Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Review

Scarlet cover BIG

Book Jacket:

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.

You can read an excerpt here.


Once again, Marissa Meyer gives us a book that is just FUN.

Given that this novel is titled Scarlet, and does revolve around a new fairy tale and matching heroine (who wears a red hoodie, no less), I’ll admit I was a little nervous going in about how much Cinder we would actually get this time around – but never fear, cyborg fans, Cinder is indeed very much an integral part of this story, and the narrative split between the two ladies is effortless. Though I’ll admit Cinder is still my #1, I never once minded when the POV switched to Scarlet, because Scarlet is an easy girl to get behind, a spunky straight shooter with a temper to match the hair. And I have to say, I just really enjoy how Meyer writes female characters – these ladies are very much in charge of their own destinies, however difficult their choices may be, and they are oh so gloriously NOT helpless in the face of their attractions. Despite the fact that these two chicas do indeed have two very hunky love interests – a golden child and a bad boy, respectively – they still never once stand for being treated like crap, or helplessly land in a heap and wait for their respective boys to save them. Hallelujah. (And speaking of the fellas, hey, throwing a charming rouge of a Captain into the mix really never does hurt…)

As for the sci-fi elements – well, much like with anime, at times you just have to roll with it. Generally speaking, the Dastardly Evil Plan is pretty broad – I mean, fun, but broad – and the finer details of things like space travel and genetic mutation definitely get swept right on past. So as with Cinder, while you probably could poke some logic holes if you really wanted to, I suspect you (like me) just aren’t going to want to, because you’ll be having too much fun. Just know going in that this story is the sci-fi version of light fantasy adventure, and you’ll find it very easy to get on board for the ride.

And as for the fairy tale end of things – well let’s just say that Meyer is definitely not a stickler for convention, and this story definitely strays off the beaten path in highly entertaining ways. But never fear, the fairy tale heart of this series is still beating strong. Or to put it another way: everything you liked about the first book is most definitely back for round two.

Really the only thing I can say against this story is that, as with the first book, there is one plotty thing – and don’t worry, I’m not going to say what – that is so telegraphed as to be rather anticlimactic. But as before, I still very much liked how Meyer orchestrated the reveal when it did come about.

So in the end, I really did just get a kick out of this book. The plot moves along at a good clip, with fun turns and reveals, and the way it all comes together at the end is highly enjoyable. I mean, action, adventure, romance, and Iko – what more could you want?

Byrt Grade: A-

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Publishers Weekly (starred review) says:

Returning fans of Meyer’s Cinder will gladly sink their teeth into this ambitious, wholly satisfying sequel.

Kirkus Reviews says:

Meyer’s story ticks along smartly, showing no sign of second-volume sag. Both fairy-tale and romance elements are blended in to pleasing if predictable effect.