tl;dr: intriguing second part but more cliffhangers abound
Scarlet is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series, taking us to France, where we are introduced to a bit of a Little Red Riding Hood-themed story. Scarlet Benoit is looking for her missing grandmother when meets up with Wolf, a street fighter who seems to have a lot of wolf-life qualities, including razor-sharp teeth, yellow-green eyes, and a fierce howl. Scarlet believes her grandmother has been kidnapped, and her estranged father all but confirms it when he shows up at her home, tearing apart her house looking for something.
Meanwhile, Cinder escapes from prison with the help of Captain Creswell Thorne, who is basically Han Solo, since he is a smuggling space pirate who thinks he is irresistible to women. Cinder is reluctant to finish her directive from Dr Erland, who wants her to join him in Africa in order to plan how they are going to overthrow Queen Levana. Emperor Kai has dispatched all of his army to look for Cinder, and so she’s on the run, and realizes that Michelle Benoit, Scarlet’s grandmother, may have the answers that she’s looking for about her past.
Scarlet discovers that Wolf is more animalistic than she had guessed, but he’s torn between loyalty to his genetic makeup and this strange pull towards this girl. After a tense showdown between Wolf and his pack, and also the Lunar thaumaturge that controls them, Scarlet, Wolf, Cinder, Creswell, and their ship with Iko’s chip inside of it, collide in France.
Cinder is still unsure about taking her place as the rightful ruler of Luna when she learns that Emperor Kai has accepted Queen Levana’s offer of a marriage alliance. Knowing that means Kai is as good as dead, she decides that she is going to fight.
Overall, I thought this book was well-written and well-paced, but it does not stand alone at all. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, but it’s hard to review is as a stand-alone because it simply doesn’t. This book is darker than Cinder, mostly because it alludes to rape during the scene between Scarlet, Wolf, and his brother Ran. The book is also much more violent than its predecessor, due to the nature of these wolf-human hybrids. They are bred as a weapon, and so they act as such. They are lethal, and many casualties pile up in gruesome ways.
I’m definitely interested in continuing the series, and I thought a lot of the developments in this book were thoughtful and interesting. I really like how the stories meld together to create one narrative. The mythology of all the different fairytales are twisted together in an interesting way, and I look forward to seeing how Rapunzel fits in!
Find it at your local library!
New to the series? Start with Cinder.