Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles: Book Two) Review
Scarlet Benoit has lived happily with her grandmother for years- the only real family she's ever had- and when her grandmother goes missing without a trace she knows there's more at work than an old woman's eccentricity. When a mysterious street fighter appears in town with a link to the disappearance, Scarlet is willing to do whatever it takes to bring her grandmother home. Even it if means trusting a total stranger. Even if it means facing ruthless enemies alone.
Meanwhile, Linh Cinder, the world's most wanted fugitive, is way off Scarlet's radar. The savage Lunar queen intent on hunting Cinder down is far away from small-town France, and not Scarlet's problem. But unbeknownst to both of them is a link in their pasts that just might bring them close enough to collide, and there may be more to Scarlet's grandmother's disappearance than coincidence after all.
As the second book in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet is a definite step-up in intensity. Not only is Cinder a hunted fugitive in every country on the planet, but Scarlet's search for her grandmother proves far more deadly than she could have predicted. Together with Wolf, the street fighter and former member of the gang that supposedly took her grandmother, she is unwittingly marching into the middle of scheme that threatens all of earth, not just her family. Marissa Meyer's world-building continues in this installment, this time in futuristic France, and not only does she maintain all of Cinder's intensity and intrigue, but she really takes it up a notch.
Scarlet is a fiery, headstrong eighteen-year-old who's spent the last years working her grandmother's farm and never goes anywhere without a handgun under her waistband. She's not afraid of Wolf or the ruthless gang he comes from, and she never thinks twice before speaking her mind. This tenacious, fierce personality sets her apart from the less confident, more sardonic Cinder, but they have definite strength and determination in common- not to mention their cynical sides. While Scarlet does have a dominant personality, her fierce loyalty and passion are both byproducts of her deep love for those close to her. Her admirable strength of will, fearlessness, and loyalty are what make her so exciting and dynamic as a character.
Plus, she's not afraid of Wolf. Which is good, because she might kind of like him.
Like Cinder, this book is pretty much as clean as mainstream fantasy can get. Romantic tension culminates in a climactic kiss, which is cute and just sweet enough to satisfy the reader without taking it any further. The introduction of human-wolf hybrid soldiers leads to some relatively graphic attacks that give Scarlet the step-up in intensity from the first book in the series, but all in all, it's an intense but clean YA novel outside of Christian fiction, and a riveting read!
Marissa Meyer did not disappoint with her sequel to Cinder, and the reader will finish Scarlet with a definite need to dive straight into the next book!