Read: February 6-10, 2013
Published: February 5, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Source: Lent from Asheley @ Into The Hall of Books*
Category: Fairytale retelling, sci-fi, fantasy, YA
Series: Book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles
Note: This is the second book in a series. My letter may contain some spoilers for Cinder.
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. (From Goodreads)
Dear Ms. Meyer,
I would like to ask for your forgiveness. You see, I doubted you. When I read Cinder, I was enchanted by your unique take on Cinderella, featuring cyborgs, a futuristic Beijing and aliens who can control the mind. I loved that it was possible to see details of the original fairytale in your story, but the characters and plot were clearly your own creation. However, I was mad at you when I finished Cinder. I didn't like that the ending was messy. Cinderella didn't end up with Prince Charming and live Happily Ever After? WHAT? Isn't that what's supposed to happen?
Then when I read that Scarlet, the second book in the series, was going to be set in France and feature Little Red Riding Hood, I was even more frustrated. I couldn't fathom how you were going to continue Cinder and Prince Kai's story when book two was about someone else entirely. When I started Scarlet and saw that they are still in there, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was even treated to a fantastic set of new characters that are quickly becoming my favorites. The world in which these characters live is also becoming richer and darker. Page by page as your vision unfolds, the landscape and society have become more defined. I cannot get enough.
Would you mind if we talk a bit about these new characters you've introduced, as well as some of the returning ones? I want to start with Scarlet. Can I tell you a secret? Scarlet annoyed me some of the time. She's just so determined to rescue her grandmother, even if it means putting herself right in the path of danger. But that is also what I admire about her: she doesn't give up on the people she cares about. Scarlet and I did have some bonding moments, though. We especially connected in our anger. There was a point in your story where she and I were exactly on the same page about how we felt about something, and I totally had her back after that.
In her search to locate her missing grandmother, Scarlet meets Wolf. Isn't he a delicious package? He is a fascinating mix of innocent vulnerability and powerful verging on insanity. I just couldn't get enough of him. It was like you were reading my mind when you created him. How did you know I like characters who do morally reprehensible things but whom you can't help but like anyway? I loved Scarlet and Wolf's dynamic. I think relationships are the strongest and most swoonworthy when an author can show me the strength that a couple is together and how well they balance each other. Although I'll admit to being worried about what the future holds for these two, I am also excited about what they are going to accomplish.
While Scarlet is searching for her grandmother, Cinder is escaping from prison. I was really impressed with Cinder's growth in Scarlet. She is not pushed to the side in this story at all (why did I doubt you on this?). Instead, I can see why you ended Cinder the way you did, because Cinder still has a lot to figure out about who she is and what that means for her future. She made a lot of progress towards that in this book. I know we are in store for big things from Cinder, and I am looking forward to watching her accomplish them.
Cinder gets out of jail with the help of another convicted felon named Carswell Thorne (we both know I'm using the term 'help' loosely, when referring to Captain Thorne). Thankfully, he has a space ship and an abundance of charm to make up for his other lacking qualities. Even so, I wasn't sure about him at first. I don't usually go for those seedy, leering con-men types. But you succeeded in making him endearing anyway. I have a feeling we have yet to tap into his full potential.
I don't know if you're aware of this, but I don't really like love triangles. I'm not sure how you feel about them. But I wanted to thank you for not putting any into this book. I will admit to being a bit worried about Carswell spending so much time with Cinder, but you succeeded in creating an interesting dynamic between them without the story giving off unnecessary triangle vibes. Of course I'm still nervous about what the future holds for Kai and Cinder, but I have not given up hope for them either.
Did you notice I haven't talked about Queen Lavana yet? Frankly, she scares me. I can't even imagine all the evil things she has waiting up her sleeve. But did I detect a few tiny moments of humanity from her? Stop that. I don't like thinking of her as anything other than a power hungry monster. Even if there is more to Levana than meets the eye, she still needs to be taken out. Immediately.
Again, I want to apologize for not realizing sooner that your vision for this series is much bigger (and better) than mine. Scarlet is both engaging and surprising. It is also even more exciting and dangerous than Cinder was. I've loved discovering more of the lush futuristic world you've created, and cannot wait for where you're going to take us to next.
I am completely hooked on The Lunar Chronicles and am already salivating to get my hands on the third book Cress. I will not make the mistake of doubting you again, that's for sure.
A devoted reader
Love Triangle Factor: None. That doesn't mean that every relationship is in a happy place (yet).
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. The end left me eager for what is to come, but it also felt more settled than the conclusion of Cinder.
Before I started Scarlet, I read The Queen's Army a short story that takes place in the Lunar world. You don't want to miss it!
*THANK YOU THANK YOU, ASHELEY!!! You are the best.
Lauren, I LOVE THIS REVIEW! Seriously, the format is so creative and you're spot on about everything! Scarlet is such a formidable heroine precisely because of her loyalty - a trait that possibly even makes her more endearing and relatable to Wolf, who, by the way, completely stole my heart. I did think that Cinder's growth was logical, but possibly needed a little more foundation before the jump in thought at the end. I guess I just wasn't feeling it as much. I cannot wait for Cress though, now!(: Amazing review, dearest! Your reviews always make me so happy! :DReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Keertana! I had a blast writing it, and for some reason the informal format made my words flow a lot more smoothly. I LOVE Scarlet and Wolf! How will MM top them? I don't have as much trouble with Cinder as you do. I really enjoyed her growth in this book. But as she seems to be the center of the entire series (or at least the key to getting rid of the queen), I'm hoping she will grow in strength for you.Delete
Lovely review, Lauren!! I am very excited for this book and I cannot wait to have my schedule cleared so I can read it! I think this series is so unique. I can't wait to see what else is in store for us. :DReplyDelete
Thanks, Jess. You are going to LOVE this book and especially Wolf and Scarlet!Delete
Ha! I LOVE the format of this review...and also, you just made me want to read Cinder AND Scarlet. The cyborg thing has been keeping me away from Cinder, have to be honest about this...but now I can't wait to get into them. :)ReplyDelete
I didn't know much about cyborgs, and that idea did freak me out a bit. But it's done really well here. I hope you do give Cinder a chance and then jump right into this one too.Delete
Yay for letter to the author reviews! I enjoyed venting to Richelle Mead after the Golden lily and may do the same with The Indigo Spell:)ReplyDelete
So. Let's talk details. Love that you went in doubting (as both I and Keertana did) and walked away feeling like Meyers TOTALLY delivered in this second installment. I really felt like we were witnessing Meyer's growth as a writer with this book. She already had a great imagination and creative premise, but her skills at developing old characters and creating dynamic new ones, furthering the story arc, writing a swoony male lead and hot romance, and employing some awesome foreshadowing really impressed me in Scarlet.
I love how she balanced both the old storyline (Cinder/ Kai) with the new (Scarlet/ Wolf) and allowed them to intertwine and connect.
And WOLF. Whew. YES he IS a delicious little package! I love that she revved up the romance between those two. It gives me hopes for Cinder and Kai and any other romantic storylines she is plotting.
Three cheers for Iko's return and THORNE. YES. So stoked to see what happens with him in Cress:)
I need to email you about what you had to say regarding Lavana and her "humanity." A couple of things I want to chat with you about.
I love this review! And I am SO excited for the next book in the series. We are going to the moon, FINALLY, yipee!:)
Oh I'd totally forgotten about that letter you wrote! It was great. But I think you should definitely do a follow up to RM about how you're feeling about her series after The Indigo Spell.Delete
YES. I agree with this about MM growing as a writer. That's also what's great about a series of interlocking books. As the series moves along the storyline and characters become much more complex. I feel like I understand the Lunar world and it's people much better now. SIDE NOTE: Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series is like this. If you can get through the first book (well really the first 2/3 of the first book, you will LOVE the entire series.) Once you get to book 2 WATCH OUT. I hope you give it a chance sometime soon. We like the same type of romances and I think you will LOVE the ones in this series. But I digress.
I also loved how the story lines were balanced and played off of each other. Oh WOLF! He was a big surprise, especially after sweet Kai. But I do love Cinder and Kai, and I think they have big moments to come.
I didn't mention Iko, but I do LOVE her. So fun to see her back and in a new role. I think Thorne is going to surprise us as well. I bet he's going to get serious at some point, or at least surprise us. I hope to see some big growth ahead for him.
I'm starting to rethink what I said about the queen's humanity...hmmm. It was pretty vague so possibly it didn't mean what I thought it did. It is intriguing to get inside her head though.
According to GR, book 3 takes place in the Sahara Desert and Book 4 takes place on the moon? Have you heard that as well. I do want more of the moon.
So all that stuff you said about doubting Marissa Meyer? Yeah that's what it's felt like for me! Haha i didnt want to be mean but i was like whaat? New characters? NO! I like our already characters that are established i want to continue their story. But after a few reviews I'm beginning to think my yelling and misjudgment were out of line. Waiting for my copy over at the library!ReplyDelete
I hope you read this and love it! I think it will pleasantly surprise you. And you're gong to love Wolf. Hope your copy comes soon.Delete
I loved Thorne. Any guy with a sense of humor is okay with me.ReplyDelete
And yes, I'm loving the way these are not really sequels or companion books but something else all together. Very cool!
YES to all of that. Thorne is pretty fun. Can't wait for more of him. I love these types of interlocking books. They don't flow like normal first person three book series, and I think end up being better because of it. Both Melina Marchetta's the Lumatere Chronicles and Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief Series are written like this and their books keep getting stronger.Delete
I am so glad that there does seem to be a much bigger picture that's starting to develop! That's exciting and also makes me feel better about continuing with yet another YA series. Although I do think that The Lunar Chronicles is more than "just another series," even if I've only read Cinder so far. I've read the two short stories as well, but I actually wasn't a huge fan. The only thing I got out of The Queen's Army was a suspicion of Wolf's potential background. We shall see. Like you mentioned, it really was pretty cool to witness how Meyer both used the Cinderella story and made it into her own thing. I can't wait to read Scarlet!ReplyDelete
I agree, the Lunar Chronicles definitely don't follow the standard three book YA series format and that is really refreshing. I did read Glitches but I thought The Queen's Army was fantastic, sorry you didn't feel the same way. I really hope that you do love Scarlet. It is fun how she incorporates details from Little Red Riding Hood, and I also love the way that Cinder's story is continued. I think the series is going to be epic when it's complete!Delete
I read this on my phone the other day and LOVED it so much. I'm SO THRILLED that you gave this series another chance and connected with it. It's SO MUCH FUN, right??? And how about that Wolf? Great character, great great character - and I don't only mean as a love interest, but seriously just a great addition to the cast. I could actually write a book about my love for both books here in the comments but I won't. I'll save for our discussion, but YAY to you for giving this one another shot and liking it! And I'm so excited for the next two books, but that's the love/stress about reviewing early is that the wait is longer. :)ReplyDelete
THIS is a fun blog post. I just want to jump up and down that you liked the book!!!
THANK YOU THANK YOU for lending this book to me! I'm still thinking about it. FANTASTIC characters and a great storyline. I just adore when series get bigger and more complex as they go along. Oh Wolf *sigh* I love him. I agree, really intriguing apart from being a swoonworthy love interest. He has an edginess to him that is really appealing. Can't wait to discuss the next one with you too!Delete
Please write more reviews in letter format. They are fantastic, and fun, and inventive, and make me happy in this way where I feel like we're corresponding. I'm so happy to hear that you came out happy in the end, despite your doubts at the start. I also kind of love that Scarlet annoyed you a bit (because even though I loved her, I LOVE hearing when people go a different way on a character), and of course, I am all about more Thorne development. I was so happy that he ended up just being that flirty kind of guy, who had no real intentions on Cinder so that there are no love triangles.
Thank you for your encouraging words. This review was actually surprisingly easy to write, because there was a personal nature to it that made it flow right out of my head. I will definitely write more of these.
You are one whose opinions of characters often differs from me, and I love your reviews as well for that very reason. Thankfully, Scarlet did grow on me, and Wolf is really who stole my heart. But Thorne was also marvelous and I think he has bigger things to come. I can't wait to see what kind of woman captures his heart ;).
YAY for no love triangles.
Talk again soon,
Hehe, awesome review! I've got Scarlet sitting on my library pile right now meaning that I must read it before returning it, so excited :DReplyDelete
Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings
I am so glad I picked up Cinder and finally started reading it. It was on my to-read list for AGES. It is a FANTASTIC read. And I seem to agree with the consencus that I absolutely LOATHE love triangles. I have commited readers felony before and cheated and peeked at the ends of books and even gone as far as to stop reading them if my intended characters do not end up together. (Ehem, team Cinder and Kai). :) Love what you are doing so far and I cannot wait for Cress!! This futuristic sci-fi take on old classic fairy tales is AMAZING!ReplyDelete
I love fairytale re-tellings, which was why I picked up Cinder although Cinderella always make me wary because of the insta-love factor. However Cinder was one of the best I every read - up there with Ella Enchanted :) Mrs.Meyer was great at showing the interactions between Kai and Cinder, to say nothing about the amazing world they live in. Your review gives me courage to pick up book 2! My interest always wanes if the sequel has new characters because I get so attached to the old ones, but I am glad Cinder and Kai are a major part of the book...ReplyDelete
By the way, I recently discovered your blog over the Christmas holidays and I LOVE it. Your reviews are insightful and fun, really a joy to read. I already read so many books based on your blog - good thing it was winter break. Can't wait to see what you recommend next!
I actually read this one not too long ago! I decided to start off the year with this series and it so cool and unique! I really enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
This one is my favorite, mostly because Little Red is my fave story & we meet Wolf and the awesome Thorne, who just happens to be my favorite character!
Thanks for this review!!! It made me want to read your review of Cress but no!!!! :(((( I must contain my feels huhu no review/spoilers till I finish reading it :)))ReplyDelete
I liked Scarlet, but not as much as Cinder. I am not a fan of constantly switching POVs. Plus, I read The Queen Army before Scarlet, and I think it ruined some of the suspense around Wolf's character.ReplyDelete
Wow. Just wow. This review was really incredible! I love how you did it in the form of a letter to the author. It was very interesting to read. I also agree with your opinion on love triangles and I'm SO glad that Captain Thorne and Cinder didn't get together (partly because I'm a Cinder/Kai shipper and partly because I'm a Cress/Thorne shipper).ReplyDelete
I really need to start this series!! What is wrong with me! This sounds amazing!! Thank for the review! I'm so reading this like today! ahahReplyDelete
Even though it wasn't as good as Cinder, I still enjoyed it. Great review! I can't wait for Cress!ReplyDelete
I'm really glad she didn't put any love triangles in the series either. There's already so much going on for Cinder that I don't think it would be a good idea to have her in a love triangle. I definitely want to see something between Captain Throne and Cress.ReplyDelete
I actually loved Captain Thorne, and was hoping for some triangle to appear, because I love love triangles. I don't know why either, because I always like the friendzoned one more than the one that ends up with the main character. Sigh. Maybe I like being hurt. Haha, I hope not. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who was surprised that Cinder didn't end with a happy ending! Can't wait for Cress though.ReplyDelete
Wow, I really enjoyed reading your review! I already have wanted to read this series and my sister keeps telling me I need to read it, but your review has made me want to pick it up right away!!!ReplyDelete
I really like how you made this review into a letter format for Ms. Meyer. I have never read a review like this before and it is so creative!ReplyDelete
I have to agree with you about everything you wrote in this review, especially about how Cinder was not pushed to the side. Like you, when I found out the second book in The Lunar Chronicles was going to be about a different character, Scarlet, in a completely different setting, France, I was worried about what was going to happen with Cinder. I love how Ms. Meyer had a great balance between Cinder and Scarlet's stories. She made it in a way that the readers are curious to know what happens to both characters; they're not just waiting to finish one POV to get back to the more interesting one. I couldn't be disappointed when one POV ended because I would be able to read what was going on with the other characters!
I also have to agree with you about the love triangles. I don't exactly hate love triangles, but I don't love them either. It was really refreshing to read a book where there are no love triangles. Even when Captain Throne was introduced, Ms. Meyer wrote it in a way that I didn't think Throne and Cinder would become romantically involved.
I'm glad I found your blog and after reading this review of Scarlet, I really want to read your review of Cress. However, I can't because of spoilers but I will read it immediately after I finish Cress! I can't wait for it to come out so I can finally get my hands on it!
Thanks for this really enjoyable review!
I fell in love with Cinder.ReplyDelete
I also enjoyed the fact that there was no love triangle in this book, and I am worried about Wolf and Scarlet, but I must also agree that their romance had a lot of sparks. Yowza! Love that!ReplyDelete
I only skimmed your letter because I haven't read Cinder yet, but I love that you did your review in the form of a letter to the author! Cute idea :)ReplyDelete
I definitely agree about the love triangles. I think a lot of authors throw that in there because so many people enjoy reading about it, but at the same time, it does get boring and just a tad overused.ReplyDelete
I really liked the new characters, Scarlet, Wolf and Thorne. For some reason I never feel like I like "new characters" as much as I like the ones that were introduced earlier (it's silly, i know). But I loved Scarlet and connected with her almost as much as I connected with Cinder. She's so brave and determined too!
Now I can't wait to read Cress and Winter and get to know them as well!
I really like how you wrote this review. Doing it as a letter is creative! I had the same worries when I read SCARLET as you did, because I'd loved CINDER so much.ReplyDelete
I love your review so much! I too was frustrated at the end of Cinder and wondered why we were going to be introduced to a new character (Scarlet) and not be following Cinder. But the way that Marissa Meyer put the stories together worked great! I thought it was so neat, and before reading Scarlet, I really thought that we weren't going to know much more of her story.ReplyDelete
I loved Scarlet so much and I can't wait to read Cress!
I completely agree with your review! I felt the same things! Why does Marissa do this to us? But the journey is absolutely amazing and I can't wait for Cress and Winter!ReplyDelete