Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 19 minutes
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.
Scarlet is the second novel in the Lunar Chronicles series. While this story features a new main character compared to the first novel, the two stories intertwine as the plot from this story builds on the one in the first installment, Cinder. The novel continues along Cinder and Kai’s journeys from book one while also introducing a new plotline with the new main character, Scarlet. Since this novel sets up a new main character and plot, there is some momentum lost from the end of the previous novel. This story starts slow as Scarlet’s story builds while Cinder’s story continues, which made the pacing both fast and slow at the same time since Cinder’s story is already established. The three pieces of the story, Kai/Levanna, Cinder/Thorne, and Scarlet/Wolf, all happen simultaneously. While the reader already is aware of the first two stories and their connection, the one to Scarlet/Wolf is not initially apparent.
Scarlet Benoit, a part Lunar farmer who lives in Rieux, France. Scarlet’s journey takes her on a mission to find her grandmother as a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. She teams up with a genetically altered Lunar warrior named Wolf. His character is mysterious as there is not a lot known about his true motivations at the start of the story. Over time, the reader learns more about his character until more truths are revealed. The two of them develop feelings for each other that felt very insta-love, which is not quite my ideal. Their journey is full of mystery surrounding Scarlet and Wolf’s individual pasts along with the disappearance of Scarlet’s grandmother. Their part of the story goes through their mission to find the grandmother where there is some predictability to their journey along with some fun twists and turns.
After finding out more about her true identity in book one, cyborg mechanic Cinder Linh is trying to make sense of everything. Cinder is on a journey with Carswell Thorne as they flee Levana in New Beijing. As the most wanted fugitive in the Commonwealth, she needs to find a plan to set things right. Emperor Kai is left in the kingdom to try to navigate this new political climate with the threat of Levana and Cinder’s true identity. Throughout the story, I liked the reminders about Cinder being part cyborg as there were moments where she seemed human. Her emotions and thoughts were well-written as she faces each new obstacle. Cinder and Kai still have feelings for each other, but their new circumstances make any romance difficult. As Cinder and Throne travel together, I loved their blooming friendship. The banter they shared was very enjoyable and helped to break up the tension surrounding the rest of the story. I hope the writing continues to grow their relationship in the next novel.
Eventually, Cinder and Scarlet’s journeys cross paths as they join forces to plan to stop Queen Levana. While I enjoyed Cinder’s part of the story more than Scarlet’s, I still liked Scarlet as a character. Her development was well-done, and I can see how there is a lot more to her part in the big picture story. There is no direct interaction between Kai and Cinder, but their feelings were apparent throughout the story. Wolf and Scarlet were okay as a couple for me, but I did not quite connect to their romance. I did love each of them as individual characters and I cannot wait to see how all five of these main characters (Thorne, Cinder, Kai, Wolf, and Scarlet) all work together in some way to defeat Levanna. I cannot wait to start Cress to see what happens next!