Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. The Lunar Chronicles are loosely based on fairytales, but set in the future with androids and cyborgs and aliens called Lunars. It doesn’t sound like it would be good, but it is.
The first book in the series, Cinder, is based on Cinderella (but in this case she is a refugee cyborg Lunar Princess that the Lunar Queen, Lavana, wants to kill to maintain her authority) and Scarlet is based on Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet’s grandmother has gone missing and Scarlet sets off to find her at any cost. She joins forces with a street fighter nicknamed “Wolf” (I know, right) who isn’t exactly who he seems to be.
Scarlet’s grandmother is the same woman that harbored Cinder after she was rescued from Luna as a child and Scarlet’s and Cinder’s stories converge when Cinder and her fellow prison escapee, self-appointed Captain, Thorne, begin their own search for Michelle, Scarlet’s grandmother.
Meanwhile, newly appointed Emperor Kai is dealing with the fallout of Cinder’s escape and Queen Lavana’s threats to attack Earth if Cinder is not found.
I usually don’t like sequels that change the main point of view, but I didn’t mind this one since Cinder was still a large presence in the book. The story was told through alternating points of view between Scarlet, Cinder, Kai, Thorne, and Wolf, though predominately between Scarlet and Cinder.
I enjoyed all the new characters. We still get to see my favorites from the first book – Cinder, Kai, and Iko, Cinder’s android friend whose personality chip Cinder inserts into Thorne’s stolen spaceship – as well as introduced to Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne. While Scarlet has some of the teenage girl qualities that annoy me in most YA books (impulsive, blames everyone else for her problems, thinks she can go against people much stronger and more powerful than her, falls in love after a day), I generally liked her. And she and Wolf provided the requisite romance that I was afraid was going to come up between Cinder and Thorne.
I liked Thorne. He’s arrogant, but in an amusing way and his bantering with Cinder provides almost all the humor in the book. I was concerned that it would turn into romance that would eventually lead into a love triangle with Kai in a future book (I’m so not a fan of the love triangles), but I felt like it became more a friendship and partnership than anything else.
The book seemed a little longer than necessary, but I felt it was paced well, rarely dragging. The change in POV was well placed, not leaving cliffhangers at the end of every chapter only to return to three or four chapters later.
Overall, I really enjoyed Scarlet. I think I liked it better than the first book and look forward to the next in the series, which will be loosely based on Rapunzel.