in the park. There were fights and deaths and Lunar bioelectricity battles galore and it was good. Finally saw some proper backbone in Scarlet – a shotgun wielding Scarlet – and she took to that side of her nature pretty well in comparison to how ahead been throughout the rest of the book (a bit of a wet blanket sorry folks).
That 40% of pure action made me feel comfortable giving Scarlet 4 stars, without that it would have been a solid 3.