After our Read-Along for Cinder, Lauren and I immediately dived into Scarlet. However, this book didn’t hold the same draw for either one of us, so the Read-Along sort of fizzled out, to the point where we both went almost a month without touching it. However, we ultimately decided that enough was enough, so this past weekend got back to it. As tends to be the case with the two of us, we had similar feelings regarding the book: both liking it, but not loving it. You can read my thoughts below, but do make sure you also pop by Lauren’s blog to read her review, too!
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.
As someone who basically devoured Cinder and loved every single second of it, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Scarlet. I was expecting more of the same: awesome characters, nonstop action, and a pulse-pounding pace of events that kept me thoroughly engaged in the story. However, while I ultimately came away from Scarlet liking it quite a lot, I didn’t love it as much as Cinder. There were a number of reasons for this, I think, but it got to the point where I started thinking of this as the read-along that wouldn’t end, which wasn’t what I (or Lauren) was really going for. While I wouldn’t call Scarlet a disappointment, I do wish I weren’t the black sheep; it seems like nearly everyone else loved this book more than the first!
I think my biggest problem with Scarlet was that the focus wasn’t simply on Cinder, but instead on a whole new cast of characters. I know, the title should have clued me in, but I had really grown to love Cinder, and really didn’t like sharing her “screen time” with someone else. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy Scarlet – I liked her stubbornness, her love for her grandmother, and the way she refused to give up – but I wasn’t drawn to her like I was to Cinder. This is probably because Scarlet’s upbringing was quite a bit different from Cinder’s, in that she mostly had a safe, stable home, and grew up with someone who loved her. The letumosis likewise wasn’t a constant threat to Scarlet as it was to Cinder and those around her, which just gave the town of Rieux a much different feel than New Beijing. All in all, it just took me longer to warm up to her and really become invested in her story.
There were also SO many different viewpoints in this book! We had Cinder, Scarlet, Kai, and even a chapter from Levana’s point of view at the end. That made the book really busy, at least to me personally; just as I’d get interested in one storyline we’d switch to another. This gave the book a sort of jerky feel to it, as if the author were tugging the reader in more than one direction at a time. This is the biggest reason I was able to set it down for so long without any desire to get back to it; with so many loose plot threads, I ended up feeling ambivalent to pretty much everything (except Kai).
Even though it took me most of the book to warm up to some of the new characters, I did ultimately come away from Scarlet liking everyone we’d met. Thorne was hilarious, and provided some much-needed comic relief, and I couldn’t help but love Wolf, particularly his conversation with Scarlet at the end (“mushy stuff in the galley”, aww ♥). I loved that Scarlet wasn’t at all a damsel in distress, and also seemed to have unending faith in people, even when they didn’t necessarily deserve it. I was also happy to see Iko back in a fabulous new form, and my heart broke time and time again for Kai, who is just really having a terrible time of it. I can’t wait to see how Cinder’s going to get him out of the mess he’s in!
While Scarlet wasn’t a favorite like Cinder was, I did still very much enjoy the story. I love how Ms. Meyer has combined the two fairy tales, and can’t wait to see how she’s going to add Rapunzel into the mix. I do worry about adding even MORE characters, since that was my biggest complaint with this book, but am hopeful that – since I did eventually get used to it in Scarlet – it won’t bother me as much the next time. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what will happen next in Cress!
EXTRAS: Marissa Meyer announced that she finished Cress, and posted some very small teasers from the start of the book, including the opening sentence. Read that HERE if you’re interested!
Also, aimmyarrowshigh on Tumblr created a (fake) nail polish set inspired by The Lunar Chronicles, which I really wish existed in reality because I would snatch up The Commonwealth, Rieux, and possibly Iko, in a heartbeat. See the set HERE! Which colors would YOU pick up?
And finally, Esther from Macmillan Audio sent me a clip of the audiobook for Scarlet to share with you all! Please click the play button below to listen to the excerpt. You can purchase the audiobook HERE on Amazon.