Scarlet is the second volume in Marissa Meyer‘s Lunar Chronicles series. She continues playing with the premise of a twisted familiar tale, basing Scarlet upon the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
Caution: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Cinder.
From the publisher:
Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison—even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does—in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.
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.
The adventure continues in this fresh fairytale retelling that combines elements of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.
In Scarlet, we are introduced to Scarlet and Wolf, and reintroduced to Cinder, who teams up with a new character, Captain Carswell Thorne, to break out of prison. The two stories eventually converge, bringing all four characters together at the end in unexpected fashion.
I love how Marissa Meyer uses pieces of the familiar Little Red Riding Hood story, and relies upon that familiarity to set reader expectations (and, at times, lead the reader astray).
Many authors express frustration at the challenge of writing book two in series after a first successful book. In many cases, the dynamic character arc that drove the story of book one is replaced by a much flatter (and often, less interesting) arc in book two. Meyer is able to avoid that challenge by introducing Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf and an entirely new dynamic to Cinder. It makes the book fresh and exciting even though it’s in a familiar world with a familiar
Before starting Scarlet, I didn’t realize how intertwined its story would be with Cinder, but now I better appreciate the scope and interconnectedness of the Lunar Chronicles. I’m fully vested and I’ll be reading the final two books in the series right away.