February 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...
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.
Last year, I saw so many 5-star, rave reviews about Cinder, that when I finally did read it, it was killed by the Hype Monster. It couldn't live up to the reputation i had built up of it in my mind. I went into Scarlet with more normal expectations, and this time around I quite enjoyed the read. Now freed from the hype, I can appreciate all of Cinder's awesomeness. Scarlet is cool too, but Cinder is great. I love all of her cyborg gadgets. And as her lunar gift emerges, she has to deal with the ethical implications of her ability to manipulate people with her mind.
While Cinder and Scarlet take center stage, the side characters are great too. Iko is back, just bubbly enough to be both slightly annoying and very endearing. And Thorne is hilarious He takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, he's great. He's got that sort of Flynn Ryder "I'm devilishly handsome and I know it" vibe.
And the plot? Scarlet has several twists that I did not see coming, especially the "Grandma, what big eyes you have" scene. I didn't realize we were in that scene until it was almost over and then my mind was blown. It was an unexpected way to work that scene, and the surprise was very satisfying.
One of my annoyances with Cinder was the lack of information we got about Luna. I mean, how did these moon colonists develop crazy mind powers? But we learn much more about Lunars in Scarlet, and given the way the book ends, Cress should give us even more. I am a bit worried that we'll start spreading ourselves too thin between all the characters. We already spend time in Cinder, Kai, Levana, Scarlet, and Wolf's heads. The next book will throw in Cress at the very least. If we go too broad, we won't be able to go deep. But Meyer juggles the multiple viewpoints well. You always know where you are and which character you're dealing with, which cannot be said of every multiple-POV novel.
The Scarlet-Wolf romance is a bit rushed, which is annoying. They know each other for a day and then BOOM! Kissing. Scarlet has no reason to trust him, but she falls for him. Also, the ending is a bit sappy. And you just can't use the word nuzzle if one of your character's name is Wolf. It's too close to muzzle. Horses nuzzle. I also have some issues with Wolf's behavior during the climax (spoilers for the rest of this paragraph). Yes, he's being mind-controlled and driven to follow animal instincts, but his defense of Scarlet is just too possessive. I mean, "She's mine!"? Seriously? Protectiveness is good, but not possessiveness. I can see why Meyer wrote it in, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.
Despite these couple of flaws, I really enjoyed Scarlet. I could not put it down. And I can't wait for Cress to come out next year.