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.