Scarlet Book Review

scarletTitle: Scarlet
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Retellings
Pages: 452
Format: Purchased Paperback

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.

As this is a sequel there may be spoilers.

Guys. This sequel. I was so enthralled with reading it, needing to turn the page to know what happened next, that I read it in under 12 hours. That’s right: I read it in one sitting. ME. A SLOW READER. HOW. I don’t know. But anyway, that’s not the point of this review. The point of this review is to inform you: I enjoyed this more than Cinder.

When I read the first book of the saga last year I didn’t get the hype. I don’t know what it was, but I ended up putting off this sequel for a long time as a result. And now I regret not picking it up sooner because this sequel was one that drew me in, kept me on the edge of my seat, made me laugh, go “WHAT THE HELL,” and so much more.

I knew that the fairytale retelling element in this book was all about Little Red Riding Hood. I wasn’t sure how the elements of the story were going to be incorporated into this world, but I think Marissa Meyer did a really great job of showing the elements without outright saying what it was! Scarlet (other than her name) had a favorite red hoodie that her Grandmother had given her, and then there was Wolf who had a lot of surprises and secrets of his own. I also loved seeing Cinder in there (she grew on me in this book) and seeing her work at being a mechanic and use her sass and wits in many situations. She wasn’t perfect, which I appreciated. And THORNE. I LOVE HIM.

So let’s talk about some of the things that happened, yeah?

When the book started out with Scarlet in an alleyway delivering produce from her Granny’s farm – and the fact that her Grandmother had been missing – was an instant hook for me. Scarlet had a fierce love and loyalty to her grandmother that I thought was so unseen in many YA novels, so I highly appreciated it. Scarlet has a temper which she tries to control, but sometimes it slips through her fingers and she unleashes her anger on the inanimate things around her (or people, depending on the situation). I thought it was endearing. Scarlet’s resolve to find her grandmother was inspiring, honestly. Her fierce determination was a constant in this book, even when she faced betrayal and imprisonment.

Wolf was a mystery from the start. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but something in me knew that something was going to happen for him to betray Scarlet. He wasn’t anything like the “Big Bad Wolf” that I was expecting – you know, strong, distant, cold, fearless. No, he was much more timid and wary, super cautious. But he was definitely strong, that’s for sure. When circumstances unfolded and it was revealed who and what he was, I was a) shocked, and b) in disbelief. There were so many questions running through my mind and I didn’t know how to place them.

Also, I’m forever shipping Scarlet and Wolf because they’re EFFING ADORABLE, OKAY?

Anywho, then we have Cinder who I don’t remember if I was impressed with or not in the last novel. But in this novel I felt much more attached to her, like what she was fighting for, what she was struggling with and what she wanted to do not only for herself, but for others, was purposeful and I wanted to see her achieve. I loved her sarcasm and wit, and I also liked the fact that she doesn’t have complete control over her powers, that they’re so underused that she doesn’t completely understand how to use them. And that she feels guilty when she does use them. I find that makes her realer than I was expecting. I also just love the mechanic aspect of hers because a) I love female mechanics in stories, and b) I find those scenes extremely fascinating given that she’s a cyborg and can use her own body to do so many things. It’s so cool!

And then we have Captain Carswell Thorne. I love him. That is all.

No, but seriously, he was so hilarious and charming, but he was also strong and smart in his own ways, even if he did act dumb a lot of the time. Does that make sense? Either way, I thought Thorne was kind of like the much needed comedy relief in this story? He had his uses, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of what came out of his mouth was really funny. I highly appreciated him and need more of him, thanks.

Kai was struggling so much in this novel and it makes me wonder what’s going to go down in the next two books now that he’s made a decision about something huge. I’m glad to see that he still cares about Cinder despite everything that happened and despite how much he tries to deny it, even to himself. I think that his role will become greater AND I have a theory about one of his advisors. Hmm.

I was surprised to see a chapter from Queen Levana’s point of view! It was interesting to see how observatory she is and how her mind works, even in that little snippet. I’m interested to see if we’ll see more from her point of view in the next books.

The plot of the book was centrally geared around Scarlet saving her grandmother and Cinder finding Scarlet’s mother for answers. It was fast paced and definitely upped the ante of the book. I thought that the plot of the book and the dangers within them were definitely heightened given that Cinder is now a fugitive, and that the story itself was well done. I did have some questions, though, at some points where I was like, “But why are you doing that?” that had me unsure of what I wanted to rate this. Also how things took place in only a matter of days and a few certain romantic things happened (which I’m totally fine with and was glad that even the characters acknowledged the short time span of things).

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

January & February 2015 Collective Book Haul

I seemed to have acquired more books than intended over the last two months, but hey, that’s what happens when you’re a book lover, right? Well, here’s my haul from both January and February!

  • Rebel Spring” by Morgan Rhodes. This is the sequel to “Falling Kingdoms” and I figured I’d just get it so I have it to read when I’m ready.
  • The Selection” and “The Elite” by Kiera Cass. I don’t think I ever hauled the first book, so here are the first and second books of this series. It’s about a girl named America who is chosen to take part in the Selection where 32 girls try to win the heart of the prince, Maxon, but only one can win. It’s a YA romance type of novel series. I’ve already read and reviewed the first, so I’ll be moving onto the second soon.
  • Scarlet” and “Cress” by Marissa Meyer are the second and third books in the Lunar Chronicles series. They follow different characters than the first (Cinder), but they are still fairy tale retellings (one of Little Red Riding Hood and of Rapunzel). I’m very interested to see how the stories unfold in the next books.
  • Unravel Me” and “Ignite Me” by Tahereh Mafi. These are books two and three in the Shatter Me trilogy. I read and reviewed the first book last month, and so I want to continue on with the series because I felt that I wasn’t satisfied enough in the first book and I hear it gets better as it goes.
  • Alienated” by Melissa Landers. This is an alien book (if you couldn’t guess) that follows a human girl, Cara, and how her family was picked to share their house with an “exchange student” – an alien boy named Aelyx. Things start getting dangerous, though, when threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker and police escorts have to be used for her and Aelyx. I started reading this book to get a general idea of what it’s about and I love the voice of Cara: very snarky and funny. Can’t wait to read this.
  • Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson. This is the first in a new series(?) by Sanderson that tells the story about a boy, David, who’s father was killed and how everything was essentially taken away from him. He has to defeat Steelheart and needs help from the Reckoners, a group of rebels trying to keep justice. And the Reckoners might just need David’s help, too. It sounds thrilling and action packed, so I’m excited to read this (and hopefully my husband will read it, too).
  • Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I got my hands on it. There has been so much hype surrounding this book, I hope I enjoy it. It’s about a girl named Mare who lives in a world where you are divided by blood – literally. If you have silver blood you’re an elite, essentially, and if you have red blood you’re a common peasant like everyone else. And silvers have powers. And Mare, a red blood, isn’t supposed to have powers… DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Anyway, I’m excited to read this. I think it’ll be the first book I read in March.

I also have one more to haul, even though I’ve ordered it, it just hasn’t come in yet because of international standard shipping stuff. Anyway, that is:

  • The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson – UK edition – which consist of “The Final Empire,” “The Well of Ascension,” and “The Hero of Ages.” (It’s actually a seven part series, but it’s originally a trilogy?) I love the covers of these books so much more than the American covers, and so I had to get it. It’s an adult fantasy trilogy that follows a “troublemaker and his young apprentice,” and they’re trying to save their world through the use of Allomancy, a magic of metals. It sounds intriguing and there’s a big hype surrounding it right now, so I’m excited to read it.

I’m pretty sure that’s all of the books I’ve gotten in the last two months… 13 books, woo! I could be missing something, I’m not sure. I’m just excited to read them all eventually.

Accompanying video: January & February Collective Book Haul

Have you read any of these books? What do you recommend I read sooner rather than later? What did you think of what you read? Are you going to read any of these soon? Let me know!

Cinder Book Review

cinder

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Book #1 in the Lunar Chronicles
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends – an imprint of MacMillan
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Genres: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian
Pages: 390
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer is a fairy tale retelling of the Grimm’s classic tale of “Cinderella“. But instead of the Cinderella we’ve come to know, Cinder is, in fact, a cyborg living in a more futuristic world after World War IV. She is not only a cyborg (which not many people know about), but she’s also a mechanic – and a pretty good one, too. When Prince Kai comes to her one day with one of his broken androids, fate twists these two together in a way that no one would see coming. It’s a tale about self-discovery, loss, a fleeting romance, and more.

Overall, I loved the concept of the book. I thought it was definitely unique in the way that Meyer told this version of Cinderella. Yes, there is the wicked stepmother and the two stepsisters, but one of the stepsisters actually likes Cinder (gasp!), which is actually a nice little reprieve from the story we all know. Cyborgs, futuristic, a need to save the human race from a deadly disease… it’s a bit of a great way to retell the story, right?

Cinder, herself, was a likeable character. I felt that I, personally, didn’t attach to her as much as I wanted, but rather I attached to how she acted as a cyborg, how each function worked and how it could overtake her at any moment. I also liked how she was always cautious and aware of what she viewed as her “deformity” by always making sure her gloves covered any metal parts, as well as how she was sometimes missing a foot around the prince. Oops. I did think she was a pretty cool character other than my lack of attachment to her. Not only did Meyer beat a stereotype in making Cinder a mechanic, but she was also a cyborg, making her even more badass (in my opinion, anyway).

Prince Kaito (Kai) was definitely a teenage ruler about to come into power. He knew what his father wanted for him, and respected it greatly, but he also knew what he wanted and upheld those decisions, too. Though we often saw him troubled one way or another throughout a majority of the book, I did think that he was definitely well thought out and I hope to see him in the future novels.

Queen Levana, our main villain, is a Lunar – a person from the moon with “magical” abilities – who is pretty evil down to her core. She hates mirrors, for they show the true beauty of what she is, and she hates “shells,” which are Lunars who have no magic and are able to see past any glamour she might conjure up to try to brainwash any citizens. She definitely makes for a good evil villain and she kind of reminds me of the Evil Queen from Snow White.

A few lesser characters included Iko, the little android servant to Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, but also Cinder’s companion. She has a sassy and fun personality and I loved reading the parts she was in. I wanted to just scoop her up and hug her all day.

Adri, the stepmother, definitely held her role throughout the book and I really just hated her. Good minor villain.

Pearl, the older stepsister, hated Cinder and treated her like crap. I didn’t like her much, but again, good minor villain.

Peony, the younger stepsister, was cheerful and adorable and I liked that she was nice to Cinder. Not so much a villain, but rather a sidekick, I think.

Now one of the plots of the story included a disease that is spreading rapidly around the Eastern Commonwealth, and around the world, called letumosis. Its symptoms do not appear, at first, but once a victim has gone into stage two is when the black and blue blotches start showing up all over the skin and they have to be taken to quarantine. There is no cure and so all of those who get sick with it, die. It’s really sad when one of the characters does die from it because I liked her, but I also liked that she couldn’t be saved in time, making it seem more believable that it could happen.

The other plots included Cinder fixing Kai’s android, Nainsi, for him and discovering a chip inside her that linked to someone on Luna. I have my theory that it might be Cress. Maybe (don’t tell me if you already know).

The ball was fun to read about, imagining Cinder dressed up all haphazardly and all that. I thought the events leading up to it were a bit slow and that the plot could have moved a little faster or maybe more added in, I’m not sure. I did enjoy the little hints that resembled Cinderella: the stepmother & stepsisters, the orange car (the pumpkin carriage), the cyborg foot (the shoe), and more.

Overall, I thought this was a cute read and I hear that the sequels get better. This book was a little slow going for me, but I’m glad I still read it.

I rate this book 4/5 stars.

Accompanying video: Cinder Book Review