Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.
Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner... From Goodreads.
Having absolutely adored Cinder, I was really excited to read the sequel in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, which takes on the fairy tale Little Read Riding Hood. And I'm so pleased to say Scarlet is even more incredible!
Scarlet's grandmother has gone missing. The police have been investigating, but due to a lack of evidence point towards her not leaving of her own accord, they've closed the case. But Scarlet knows her grandmother, and knows this is not like her. When her neglectful, drunken father turns up at her home, ransacking the place, terrified and not making much sense, Scarlet finally has some idea of what happened to her grandma; she was kidnapped because of something the kidnappers believe she has, and they tortured her father in the hopes of trying to get the information from her. Scarlet is determined to find her and rescue her herself if she has to, but she ends up getting help from Wolf, a street fighter, who has a tattoo very similar to those of her father and grandma's kidnappers. The kidnappers are a gang Wolf used to belong to, and as he knows where they are, he's promised to help her. But Scarlet has seen how vicious Wolf can be when he's angry, how dangerous he is. Can she trust in his help?
Meanwhile, Cinder, now equipped with the swanky new hand with inbuilt toolkit from Dr Erland, is trying to escape from prison. She knows within days Queen Levana will take her to Lunar to execute her, and knows the real reason why: she's Princess Selene, the rightful heir to the Lunar throne. Reeling from this information, the only way she can cope is by trying to figure out a way of escaping without being caught. Cinder is slowly learning how to control her Lunar gift of manipulating bioelectricity, and comes across fellow prisoner, Captain Carswell Thorne, who just so happens to have a spaceship hidden. The two plan to make their getaway, but then what? Cinder is supposed to meet Dr Erland in Africa, but doesn't know if she wants to be a Princess and go against Queen Levana. She just wants to be free. Instead, she tries to find someone who may have more information about her past, so she can work out just how she came to Earth and ended up as a cyborg.
Oh my god, I loved this book! There's so much more of an adventure feel to it, what with Scarlett going off in search of her grandmother. But it's also a much more emotional read. There was the sorrow of Peony's death in the first book, and the despair over Cinder's life because of the treatment from Adri, but in this book, there is so much on the line! Scarlet saw what the gang did to her father, the burn marks from a poker in rows all over his arm, and she's terrified about what they have been doing to her grandma, Michelle, for the past three weeks. She has no idea what they could want from her, what they think she could possibly have - she runs a farm on the outskirts of a small, quiet French town - but knows her life is in terrible danger, and she and Wolf will be walking into it.
And with Cinder, there is so much fear of being discovered! So many close shaves! It's only down to her Lunar gift that she and Thorne get out of the scrapes they find themselves in, but she is so conflicted about using it. She doesn't want to be like Queen Levana, abusing this power and manipulating people to get what she wants, but without she would be dead. She and Thorne are wanted fugitives, and she has to do all she can to evade capture.
I love the new characters we meet in this book. Scarlett is brave and determined, and she cannot leave Michelle to these thugs who have her, when the police will do nothing. The only person who even cares is her; what chance does Michelle have without her? She's scared, but mostly for Michelle than for herself. She has got to free Michelle, because nobody else will. Wolf is a really intriguing and fascinating character. I found him to be a really sweet guy; he's strong and can very much handle himself in a fight, but as a person, he seems unsure and nervous. You can tell he's conflicted about helping Scarlet - going back to the gang really isn't something he wants to do, but at the same time, he knows what danger Michelle is in. He also really struggles with the mounting attraction between him and Scarlet, and doesn't really know what to do with it. For Scarlett, Wolf has her feeling so many different emotions; distrust, fear, anger, attraction, hope, frustration. Their relationship is a complicated one, but really interesting to watch develop.
Thorne! Oh my god, how I love Thorne! He's not exactly the smartest guy going, but he's full of self-assurance and arrogance. This makes him sound like a really irritating character, but he's such a flirt and always making light of things, or taking small things too seriously, he's hilarious! The things he comes out with, oh my god, I just love him. He is seriously one of the highlights of the book for me, and I do so hope we get to see so much more of him in future, because he is just so brilliant! He's the kind of guy I'd love to hang out with, but being the thief that he is, that probably wouldn't be wise.
The action is really cranked up in this book, both in regards to trying to escape and evade capture for Cinder and Thorne, and in the journey to Michelle for Scarlet and Wolf, but also in regards to... fighting. That's not exactly correct, but I can't explain further without spoiling this book. But oh my god, this book gets close to the point of terrifying towards the end. It's disturbing and wrong, and so, so scary. Lives are very much at steak in this book, on a massive scale. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me physically feel like I'd had such a work out as Scarlet did reading those last several chapters. I was sitting at the edge of my seat, my heart was hammering, and I was so tense there was a tightness in my chest. The emotions I went through towards the end! This is one of those books where you cannot see a way out of a terrible situation, and I was literally terrified for these characters. The ending is so cinematic, I could see it all, and I was feeling the fear for the characters like I do when watching a horror movie. Those last few chapters are epic! Seriously! And this is just the second book in the series!
If you hadn't guessed, I absolutely loved this book, and my excitement for the rest of the series huge! But I also have such super high expectations now, and I'm a little worried that they might be too high? But oh my gooood, I am so, so, so excited for Cress, the third book in the series! I'm now actually so glad it took me so long to read this series, because I don't have to wait too long for the next books. I'm trying to make this series last, so I'll read a few other books before getting to Cress, but I really don't know how long I can wait, because that ending was just incredible! I will absolutely read anything Meyer writes in the future, she has solidified a place amongst my favourite authors with these two books, and I am so excited for everything she will ever write.
Thank you to Puffin for the review copy.
Published: 7th February 2013
Marissa Meyer's Website
My other reviews from the series:
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1)