Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.
The Lunar Chronicles #2.
Published February 5, 2013.
Published by Feiwel and Friends.
Source: Received from Raincoast for the Ottawa Blogger Meetup. Thanks, Raincoast!
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.
Marissa Meyer follows Cinder with the equally impressive and fantastic Scarlet! After reading Cinder, I wasn't worried about disliking Scarlet at all, but Meyer still exceeded my expectations in weaving together the continuing tale of Cinder and Kai with the new story of Scarlet. This leaves me with no doubt that the other two books in the series, Cress and Winter, will be absolutely wonderful as well.
I really appreciated the use of multiple points of view in this story because while I absolutely loved getting to know the rough, determined, kick-butt Scarlet, I knew I would have missed Cinder and Kai had their perspectives not also been included. I also think it was great for setting up the state of Meyer's world in multiple different areas, which only served to pull me in even more. Her world-building is phenomenal and the ideas she has put in place are very creative and exciting, but not so out there that I couldn't believe they were possible. It was the perfect mix and, as I mentioned in my Cinder review, I don't want to leave that world!
Of course the other thing that was consistently impressive was the cast of characters. Seeing more of Cinder and Kai was fantastic because it allowed them to grow more as people and so readers get an even deeper understanding of and love for them. I also ship them so hard... just throwing that out there. As for the new additions, in Cinder's early plot line we meet "Captain" Thorne, who, aside from being attractive, is kind of everything I don't like in a man rolled up into a pretty irresistible package. I don't know how Meyer did it but in every scene he just kept growing on me and honestly, I was happy to let it happen. In the other storyline at the beginning we have Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is the type of girl who doesn't take no for an answer, especially when there's something important at stake, and I can't help but admire her for it. Wolf is also pretty persistent, but he often seems like a walking, talking contradiction. He makes a living fighting illegally, yet in early encounters with Scarlet is soft-spoken, kind, and almost meek. They shouldn't work as a team at all, but somehow they find a rhythm that just works, at least from a reader's perspective, and it's wonderful to watch.
Another thing to note is that while I read the books back to back, a lot of people don't have the patience to wait as long as I did, so there's a big gap between books. With Meyer, that doesn't seem to be a problem at all. When re-introducing Cinder's story in Scarlet, she gave a short but effective (and not boring) recap of Cinder's predicament from the end of Cinder. I thought this was very smart and I don't think she could have executed it better. I also thought she did an excellent job hiding things from readers because there's a lot that isn't as it originally seems, some of which I never guessed. It was awesome seeing those secrets unravel in front of me.
Once again Marissa Meyer presents an exciting, engrossing novel with well fleshed-out characters and a consistently moving plot line. She makes use of the point of view shifts extremely well and always seems to know when you're missing one of the focal characters because she brings them right back in. Scarlet was even more than I wanted it to be and serves to set the scene for more excitement and plot twisting and meshing in the next two follow-ups.
An impressed 5 stars!