Book Reviews

Review: “Scarlet,” Marissa Meyer

November 19, 2015
Review: “Scarlet,” Marissa MeyerScarletby Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Penguin on February, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Re-Tellings, Sci-Fi
Pages: 452
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

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.

Scarlet may have been a bigger book than Cinder, but could have used a little more meat in its character development. I wanted more from the relationships and more from some of the newer personalities introduced. While it’s a steady continuation of the series, I had been hoping for more.

 ““Lunar. Cyborg. Fugitive. Outlaw. Outcast.”

I first read Cinder, the first book in The Lunar Chronicles back when it was an ARC in 2011. I absolutely ADORED it. I had always wanted to continue on with this series, but for some reason the other books just kept getting pushed back, and back… and back… I finally found a reason to pick up the books again with the release of the final instalment, Winter, this month and decided to re-read Cinder…

It was a very different experience four years later.

While I still ‘enjoyed’ the book, it wasn’t as AMAZING as I remembered it to be. Perhaps that goes to show that my tastes in books has changed a lot in four years as a blogger, or perhaps that I’ve gotten older and a little wiser and a little more well-read.

“I just think we shouldn’t judge her, or anyone, without trying to understand them first. That maybe we should get the full story before jumping to conclusions. Crazy notion, I know.”
– Scarlet

I finally leapt into new territory with Scarlet. Now, let me tell you, if 2011-era me read this book, she would have been blown away. It was incredibly on-par with Cinder and developed the story even further – introducing great new characters, relationships and exploring more of the Earthen Union.

2015-era, me, however, found the writing of both Cinder and Scarlet a little lacklustre and simplistic? The plot is linear, which I love, but it leaves little room for movement and at times can feel a bit clinical. I felt as if each character fit their generic roles and nothing more. Don’t get me wrong, Scarlet is a fun and enjoyable ride, I just wasn’t blown away.

There’s more POV’s this time around, too, which can be a bit jarring. Just as I’d be settling into the voice of the new narrator, Scarlet, we’d flick back to Cinder and her escape. Rinse and repeat! There were also a few Kai chapters, which I found a bit dull.

“Yeah, well, I try to think for myself once in a while, rather than buy in to the ridiculous propaganda the media would have us believe.”
– Scarlet

The things I loved about this book? Scarlet. She was a great new protagonist and I’m glad to see she joined the team by the end of the novel. Her journey and her motives were interesting and I really admired her tenacity and dedication to those she loved. Her scene with a shotgun? Fantastic!

I just wish my love for Scarlet had extended to her love interest, ‘Wolf’. For the most part, Wolf was quite wishy-washy. I was never clear what his goal was (which I guessed was the point?) but it stopped me from getting to really know him, or care about him as a character. He was just this weird anomaly that seemed to know too much about Scarlet’s predicament, and have all these weird abilities she never quite questioned. I can’t say I’m a real supporter of their relationship, either, as it progressed way too quickly without much substance.

“The captivity of Carswell Thorne had gotten off to a rocky start, what with the catastrophic soap rebellion and all.”

There’s also Carswell Thorne, a new character Cinder introduces to us during her breakout. While I enjoyed his sarcastic humour and how he lightened the mood, I didn’t find him to be all that necessary to the cause. Hopefully in future books, the ‘Captain’ will prove to be an asset to Team Cinder. As far as another ‘love interest’? I really hope Marissa Meyer doesn’t go down that path.

Things progress quite nicely with Queen Levana and her plans for the Earthen Union. A lot more pieces in her grand scheme are revealed and the stakes get a lot higher for Kai and all of the Earthen governments. I’m quite looking forward to Cinder/Selene and Levana meeting again, as well as a few other character reunions (Kai and Cinder, wink!)

There’s a lot of cleverness in this book when it comes to twisting well-known fairytale characters, I had just wish it had been a bit more complex in terms of character development. The relationships needed a bit more work (Iko and Cinder continue to be my favourite friendship), too. That all being said, I am quite eager to dive into Cress and meet some new characters – let’s fill up all those empty bunks on the Iko-spaceship!

If you really loved Cinder, then Scarlet will not disappoint you!

About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington. She's a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.


  • Reply Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity November 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Oh no, I’m sad you didn’t love this one! I actually liked SCARLET a bit more than I liked CINDER, but then I never got around to reading any of the other books D:

    I do agree that sometimes I would just be getting into the groove of on story, and then the next scene would be from another character’s POV. I find that happens in most books with multiple POVs, though D:

    I ADORED Wolf XD I do think their relationship moved pretty quickly, but I was willing to forgive that because I liked them together so much :3

    I hope you loved CRESS!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Five Reasons To: Watch Studio GhibliMy Profile

    • Reply Brittany @ Nice Girls Read Books December 1, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Hiiii! Yeeees. I LOVED Cress, you should totally read it *NUDGE NUDGE* it gets soo good! I’m really enjoying the series at the moment.

      And yes – POVS are tough! This series just keeps introducing more and more, though, it’s crazy! Haha!!

      I’m glad you liked Wolf & Scarlet together!!!
      Brittany @ Nice Girls Read Books recently posted…Launching In… December, 2015My Profile

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