Right, I’ve been absent from this blog for far too long and I do have reasons, not that they’re good ones, but that’s not what I’m here to explain right now.
No, right now I’m here to post a review of the second book in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, which I read the second it landed in my mailbox back in late February/early March and have been touting to friends with great enthusiasm ever since. But, I just found out yesterday that the staff at MacTeen have a surprise up their sleeves for bloggers who have posted reviews of Scarlet. Well, I hate not to be in on surprises so I thought I’d expand on the review I posted to Goodreads some time ago.
While Cinder is a reworking of the Cinderella tale, Scarlet takes on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet Benoit lives and works on a farm in France with her grandmother, except that her grandmother is missing. Scarlet refuses to believe that she’s been abandoned or that her grandmother is dead. Reluctantly enlisting the help of an itinerant street fighter, Wolf, Scarlet goes in search of her beloved grandmother and discovers more than she expects about the woman she has known and loved. And, who is Wolf, really? Should she trust him and why is she so drawn to him?
Interwoven with Scarlet’s quest is the continuing story of Cinder who needs to escape from prison before she is handed over to the merciless Queen Levana.
Now, I have to admit, it took me a bit longer to warm up to Scarlet than Cinder, but I think that is a consequence of the structural requirements of the story Meyer needs to tell here. This second volume of The Lunar Chronicles is a high adrenaline speed chase from start to finish. As such it suffers a bit in comparison to Cinder. Because of the introduction of a raft of new characters while simultaneously propelling forward two separate, action packed narrative threads that don’t collide until near the end, there is not nearly as much of the character driven interest that made the first volume such a standout. What there is does work well — I enjoyed the romance between Scarlet and Wolf, Cinder’s growing acceptance of her identity, and most especially Iko’s adaptation to her new body. Iko, and Thorne, as comic relief elements flirt with the hackneyed conventions we all know so well from Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but they are charming nonetheless.
In the end, this may not be the best entry into this series, but it still fabulous entertainment and transforms the central figures of the fairytale canon into self-reliant and capable young women that it is a joy to encounter in the pages of a book. I am extremely disappointed that the next volume, Cress — which incorporates the story of Rapunzel into its plot — won’t be available until next year. I am not a patient woman.