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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Scarlet Blog Tour)




Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer 
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Fairy Tale Retelling/Sci-fi, 464 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.



Marissa Meyer's debut, Cinder, made my list of faves in 2011, so of course I was really looking forward to the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Scarlet - especially 'cause LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD ZOMG!
Ahem. Excuse me.
LRRH is one of my favorite tales for a number of reasons - not least of which is because of how really fricken disturbing it is - and I love to see what people make of it when they retell it. And though I think Cinder still has a (cyborg) leg up for sheer uniqueness,  for the most part, Scarlet was thoroughly engaging and happy-making, just like its predecessor.

I talked a bit in my review of Cinder about how I love when a fairy tale retelling can stand on its own - when the original fairy tale elements are clearly there, but the story isn't mired in them. Cinder did this really well, and fortunately Scarlet stands on its own as well. I think with LRRH this is a little harder to do; I mean, a red cap or red hair, a trip to/search for grandma, a wolf of any kind - the barest whiff of any of these screams Little Red Riding Hood to people. We're used to rags-to-riches stories, so it sometimes escapes a heavy Cinderella parallel, but with LRRH, it's harder to not be obvious. (Am I making any sense?) But I think Meyer uses the fairy tale elements judiciously (and wisely, judging from the changes she made, which she highlights in her guest post at A Backwards Story), and though the LRRH-ness is always there, it never overwhelms the story. In this version, Red (aka Scarlet Benoit) and Wolf (aka, um...Wolf) retain some measure of their fairy tale aspects, but they each stand on their own quite nicely. I really, really liked both characters quite a bit (though not always together, though I'll get to that). Scarlet is strong, smart and fierce, and I couldn't help but love her. Wolf is enigmatic, a bit dangerous, but charming, and has a slight Bad Boy tang, but without the unsavory aftertaste (Wolf he may be, and Alpha he may be, but an Alpha A-hole he is not, and Hallelujah for that). The more minor characters are fantastic as well - the old familiar ones who pop up again, as well as the new additions. Meyer crafts great characters for readers to love and/or love to hate.

The one problem I had, though, was sort of character-related: there are a lot of them. It's not that it's ever confusing, or that the cast of characters is even all that huge. The problem lies in the fact that they each have to have their time in the spotlight: there are multiple narrators/POVs, multiple plot-lines going on, and as a result, it sometimes felt like the focus was split. Cinder got an entire book to herself, but Scarlet has to share, which makes me worried for Cress and Winter. Now, this is tricky, because I love Cinder, and I would have been disappointed if she didn't have a part in this (and I liked her part in this, truly). Also, I think there would have been mutiny if Cinder didn't have a part in this, because hello? book one's cliffhanger... But it's hard to build as much tension and make readers care as much for the new characters - and any romance that may be developing - when they're giving up a lot of their screen time to everybody else. I loved Scarlet and Wolf, but as for loving them together, I think I mostly did because I was supposed to, and not necessarily because I was given no choice but to - there are some excellent moments of tension and building chemistry, but there's not enough there yet to make me love their love, or whatever may come. (Especially given the time frame of the book.)

Now, this is not in any way to say that I don't see chemistry there, or that I didn't like either of them, because that would be totally false. The chemistry was palpable, and I loved Scarlet and Wolf almost as much as Cinder and Kai - just not as a swoon-worthy couple (yet). But I can see it getting there, and I certainly liked what each brought to the story, not just in themselves, but in the way their characters and backgrounds expanded the world of the story. Each brought new pieces of information to the table that embellished the world and added to the understanding of the Lunars, their powers, and Queen Levana's endgame. The story grows nicely as a result, and Meyer has set up a strong basis for where the series is going, making me very eager for Cress and Winter, which frankly, can't come out soon enough.

And on a side note: I'd sure love to see these made into films; I have a feeling they could be pretty kickass.


Second side note: Bonnie, whose blog I linked above for the guest post, is continuing the celebration of Scarlet's release by having a Week of Little Red. She'll be having giveaways, reviews and posts of all things Little Red-related, so if you're looking for more LRRH, stop by and check it out. =)

Can't get enough of the Lunar Chronicles?
Check out the accompanying short stories,
catch Marissa on tour, or become a Facebook fan!
Haven't checked out The Lunar Chronicles yet? 
Download the first 5 chapters of both Cinder and Scarlet!


36 comments:

  1. I love that you gave your honest opinion of the book I really enjoyed the review cant wait to read it myself :)

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  2. I was slightly concerned about the multiple points of view in this book. Cinder only had two and that took away from Cinder's part just a bit, and knowing what Scarlet is supposed to have, I admit a little concern. So what you said does make sense. I'm not worried that it'll bother me too much though, I have confidence in Ms. Meyer! :)

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  3. I want this book so badly, I practically have the jitters. I've read a few reviews on it, and while the multiple perspectives is making me iffy if only for the fact that I often forget who I'm reading as with too many, I'm still so extremely excited.

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  4. Loved Cinder and looking forward to Scarlet.

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  5. I love the cover with the smoke/fog and the flowing cloak.

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it!! I am so bloody anxious :D

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  7. Can't wait for Cress and Winter either!

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  8. I'd love to see these made into movies, too!

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  9. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. I still can't wait to see how this will turn out! I also would love to see these as a movie! :D

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  10. Misty! I don't want to read your review yet! I'm already convinced to read the book and that means I have to go in, pure and white as Snow White, to discover what Meyer has done! Then I can come back and read your review and we can talk about it. But I really really really really really want to read this ASAP so I have to get all the possible entries for the rafflecopter... yes I am a rafflecopter fiend, at least for this particular book... So here I am, commenting on your review, which I'm sure is wonderful, and insightful, and will open up plenty of avenues for discussion. Please forgive me for not reading it yet, and leaving this clearly-slightly-shady comment in order to qualify for an entry in the drawing. :)

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  11. Haha! No problem, I understand completely. I don't like to go into a book biased either, and in fact, won't read reviews of things I intend to read until after I've written my OWN review.

    Good luck!

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  12. I honestly just skimmed your review because I don't want to know *too much about it before I read it. I know I will love it because I love Myers' writing and because, hello?! Cinder was awesome and I NEEEEEED to find out what happens next in the story. But I'm a little concerned about the multiple character/narrator/POV thing. I really don't like when books do that, it's very distracting to me. I guess I'll have to wait and read it. Thanks so much for your honest unbiased review, it's much appreciated.

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  13. Can't wait until Scarlet!1 :)

    Are Cinder and Scarlet the only two POVs in the book, or are there more?

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  14. I just finished a book with a lot of characters, and I know what you mean when you say it isn't confusing, but still takes a bit away from it.

    Hopefully it won't bother me too much in Scarlet.

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  15. Loved your review....especially your description of the BBW...can hardly wait to read the book.

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  16. Really enjoyed your review I cant wait to read this .

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  17. I really like your review. Honestly, I don't always need that instant and obvious clicking in the relationships. I felt like Cinder was the beginning of a big arc. It sounds like Scarlet continues that. I don't know about the multiple POV. I am looking forward to reading it.

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  18. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds great! Love the cover too!

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  19. How right you are about seeing these made into films. If they can make Snow White twice, why not these ones. I'd go for sure :)

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  20. I'm quite nervous about the multiple storylines going at the same time. I tend to really get invested in one character and when we switch over, I skim through as fast as I can to just get back to character 1. Then again, I guess it should be fine because I'll have a year to re read and fall in love with both Scarlet and Wolf. I can't wait for next Tuesday!! Thanks for the review!!!

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  21. I'm also a bit nervous about multiple plotlines, and it does seem unfair that Cinder got a book to herself, but Scarlet had to share. I wonder how it will all wrap up over the 4 books.

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  22. Really excited to read this! I usually like multiple points of view in a story so I'm interested to see how it will play out in this context. Can it be Feb 5 already?! :D

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  23. Awesome review! I'm really excited to meet all the new characters that are being introduced in Scarlet

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  25. Great Review! i'm still reading cinder atm

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  26. Awesome review! Heard lots of great things about this book. :)

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  27. Great review! Can't wait to read it!

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  28. Like you, I was worried about Cinder's part in this book, good to know we get to see what happens to her!

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  29. I'm in the middle of this now. I'm glad Cinder is still in it. Thanks for the great review.

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  30. One of my favorite things about Cinder is how Marissa Meyer made it a Cinderella story while still making it fresh and unpredictable--"when the original fairy tale elements are clearly there, but the story isn't mired in them". I'm so glad to read that Scarlet is similar in style, and I'm really excited to read it!

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  31. I'm excited to read Scarlett. It seems like there's a lot more characters in this book to focus on. I hope it won't be overwhelming like you felt. :D

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  32. I can't wait for the 3rd book to come out!!!

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  33. I love your review I'm a little nervous about all the characters. I seem to have a hard time connecting to a book if there are to many points of view so I will have to see how I feel about that.

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  34. I've yet to read Cinder, but it has been on my TBR list for ages. Hoping to catch up and get into this series, it sounds great!

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  35. Great review, thanks for sharing!

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  36. OK, so I haven't read either yet, because I was nervous about the fairy tale re-telling part being lost in the shuffle (and used as a trope more than as source material). But now you've got me curious (and there's a character named Cress? That's awesome!). Thanks!

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