The Lunar Chronicles have been a massive success for quite a while now. Last year, I read the first book in the series called Cinder. It took me quite a while to pick up its sequel; Scarlet. I enjoyed Cinder, although I was never really blown away by it. Scarlet promised to be more exciting, so I was looking forward to reading the book. The question is, is the book as good as other reviews say or is this series not worth reading? Let’s find out!
What is it about?
As always, Goodreads provides a better synopsis than I can write, so here we go.
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. 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.
One of the things I loved about CInder and also about Scarlet, is that the books are very fast-paced. There are no slower moments and even the moments where there isn’t that much action are exciting. This keeps the momentum going and it helped me as a reader to stay invested in the story. Cinder was the book that felt a lot slower, because it needed more time to set things up. Scarlet dives right into the action. Loosely based on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, the story takes an interesting approach regarding to the classic tale, without overdoing it. I love how Meyer manages to combine the Sailor Moonesque premise of the Lunar Queen with fairy tales. It works, it is entertaining and enjoyable. While I did feel the beginning was relatively tame, the ending of the book contained more uncomfortable gore, which was definitely in line with the original fairy tale.
Scarlet saves the day
The book has several POV characters, but both Cinder and Scarlet tell most of the story. While I did not mind Cinder in the first book, I enjoyed her character more in the second instalment. She appeared to be less damsel in distress and while it took time for her to kick some ass, she is at least improving. Scarlet on the other hand is my kind of girl. Whether it is her undying love for her grandmother, or her take no prisoners attitude, she got stuff done. She did not sit around and moped about how horrible everything was but proactively tried to make the situation better. I found myself looking forward to her POV chapters more than any of the other characters.
Kai is back too, now an Emperor instead of a prince. He has a few POV chapters and I do sympathise with him more than I did in Cinder. The stakes are a lot higher in this book than in the previous one. Everybody has to sacrifice something, and Kai perhaps has to sacrifice most of all. Another character I really enjoyed was Wolf. Yes, the big bad one. Although this one turned out not to be so bad after all. He mostly appeared in Scarlet’s chapters. The two of them had an interesting chemistry, so it was a joy to read. Also, Thorne, a character who helps Cinder along her way, is probably one of the funniest characters I’ve had the pleasure to read about. I think he deserves a book of his own.
Is it perfect?
Definitely not. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I wasn’t blown away by it. In fact, despite the fact that the book had such a high pace, it took me a while to finish it. While I enjoyed Scarlet’s POV, it still took me a while to get into the story. There was a lot of moving around from left to right and it didn’t feel like the characters were going places for a long while. While their goals were clearly laid out, it still felt like they had no purpose for a long time. When shit finally did go down, it went down really fast and really good and I couldn’t stop reading. I just wished I had those feelings earlier on.
+ Nice mixture of fairy tale and Sailor Moon
+ Girl Power
+ Believable romance
– Takes some time for the suspense to built up.