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Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles)

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer 4.5 stars

I enjoyed the novel Cinder but I did not love it. I thought the novel of Cinder could have been stronger had it lost all ties to the tale of Cinderella. Quite frankly the Cinderella inclusion made it predictable, unoriginal and eye-roll worthy a number of times. But I still really liked the character of Cinder and the cyborg element. The world was not built up as much as I would have liked, especially considering everything the author had to work with: new world order, cyborgs, genetic manipulation, and new technology in general. I absolutely did not like reading about Cinder being a strong character, with a mechanical job etc. only to then have to hear gushing about a freakin' ball (not necessarily by Cinder but it was still eye-roll worthy, especially when you throw in the orange vehicle *cough* pumpkin *cough*). I felt Cinder overall had a lot of potential that was squashed by fairytale and lack of worldbuilding issues.

In Scarlet we are faced with the same issue of a fairytale, this time Little Red Riding Hood. However, there really is not a lot to work with when it comes to Little Red Riding Hood so I had high hopes, especially after the short story prior to Scarlet, that it would not be terribly corny. Thankfully I was right. There were a few things that adhered to the story, such as wolves (genetically modified Lunars, but nonetheless wolves), Scarlet's red hoodie and a grandmother being involved. I am happy to say that I did not roll my eyes once, I call that a victory.

Scarlet is a great character. She is tough, she has her own mind and she is smart. I grew to immediately like Scarlet within the first couple chapters. In addition, the character of Cinder seems to have grown since the last book as well. She is tougher, more in her element despite being on the run and in a terrible situation overall. Her interactions with Thorne were often very entertaining and I laughed out loud on numerous occasions. I wish the humor and strength in character had showed up more in the novel Cinder, I think I would have rated it more highly regardless of the Cinderella issue. The character of Wolf was also great. I had already grown to like him in the short story The Queen's Army and his character did not let me down in Scarlet. Wolf is a character caught between worlds and you had to feel for the guy. I loved Scarlet's interactions with Wolf much the same way I loved Cinder's interactions with Thorne, however, Scarlet and Wolf had a more weighty relationship.

The plot was fast paced and thoroughly entertaining. The switching back and forth between characters was informative rather than distracting and I liked that Meyer did not make the switching of viewpoints formulaic. While there was not a lot added to the worldbuilding, I felt the information and action ongoing more than made up for any interest I had in the minutiae of the world.

Overall Scarlet was not perfect but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were lovable and the plot was entertaining. I look forward to the rest of the books in the story, hopefully Meyer can continue to keep the fairytale inclusion to a minimum so it doesn't distract from the characters and world.