Title: Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #2

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 5th 2013


Four Stars

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment 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.

– Blurb courtesy of

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Cinder had no desire to be queen. She didn’t want to be a princess or heir to anything. All her life—at least, all the life she could remember—all she’d ever wanted was freedom. And now, for the first time, she had it, however tenuous it was.”

The second I finished reading Cinder I started Scarlet, but as much as I loved the first story in The Lunar Chronicles I felt that Scarlet suffered from middle book syndrome. It tells the story of both Cinder and Scarlet but I found myself more interested in Cinder and the continuation of her journey than I was in Scarlet. I still really enjoyed this second book in the series but I felt Cinder had a stronger story.

Cinder’s only thought is escaping prison before Levana can take her back to Luna and execute her. If Cinder succeeds in escaping she will be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive, the whole world will be looking for her, but she can’t let Levana kill her; not knowing the truth about who she really is. With the help of Captain Carswell Thorne Cinder escapes the prison and Queen Levana’s grasp.

Despite being told by Dr Erland to head to Africa Cinder doesn’t want to be Queen. She wants to find out the truth about her past and all the years she is missing, she wants to know for sure that she is Princess Selene. Instead her and Thorne flee the Commonwealth and find themselves following the path of Michelle Benoit, a retired war pilot who hid Princess Selene before she became Cinder.

But with Cinder gone Kai finds himself in deep waters. Levana is not above using the presence of a hidden Lunar fugitive in the Commonwealth and her subsequent escape to try and force the Emperor’s hand.

“I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…” He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. “I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”

When Michelle Benoit went missing no one believed it was foul play other than her granddaughter, Scarlet. When Scarlet meets Wolf, a street fighter, in one of the bars that buys hers and her grandmother’s produce she is instantly wary of him. Later when she connects the tattoo on Wolf’s forearm with the tattoo’s of the men who kidnapped her grandmother she realises she can use him to find her missing grandmother. But as she follows him to Paris, narrowly avoiding an outbreak of the plague on the train they are travelling on, she quickly realises that maybe her trust was misplaced.

Meanwhile Cinder is struggling to harness her glamour long enough for her and Thorne to land the ship and replace the parts that were damaged in their escape. All the while the Commonwealth is searching for the fugitive, desperate to hand her over to Levana before the deadline and save themselves from fighting a war they are seriously unprepared for.

…The Characters

“But her grandmother had never suggested she could think the same of Scarlet. You’ll be fine, she always said, after a skinned knee, after a broken arm, after her first youthful heartbreak. You’ll be fine, because you’re strong, like me.”

Scarlet has led a simple life but by no means is she a simple character. She values her family above anything else and when her grandmother goes missing Scarlet isn’t about to wait for the police to save her. She is stubborn and refuses to give up on the hope that her grandmother is alive no matter how much danger she may face or what the odds tell her.

“Wolf,” said Ran, enunciating it very carefully. “What an unusual name. Did your parents give it to you?”
“Does it matter?” said Wolf, tossing away his bone.

Wolf has a past shrouded in mystery. He is a demure, sometimes awkward character and he’s uncertain about a lot of things but has a quiet confidence that says he is very sure of his strength. He starts to care about Scarlet, despite less than honourable beginnings, and he begs her to turn back for her own safety.

I felt like, unlike Cinder and Kai, the relationship between Scarlet and Wolf developed way too quickly. Scarlet has no reason to trust Wolf when she first meets him, and she has even less of a reason after her father identifies the tattoo on his arm as the same one on her grandmother’s kidnapper’s arms. However she blindly follows him to Paris and puts her life in his hands more than once, trusting he has her best interests at heart.

“Let me guess,” Thorne said. “Breaking and entering?”
After a long silence of examining the retracting mechanism, the girl wrinkled her nose. “Two counts of treason, if you must know. And resisting arrest, and unlawful use of bioelectricity. Oh, and illegal immigration, but honestly, I think that’s a little excessive.”

Cinder cannot accept the truth about who she really is, in spite of everything she sees herself and Princess Selene as two different people and cannot see herself running an empire. She really struggles with using her glamour. At times it comes easily to her and using it is as natural as breathing but she feels it shouldn’t be. Cinder feels she should be disgusted by the gift that gives her power over normal humans and she is determined to do everything she can to avoid turning into her aunt or mother.

Thorne was one of my favourite characters in Scarlet. He is incredibly flirtatious, believes he’s god’s gift to women and has an ego to match his overinflated opinion of himself. I’m not sure why he helped Cinder or stayed with her as long as he did, especially after discovering she is a Lunar fugitive, but he quickly becomes her strongest supporter and a close friend.

 …The Setting

“Even in the future, beware of the big, bad wolf…”

There are a lot of new settings in this book; Kai in the Commonwealth, Scarlet in France and Cinder in space aboard the Rampion, and while we didn’t learn anymore about New Beijing we saw a lot of Thorne’s spaceship and Paris where major landmarks had been destroyed by a long-ago war. The only thing I feel was kind of neglected in this book was the threat of the plague. In Cinder we heard it was a worldwide issue that had everyone fearing for their health and their families. However in France there was hardly any mention of the plague except for one outbreak on a train Wolf and Scarlet boarded, and even that felt like more of an afterthought, something to add some tension to their journey. I feel like this book was more of a filler novel than anything else. Scarlet gave us a lot of the back-story and history of Princess Selene and how she came to be on Earth that we needed to know.

I don’t think I really connected to the characters of Scarlet and Wolf the way I did with Cinder and Kai in the first book and Cinder and Thorne in this one. I still loved the story but I wish the development of Scarlet and Wolf and their relationship had been more solid.

What did you think of Scarlet? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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