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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Review)

The Lunar Chronicles #2
Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance, Fairytale, Retelling
Publication.Date:February 5, 2013
Pages:454 (hardcover)
Published By:  Feiwel and Friends
Website:Marissa Meyer 

Scarlet on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

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.

"Let me guess," Throne said. "Breaking and entering?"

After a long silence of examining the retracting mechanism, the girl wrinkled her nose. "Two counts of treason, if you must know. And resisting arrest, and unlawful use of bioelectricity. Oh, and illegal immigration, but honestly, I think that's a little excessive."
A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”
White spots flashed in Kai's vision and he shoved himself back to his feet. "Why don't you just say what you mean? You've been wanting a reason to invade Earth for ten years and now you're using this one escape Lunar, this nobody, to accomplish it."

The corners of Levana's lip tilted. "You seem to misunderstand my motives, so I will say precisely what I mean. I will someday rule the Commonwealth, and it is your decision whether that is to be through a war or through a peaceful and diplomatic marriage union. But this has nothing to do with a war and politics. I want this girl, or I want her corpse. I will burn your country to the ground looking for her if I must."
"Whererewe?" he muttered.

"Oh, you're awake," said Cinder, returning with the salve and gauze. "I was hoping you'd stay knock out awhile longer. The peace and quiet was a pleasant change."
When she had gone, Throne let out a low whistle. "I know, I know. She seems a little-" crossing his eyes, he swirled both fingers around his ear -"but it's really part of her charm, once you get to know her."

I read Cinder back in February while I was in Disney World - yes, that was a conscious choice - and absolutely fell in love with it. So why it took me so long to pick up Scarlet, I'll never know. According to Marissa, she said it was so I wouldn't have to wait so long between Scarlet and Cress. That is a very distinct possibility and one I intend to roll with.

Scarlet picks up not long after we left Cinder. Cinder is in the process of breaking out of jail when she drops in on Captain Carswell Thorne.Throne, in jail for numerous infractions (in numerous countries), escapes with Cinder in his spaceship, which Cinder uses as a temporary body for Iko. I love Iko so much! She continues to be her sassy little self and fan girl over Kai - and flirt shamelessly with Thorne.

Whom I love as well! (Yes, I'm going to say I love a lot of characters. Can't help it!) He and Cinder and the perfect duo, like siblings - so no fear of a love triangle, dear readers. They certainly fight like siblings and I love when they interact with one another. Thorne, along with Iko, create the perfect comic relief. One scene in particular that amuses me is when he is watching Cinder and {Person 1} arguing. He's just sitting on the floor, chin in hand, watching them go back and forth, all while casually holding a shotgun on {Person 2}.

Meanwhile, during the daring prison escape and subsequent laying low, Marissa introduces us to two new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet, whose favorite article of clothing is a red hoodie, is on equal footing with Cinder. She is strong, intelligent, and willing to go above and beyond to save a beloved family member, her grandmother. When the police close her grandmother's missing person case, dismissing it as an old lady who just wandered off, Scarlet brings it upon herself to prove them (and everybody else in their tiny town) that that is not the case. After some major internal debate, she enlists Wolf, a street fight, to help her.

I fell for Wolf from the moment we met him. I think he and Scarlet are great together (train scene, swoon) and I cannot wait to see more of them. Wolf is definitely a complex individual, but his progression throughout the novel cannot be ignored. He's the perfect bad boy, without out all annoying and cliched hangups. I did think their relationship bloomed rather quickly, toeing the line of insta-love, but given that it's fairytale based, I'm willing to over look this fact and hopefully we'll see more relationship development in Cress.

The story itself, as a whole, just got better. We spend a fair amount of time jumping between Throne and Cinder or Scarlet and Wolf, occasionally dropping in to see Emperor Kai having a rough time of it. Kai is obviously having difficulty regarding the entire situation as he truly has feeling for Cinder, at times dismissing them as a Lunar trick. Though I think that's just a coping mechanism since it's either turn in Cinder, once he finds her, or face war with Luna - neither decision he is very keen on. There's a reason I always say I'd rather be a princess than a queen - too much responsibility. I just was the fancy dresses and fun hats.

But I digress.

Marissa has an amazing talent of making these well known stories her own. She stays true to the heart of these tales, with nods and winks to the originals, but twists it in such a way that they are well and truly her stories and her characters.

As far as Cinder's specific storyline, there wasn't a whole lot of progression as most of it was focused on Scarlet's saga. This is no way took away from my enjoyment of Scarlet and Marissa did an amazing job of laying the groundwork for Cress and Winter. The last scene between Cinder and Iko is extremely powerful and it's easy to see how Cinder has gone from a mere 16-year-old girl to somebody ready and willing to "overthrow an entire regime" (430).

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