Monday, January 28, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Pages: 464 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC via Amazon Vine
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More:| book trailer | author website

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)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.


I'll be frank: I loved Cinder to bits the way many readers did, but its plot was pretty predictable. Scarlet needed to step it up a few notches and wow, did it! Scarlet is everything you can ask for from a sequel: fast-paced, a strong mix of old and new, and just plain fun. Meyer still has room for growth, but she has made it clear she is getting there at the speed of light.

Scarlet is a book with a plot that's constantly moving quickly and for the last hundred pages or so, it quadruples its speed. It's the kind of book that glues you to your seat and makes you involuntarily twitch because you're so on edge and nervous about what's going to happen to the characters. Sometimes, it feels like someone overstuffed it and the seams are threatening to burst, but it's an easily forgivable flaw that only occurs rarely. Our dynamic heroines Scarlet and Cinder handle the weight of this fast heavy plot just fine. I just wish some of the supporting characters like comedic relief Captain Carswell Thorne and Quen Levana herself got a little more character development. Maybe in another book.

Meyer's prose is also far from poetic, but it's readable. It gets us where we need to go and brings Cinder's world to life vividly before our eyes. That said, it has its moments where it's trying too hard and something feels off about it. I forgot to highlight or bookmark said moments, unfortunately. Something that also makes me curious is that there don't appear to be any language barriers in this futuristic world. Everyone speaks perfect English and I remember few mentions of accents if there were any at all. That just seems strange, but I can go with it if English became the entire planet's language.

On that, there's something else that strikes me as odd. It is perfectly conceivable that an eighteen-year-old character never had to go to the hospital for anything except maybe to visit someone and therefore she has never had her blood drawn or put in any system. What is unusual is that despite the anti-Lunar sentiment, androids are only programmed to test for plague-tainted blood. It seems perfectly logical to me that they'd be programmed to test for Lunar blood too in order to flush out anyone in hiding. That they don't feels a little too perfect.

But I digress. Scarlet is still an improvement. Next up is Cress, which be narrated in part by Queen Levana's eponymous personal programmer. The one chapter told from Levana's point of view in this book and my own curiosity about what makes the Lunar queen tick makes it another book I'll be watching out for. It's going to be a long year!

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler