After Cinder, I was gung-ho for all things Lunar Chronicles. I was so absorbed in that book that I immediately sought to acquire the second in the series and quickly read it. Unfortunately, reading Scarlet wasn’t as great as Cinder.
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.
My thoughts: (spoilers)
Scarlet is annoying. I’m not a fan of characters who are motivated by anger or gets angry easily. After a while, their constant outbursts and temper tantrums turn me off and make me tune out of the story. Often this is because the character doesn’t have much depth and their anger is the only thing propelling them through the story.
Scarlet doesn’t have the depth we see in Cinder, who has to battle an identity crises, fight for her freedom, and push against injustices thrust upon her by her stepmother and her society. Scarlet, however, is upset and misses her grandma and is angry that no one is as concerned as she is about her grandmother’s disappearance, which I understand, but other than that and battling her strong feelings for Wolf, I don’t get much from her character.
Also, the quick romance between her and Wolf didn’t work for me either. I don’t mind the “love at first sight” trope, but Scarlet was too angry most of the time for me to easily believe that she quickly fell for Wolf. At first I thought he had charmed her with his Lunar ability. I was a bit surprised to find that wasn’t what happened.
However, I like how their attraction ties in with the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale and, as always, I like how Meyer includes little details to indicate which fairytale influenced the story. Scarlet has red hair; Wolf is the wolf. He even looks and acts like a wolf and his attraction to Scarlet is a bit creepy and stalker-ish like the predator he is. There is a time when he had to battle conflicting feelings toward Scarlet — protect her and attack her — that reminded me a lot of Twilight (probably another reason why I’m not a fan of their romance).
I also like that this series is a mixture of science fiction and fantasy: science can be used to explain away the fantasy but the fantastical elements are what the humans in the story easily believe. Though this was a major part of Cinder, it’s even more apparent in Scarlet because of the wolf packs and how they are made. The packs also show how cruel Levana is.
Though I don’t like Scarlet and was sorely tempted to skip her chapters, I do admire how plucky she is. She’s a total badass in the final chapters when she helps Cinder and Thorne escape the attack of “wolves.” And though I do find her hot-headedness annoying, I do like that she’s not afraid to speak her mind.
Still, Cinder is my favorite and I enjoyed reading her chapters because of Carswell Thorne. For some reason, he reminds me of Lockheart from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He’s hilarious and I think his personality plays well off Cinder’s. He’s like Iko, in a way. I like him and Cinder together. 🙂 Iko as a spaceship was great too. She makes me laugh with her antics, like turning up the heat in the spaceship to show that she’s blushing. I think that’s cute.
Overall: ★★☆☆☆ 1/2
The story is okay, but I didn’t enjoy it. Usually at this point in a YA series, I’d stop reading or forget about the books, but I want to see more of Cinder and Thorne so I grabbed Cress last time I visited the library. I wonder if Cinder will fall for Thorne. That would make a possible love triangle, which I won’t be happy about.
Oh! Another thing I thought about while reading was the lack of language barriers. How can the characters easily understand what people from other countries say? Cinder is from New Beijing and Scarlet is from France, yet they could easily and quickly converse with each other. Does everyone in that future speak the same language or does their ID chips allow them to quickly understand all languages?