Sunday, March 2, 2014

REVIEW: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Original Publication Year: 2013
Genre(s): YA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Awards: None
Format: Audio
Narrated By: Rebecca Soler

Recommended Subtitle: Little Red Riding Hood is Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names

I absolutely love the premise of this YA series – retold fairy tales in a science fiction setting. The purpose of “Scarlet” is to reframe the Little Red Riding Hood tale while still continuing the overall story begun in “Cinder”. There were a lot of things I could imagine going wrong here but I needn’t have worried because it continued to entertain.

This book continues right after the end of “Cinder” with two parallel stories. About 1/3rd of the book is spent with Cinder as she escapes from prison and begins to look for information about her past and with Emperor Kai as he negotiates the first few weeks of his reign. The other 2/3rd of the story is spent with Scarlet as she is desperately looking for her missing grandmother. She is helped in her quest by a mysterious and attractive young man going by the name of Wolf.

The whole approach to this series is really interesting. One overarching story with each book focusing on it from a different angle while incorporating a completely fresh story based on a fairy tale. I can’t think of another series that is structured this way, though I’d be interested if anyone else knows of one? It works surprisingly well. I wondered if I would resent not continuing on with the characters of the first book being front and center, but it really didn’t bother me at all. There was enough time spent with the original characters while still allowing the new story and characters to be adequately developed. I say adequately because we could have learned more about Wolf and for that matter more about Scarlet outside of the fact that she really loves her Grandmother, but I felt satisfied enough and the beauty of it is that I know there are two more books in which to get to know them. Cinder is also starting to struggle with some of the consequences of her new abilities and this is also dealt with more superficially than I’d like but for now I’m having a good enough time not to mind too much.

The character of Captain Thorn is a charming addition and works as a good foil for Cinder. Cinder’s interactions with him really helped me to like her more and I think she developed into the character I wanted her to be. I assume he is being set up as perhaps Cress’ love interest though with the name Thorn it seems he should be Sleeping Beauty’s prince? Isn't she the one enclosed behind a thorny rose hedge? I guess I’ll find out when I continue on with Cress!

Basically, I think this series is just a great big barrel of fun. I wouldn’t stare too hard at things because there are definitely some thin spots. However, there is enough depth to allow me to be drawn into the conflicts, the pacing is fast and expertly done, the writing good and the characters are very likeable and interesting. It is all set in a very interesting futuristic world which in itself enhances the story. I wasn’t profoundly emotionally moved or affected by the book but I was completely absorbed by the story and found it hard to put it down.

I ended up listening to this one on audio and I want to also really commend the reader. She did a great job distinguishing all the characters and giving all the right inflections. Scarlet yells a lot and this could have gotten irritating but she kept her likeable. Overall an enjoyable reading.

Final Verdict: Great storytelling and characters that are easy to like make this another page turner. Can’t wait to get my hands on Cress!

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