Review: ‘Scarlet’ by Marissa Meyer


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.

I reviewed Cinder less than three months ago and now, having read Scarlet, I have one regret about that first review — that I already gave Cinder five stars, because there’s nowhere left to go with Scarlet. It deserves at least half a star more than the original. But I don’t want to adjust the rating for Cinder down either, as it was an excellent book in its own right.

The thing that made me enjoy Scarlet more was that the predictability that came with the Cinderella story — that she’d go to a ball and lose her (ahem) “glass slipper”* — was less obvious in Scarlet. Partly that’s because Queen Levana’s evil scheme is hotting up, and the political intrigue and world events of this awesome sci-fi Earth have more of their own life. Partly that’s because the elements of Little Red Riding Hood that Scarlet’s story pay homage to are woven in a little more loosely. There’s a girl with a red hoodie, a street fighter named “Wolf” from a gang of “wolves”, and a missing grandmother. But no woodcutter to speak of. Unless Thorne was meant to be the woodcutter…? If he was, I missed it!

That being said, I saw almost all of the plot twist coming. I don’t think it was telegraphed as clearly as was the one in Cinder; maybe it was just a lucky guess. My suspicions didn’t undermine my enjoyment of the book, though. (I also have my suspicions about who will play the part of Rapunzel in the next book, Cress, but I’ve only just ordered it, so I’ll have to wait and see. 😉 )

We have a few new characters in this book. I’ve already said how much I love Cinder, Kai and Iko, and all three are in this, some in particularly delightful ways (if you’ve read the book I’m sure you can guess what I mean). Scarlet is a fiery redhead of the old school of fiery redheads — she carries a gun and isn’t afraid to use it, and when we first encounter her she’s throwing tomatoes against a wall in a fit of rage. She’s rash, but loves her grandmother more than anyone in the world. Still, I really liked her, if not quite as much as I did Cinder. Wolf is the most beautifully depicted broken bad boy I have ever seen; tragic, dangerous and torn, he really struggles throughout the book with his attraction for Scarlet. (Ok, that’s a spoiler, but a tiny one — of course the boy is interested in the girl; it’s a YA novel! Also, it’s in the blurb. Phew, I’m ok.)

And Captain Thorne…well, I couldn’t shake the mental image of Captain Jack from Doctor Who and Torchwood. Although his ship was more like Serenity from the movie of the same name (and the TV show Firefly) — it even had two transport pods, a medbay located off the cargo hold, and an engine that sounded very similar to Serenity’s, full of cables going everywhere and an engine that rotated in the open.

I think I loved the ship more than any other character, for that reason. You can’t take the sky from me! ❤

Uh, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Five stars.

* Note: if you haven’t read the first book, no, that isn’t a euphemism for anything naughty. The most either of these books have in them is kissing.

Five stars

3 Comments on “Review: ‘Scarlet’ by Marissa Meyer”

  1. Harliqueen says:

    Great review, really excited to read these books 🙂

  2. […] I just finished Cress by Marissa Meyer and loved it (I gave it five stars, like the rest of the series so far). I thought about writing a review, but I feel like reviews of books three‑deep into a series have limited utility—it’s so hard to write one without being spoiler‑y, and if you’ve already read the previous books you’re likely to have already made up your mind. So instead I refer you to my reviews of Cinder and Scarlet. […]

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