Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Scarlet: Marissa Meyer, December 12—22, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Meyer continues to take risks that pay off in the second of The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet refers to the series’ new lead, based on Little Red Riding Hood of course, and the bold move to introduce a brand new lead character for the sequel to Cinder breathes fresh energy into the story.
In pretty much alternating third-person limited-omniscient narratives, Scarlet’s story begins while Cinder’s continues apace. They are very much connected and part of the wider series arc involving Queen Levana and her bid to take over the world.
As any self-respecting redhead fairytale heroine would be, Scarlet is introduced as feisty and independent. Quickly, a danger emerges that Scarlet and Cinder will be too alike to the point they’d hamper each other’s persona, but they’re soon very distinct. Scarlet is street wise and fierce, while Cinder is sardonic and sarcastic.
In France, Scarlet’s grandmother is missing and she turns to street fighter Wolf to help find her. So far, so obvious. Again, Meyer has the task of keeping us interested when everyone knows about the wolf from the fairytale. And again, she does it magnificently. The dynamic between Scarlet and Wolf so authentic that being in on it with Meyer makes it all the more poignant. But she also throws in enough curveballs to keep you genuinely guessing.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder has escaped prison and is on the run, accompanied by her fellow jailbreaker Captain Carswell Thorne. Thorne is one of the greatest things to happen to The Lunar Chronicles. The perfect foil for Cinder, he excels as a wisecracking sidekick to the point you forget you only met him earlier in this book.
Scarlet is well-plotted, self-contained but also bringing forward the larger series arc in a massive way. Many a showdown and meeting are primed for the book’s finale that makes it a tremendous read with a smashing payoff. Fear not the new, because Scarlet, Wolf and Thorne are vital and very much core to the cast.
If anything, Scarlet improves on Cinder. The scene is well set for Book 3. Let’s do this.