Tuesday, May 14, 2013

[Review] Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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(#2, Lunar Chronicles)
Cinder | Scarlet | Cress | Winter
 
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 17/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin (Puffin)
Pages: 450
Source: Publisher (thanks, Tina!)

Book Tunes
Exploring & Travelling Theme from LOST
Icon for Hire - Fight

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

My Rating: 
A satisfying sequel.

My thoughts

Scarlet is the second book in the scifi-fantasy Lunar Chronicles quartet by emerging author Marissa Meyer. This book follows both Cinder and Scarlet as their perilous adventures eventually lead them to finding and helping each other. Queen Levana’s army is growing ever stronger and the fate of Earth rests with a group of misfits—an estranged Lunar princess; a prison-break captain; a red-headed teenage girl, whose best friend might just be her gun; and finally, Wolf.



In this instalment we are introduced to our second reimagined fairytale heroine, Scarlet, and Wolf, a badass street fighter, potential love interest and quest companion. Scarlet's grandmere has been missing, and the police force have now given up their search, writing it off as a runaway. But Scarlet knows better and she is determined to find her. Meanwhile, Cinder escapes her prison with the help of Captain Thorne, and together they seek out Cinder's grandmere, the last hope for learning the truth about Cinder's past, and of Lunar.

The estranged Lunar princess. I still absolutely love Cinder: she's such a sympathetic character, hunted for what she is, for something she can't control. Hardworking, honest and humble, there's not much to dislike about her.

The red-headed teenage girl, aka, Scarlet is hot-headed, passionate and impulsive - as a new character she stands out as much as her scarlet-red hair and hoodie. She's a great addition to the series; her attitude and personality introduces an added dynamic to the interactions in the novel. I think I prefer her without Wolf, but anyway, let's talk about Wolf.

Wolf. I can't say that I cared for him much. He was interesting, though the mysterious, bad boy impression he exuded kind of gave me bad flashbacks to the likes of Twilight (though that didn't end up being the case!). Together they made a good team, and their exchanges contrast nicely to those shared between Cinder and Captain Thorne, who I will briefly discuss now.

The prison-break captain, aka, Thorne. Captain Thorne might be my favourite character thus far. His crime? Protesting for better soap. He’s so funny and clever, but not in the conventional way. I love his sarcasm and dry wit, and the dynamic between him and Cinder is just the absolute best. At the beginning I wasn't quite sure what to make of him, because he's a bit left of centre, but he really grew on me. The way he managed to press Cinder's buttons never ceased to amuse me.

I hope for more character development with all these characters in the following books - I have high expectations that Meyer will succeed. :) It will be interesting to see how the relationships will develop as time progresses as well.

The fighting/action scenes were really well done. Of particular note is the street fights (with Wolf). The writing style is consistent with that in Cinder: 3rd person, omniscient narrative, multiple points of view, fairytale-esque, matter-of-fact, clever and direct. Despite the fact that the writing style is exactly the same as <i>Cinder</i>, the book seemed to drag out, and I think it’s because there are so many scene breaks (due to the dual perspective). It took me 2 months to finish this book. I know I’m a relatively slow reader, but this was a <b>sequel</b> of a book that I highly enjoyed! The fact that it took me so long to finish must mean something (but perhaps it was just a bad time for me, personally). Despite my issues with it, I think Meyer has done a fairly good job of splitting up the perspectives and it’s easy to tell when the scene had shifted over.

Like Cinder, Scarlet is a fairytale retelling - a vastly unique retelling that is a tribute to Meyer's unmatched creativity and wit. I found this retelling, off of Little Red Riding Hood, immensely well-plotted. I actually read the fairytale told by Grimm (Little Red-Cap), and the outcomes and feeling of despair translate pretty well into Scarlet. There were only loose parallels between the two stories, as such this retelling certainly stands on its own!

I personally found the first half of the novel plodded along at an achingly slow pace, though I do understand why that was the case. The build-up to the second half of the book was well worth it! The development with Prince Kai at the end, as well as the several revelations regarding Cinder and Lunar leave Scarlet on a high note. The book ends at a good place, I think. Without any particular spoilers, decisions are made, which leads to a more grand and dangerous third book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet. I’m really curious to see how Meyer spins the tale of Rapunzel in <i>Cress</i> and I look forward to continuing the adventure!

Quotes

First line: Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Tolouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons."

Favourite quotes:

"A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”
“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.” 
(107)


"She [Levana] kept a hold on her people by tricking both their eyes and their hearts. She ruled with fear, yes, but also with adoration. It would be easy to abuse a person when they never recognised it as abuse.  (196)

Buy

AUSTRALIA: A&R | Readings | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL: Fishpond | Book Depository





Extras:

A reader's photoset of the settings in Scarlet | Post #2

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.



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