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Scarlet: Continuing the Lunar Chronicles

– Posted in: YA Book Reviews

Intro

The Lunar Chronicles begins with Cinder, a cyborg mechanic who falls for Crown Prince Kaito of the Eastern Commonwealth. Everything that could possible go wrong does. The second book in the serial Scarlet takes up where the first ended. Click here for a review of Cinder.

Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles

Scarlet is a reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood meets Cinderella for a rip-roaring adventure. Although this story’s focus is primarily on Scarlet and her friend Wolf, Cinder, Prince Kai, Iko are still very much part of the story. Cinder and Scarlet’s storylines begin separately but their paths eventually intersect.

There’s a prison break, flights into space, trips to France, the continued problem of a worldwide plague, and the invasion of genetically modified humans with wolf-like characteristics. We are also briefly introduced to Cress, Rapunzel, who is a prisoner on a space station. Scarlet is as exciting and action-packed as Cinder. Again, Meyer weaves an intriguing tale about two familiar characters whose lives are very different from the fairy tales we know. Along the way, a few mysteries are solved and others emerge.

Strengths

Meyer, an excellent storyteller, blends these fairy tales and creates a complex world with deeply layered stories. I’ve read some critics who ask: The stories are good and can stand on their own, so bother to rewrite the fairy tales? Although that point is well taken and to an extent I can agree, I love the way Meyer weaves four traditional fairy tales into one continuous story.

She isn’t simply retelling. She invites her readers to reimagine the way we see and understand women within our society. I know that sounds a little lofty, but for hundreds of years fairytales about women and girls have instructed society about a girl or a woman’s place within a culture. Not only do girls and women internalize these not so subtle messages that beauty, submission, and kindness in the face of abuse are positive attributes, but these messages create powerful expectation for both women and men. These expectations and beliefs are becoming less the normal but are nevertheless still influential.

The Lunar Chronicles shatter those stereotypes, showing instead strong women who are who take control of their lives, as well as men who respect and love them. The connection to the fairly tales is significant for readers because they create new stories for the 21st century.

Sometimes we underestimate the power of stories. Childhood stories influence the way girls and boys understand the world and how they see themselves. We carry those childhood beliefs into adulthood. The Lunar Chronicles are exciting stories about young men and women who make a difference in the world, and they can appeal to both sexes.

Some Details

New Characters:

SCARLET: I was immediately drawn to Scarlet, who is strong, fights for what she believes in, and stands up to people no matter who they are. She’s looking for her missing grandmother, who raised her. Michelle Benoit disappeared from their farmhouse two weeks earlier and the policed don’t seem interested in finding her. Scarlet doesn’t know her grandmother has a secret that has gotten her kidnapped. Scarlet just knows the police aren’t doing much to find her.

Wolf: a street fighter, who is part of a “pack” of Luna genetically modified humans. He agrees to help her find her grandmother. Wolf is a dangerous, volatile character. As much as he cares for Scarlet, he’s capable of betrayal and loyalty.

CAPTAIN CARSWELL THORNE, AKA Captain is King: I love this character. His charm is on a level of Han Solo in Star Wars. He’s a cadet from the US Republic. He’s best described as self-centered, handsome, part charmer, part annoying, and part criminal. Somewhere in that list of attributes, you might be able to find a heart. He helps Cinder escaped from New Beijing prison and together they run for their lives.

Returning Characters:

CINDER: our cyborg heroine from the previous book. She’s on the run, hiding and wanted by every authority on earth and on Luna.

IKO: Cinder’s only friend, who has been plugged into Thorne’s spaceship. Her personality is still charming and fun. She is often the comic relief in all the stories. She’s also endearing and feels like a real person.

KAI: Crown Price of New Beijing. He has more responsibilities and tough decisions in book. His choices could affect all of earth.

QUEEN LEVANA OF LUNA: No one is fooled by her beauty or her charm. All the leaders of earth want to keep her on Luna, but her aim, one way or another, is to marry KAI and become queen of the Eastern Kingdom. She begins an invasion of wolf men to show the world she is serious.

Setting

As I pointed out in my review of Cinder, Meyer has built a complex, detailed, interesting world. In this book, we get to see more of the world: the Eastern Kingdom, France, and adventures into space.

Weaknesses

I got caught up in the story and was invested in the characters and weaknesses weren’t an issues for me. I addressed the issues of why retell fairy tales. So, I’m going to leave things at that. If you want to check out my review of Cinder those weaknesses could apply to this book as well. But overall this is a fun, easy to read, exciting story.

You might also enjoy:

“Cinder: a Fairy Tale with a Twist of Dystopian Science Fiction”

“Cress: the Girl with Lots of Hair”

“Winter: The Lunar Chronicles Finale”

The Usual Reminders

If you’ve read Scarlet, what do you think?

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