SCARLET, A Perfect Follow-Up to CINDER

Those of you who have been following me for a while might recall that my favorite young adult book of 2012 was CINDER by Marissa Meyer. The day after I posted my review of CINDER last fall, I discovered Marissa Meyer was coming to town as part of the Fierce Reads Tour and I got to meet her. She’s quite lovely, as were the other authors on the tour.

If you haven’t read CINDER yet, you should stop reading this post now because the description for SCARLET has some spoilers.

Still reading? Ok, I warned you.

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerCinder, 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. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about 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.

And here are the five things I loved most:

1. The setup – When I read CINDER and discovered it was the first in a series, I expected the next book would be a straight sequel. Not so. Each of the four books is set to be a different fairy tale retelling. I wasn’t sure how this would work, but SCARLET completely exceeded my expectations. It continues to follow Cinder’s story, while also introducing Scarlet and Wolf. It’s clear from the beginning that their paths will cross. They each know different sides of the story, and there’s tension on every page as we wait to see them intersect. It’s so well done, and I can already see how the next one is going to play into the series.

2. The steamy romance – Ok, so I loved the romance in Cinder, but it was pretty reserved, and that was the exact right tone between Cinder and Prince/Emperor Kai. It’s completely different with Scarlet and Wolf. There’s a definite sizzle to it, and that has a lot to do with his animal instincts, I’m sure. Also, Scarlet and Wolf are a couple of years older than Cinder and Kae, so it makes sense that the romance here is a bit more physical–but only a bit. I really loved that the two pairings are so different.

3. The puzzle pieces – I love how we get a few more pieces to the overall puzzle. Based on the first book, I was very curious about the beast army Queen Levana was building. When I read the description for this book, I wondered if Wolf was one of them, even as I realized his appearance was more human. Marissa Meyer does an excellent job planting  clues early on so that they fit perfectly when you need them.

4. The new characters – While a few characters did carry over from CINDER, most of the characters in SCARLET are new, even Cinder’s jail break companion. I really enjoyed Captain Carswell Thorne. The next book, CRESS, is going to be the story of Rapunzel. Wouldn’t he be a perfect hero for her? Reformed, of course. I have no idea if that’s the case. He just really grew on me during the story, and I’d love to see him get his own happy ending.

5. The ending – Ok, some people might hate this ending because it leaves A LOT hanging. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Cinder’s story won’t be resolved until the final book, but I felt satisfied with how things were left with SCARLET. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I won’t go into why, but I felt like there was a complete arc for this story.

So, who else rushed out with me to get SCARLET? If you didn’t, you should definitely put it on your list now. So good!!!

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