Let me just start by saying that I was going to recommend the WHOLE SERIES, but since I haven’t read the other books yet (except Cinder, of course), I don’t think that’d be prudent. I mean, there are five of them after all. But this book has effectively made me want to read every single word that Marissa Meyer writes in The Lunar Chronicles (and possibly beyond), so take that as you will.
Now. Let’s talk about Scarlet.
SCARLET. Oh, man. This book.
I honestly don’t know where to begin. So, a (non-spoilery) list.
1. The characters are so great. SO GREAT.
I found Scarlet herself infuriating in the best possible way. She’s so headstrong and determined and desperate, but she is also so caring and honest and FIERCE.
Cinder and Kai show up in this one, and they are just as delightful as they were in the first book. Also, [spoiler] Iko is back, and she is THE BEST, and I love her, so obviously that made me happy. [/spoiler]
Scarlet’s grandmére is so badass and amazing. She was a pilot in the military! She chases people away from her door with a shotgun! Also, she is the kind of person her granddaughter would absolutely die for, and she raised a complete badass, so, you know. Grandmothers, man. Also, I kind of love badass old people (see also: Grandpa Noirtier from The Count of Monte Cristo).
Thorne is a lot of fun.
And Wolf. Oh Wolf.
2. I love the way that Meyer plays with the fairytale format. Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and all of the elements are there: the red hood, the wolf, the huntsman, the missing grandmother, the journey through the woods, and the chase through the woods. However, none of these things were presented the way I expected, and the way they were woven in the story really works.
There’s also some Sleeping Beauty thrown in for fun, which I really appreciated.
Side note: Did you know that Kill Bill is a Sleeping Beauty retelling? One of my students pointed that out to me. But I digress.
3. Honestly, what I loved most about this book is I did not expect anything that happened in it at all. It’s hard for a book to surprise me, so huge major props to Meyer for that.
Okay, that picture is a little misleading because I read this via audio so I was not literally holding the book in my hands, though I was in my car making the same face.
4. Speaking of the audio, the audiobook is narrated by Rebecca Soler, and she is pretty great. Scarlet has an awesome French accent (even if it does drop a couple of times), and every character has a distinct voice. She even gives Cinder a slightly robotic edge, which I found to be a nice touch.
The only downside to listening to the audiobook is that I don’t know how to spell some of the words. Like “thaumaturge.” But that’s what the internet is for, I guess. (On the plus side, I do know how the words are pronounced, so that’s nice.)
5. I was also really, really, REALLY pleased that Meyer kept this strictly sci-fi. I thought it was veering off into fantasy for a minute there and was about to be mighty upset, but I needn’t have worried.
In conclusion: Great plotting, excellent characters. I’m already reading the next book in the series.