Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
By Marissa Meyer

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Fairy Tale Retelling

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.  – Goodreads

The sequel of Cinder (review) and the second book of The Lunar Chronicles picks up right the events of the first. As Cinder is imprisoned and she tries to make her escape, the story shifts simultaneously to Scarlet, a fairytelling retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in this world when her grandmother, an ex-military pilot, goes missing and she ends up meeting a fighter called Wolf who joins her in her search as they trace down the leads. Much like an escaped Cinder who finds companion with Thorne in search of Scarlet’s grandmother as well. More characters and an expanded storyline fills up Scarlet as these two join paths with some help.

Cinder built up a wonderful foundation and world building in the first book, setting up the politics of the story, the feud between Lunar and Eastern Commonwealth, Queen Levana’s plot against Emperor Kaito and Cinder’s basic character and backstory. The strong foundation sets up a great platform for Scarlet to jump off from as its main story is adding more depth to Cinder as she is the key focus of the entire plot that’s being constructed but still having room to discover more with Scarlet’s side especially since her story doesn’t unfold until they do find her grandmother and know what secrets she hides that links to Princess Selene. The whole progression of events is well-paced and pretty adventurous as the dangers pick up one after the next for both Cinder and Scarlet. Scarlet’s story is pretty good since it uses this world to give a decent twist to Wolf who plays into a genetically modified soldier giving them wolf instincts.

To be fair, these stories are fairly straight forward. On one hand, its good because the world takes precedence and its a very easy read to pick up and get into the story quickly. Even if this is the sequel, its not hard to follow where it picks up from the first book and catch up a little on the context fairly easily. If there was something to criticize, Scarlet’s story does have its moments which feels a little bit like the typical love dramas especially in dialogue when things start to take a more romantic take on her and Wolf. The whole thing gets a little soapy and cringe-y at times. However, the story never does forget that the end game is to set up Scarlet and Cinder’s meeting as they join forces to set up their next step to fight against Queen Levana.

Despite its slight shortcomings, Scarlet is overall a fun read. It sets up a decent platform for the next book as well. As an ending thought, I’m definitely enjoying the world the most as they take these fairy tale retellings and puts them into a sci-fi future. Hopefully, I will be taking a look at Book 3 sooner rather than later.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyers

Goodreads Challenge progress: 2 out of 25

Next up in the reading adventures is Cinder, which is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyers. I’ve heard some really great stuff about this book. However, there is always a fear nowadays as I’m starting to realize that I’m breaking away personally from the YA books and starting to not enjoy them as much, but this book does have the twist on a fairy tale that I have yet to break out of.

Let’s check it out!

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
by: Marissa Meyers

Cinder

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. – Goodreads

Consider me a little biased but I love it when people manage to twist up something and then set it into somewhere in China. In this case, the setting is in New Beijing and for the most part, there are some fun little bits to make it all work out in this new setting. Props to Marissa Meyers for her wonderful world building for this futuristic world where people are living on planets and much like history repeats itself, New Beijing is plagued with a disease that the kingdom is trying to find a cure for. However, the twist here is that there are also cyborg-like people which have been mended back through robotics to function making this part human and part cyborg and that is what our main character Cinder is. The world and characters here are very much livened up because of Marissa Meyers fantastic descriptive writing style. She manages to paint the world so that the reader can see in their heads what is going on.

Aside from that, Cinder is a very well-constructed character. She has quite the character and has a nice balance between her emotional sensitivity and her intelligence which works well for her story here. She has to keep certain secrets as she learns more about her background while adapting to the new situations she gets caught up in whether with her stepmother/guardian or her sisters or the prince or even the Queen of Luna. On top of that, we also see where Prince Kai stands in this mess as he figures out the dilemma he is faced with when the disease takes away his father and what seems like the only solution tests who he can actually trust in the kingdom. There are conflicts and secrets and mysteries at every turn. While there are more than enough clues to hint at what the end game is making it slightly more predictable than I would have like, it still is fairly clever for what the story it is trying to tell.

Cinder was an absolute page turner. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read a Young Adult novel and was that caught up in a story. There is a great world-building and character arcs and while this book focuses on Cinder, the next books in the series will introduce other popular fairy tale characters and their twists. It seems that they will eventually cross paths as this one also introduces another fairy tale character. Its definitely one I’m looking forward to reading the second book.