April 18, 2013
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
by Marissa Meyer
Feiwel and Friends
Scarlet is about to make a delivery when a message comes through on her portscreen. Although her grandmother has been missing for two weeks, and someone cut out her identity chip before taking her, the police have decided that there is no evidence of a crime. Her grandmother, according to the police, left on her own.
But Scarlet knows that her grandmother wouldn’t just disappear. She has worked too hard to build up this farm in France where Scarlet has lived since she was a child. Grandmother would not just leave. Something must have happened, but what?
Scarlet makes the vegetable delivery and meets one of the customers of the cafe, a young street fighter known as Wolf. In spite of his good looks, something about him makes her uneasy and she turns down his request for a job.
Eventually, Wolf tells her that he knows something about her grandmother, but at that point Scarlet has seen him fight. There is something about him that is strangely animal as if he was truly predatory. Who is he and what is the Order of the Pack? Can she really trust him?
Meanwhile, Cinder (whom readers met in Book 1 of this series, The Lunar Chronicles) is working to break out of jail. She has been helped by a benefactor who gave her a special new cyborg hand. Unlike the old one, which was merely functional, this one has some special surprises.
But breaking out of prison isn’t as easy as she hoped and she ends up taking another prisoner with her — Thorne is vain but intelligent and just happens to have a space worthy ship, something Cinder will need once she gets out of prison. Can she trust him or should she use her Lunar glamour and just steal the ship?
The two story-lines intertwine with that of Emperor Kai, the young man Cinder encountered and fell for in Book 1. Can he save his kingdom without marrying in evil Lunar queen? She offers him one out. Find the escaped Cinder and turn her over for Lunar justice.
Kai still can’t believe that he didn’t know Cinder was both cyborg and Lunar. How could she trick him so completely?
Although he knows he should be focused on finding her, he simply can’t bring himself to wish for that end.
It takes a strong storyteller to weave together multiple story lines but Meyer does it in Scarlet. Two of the lines merge flawlessly into one and the reader can see the third one coming into sight as the book ends. What will happen in Book 3?
But this isn’t one of those endings that disappoints. By the end of the book, Scarlet has found her grandmother and Cinder has escaped and found the person she was told could help. That said, neither girl finds the resolution she had hoped to find and they both learn shocking things about their pasts.
Meyers characters are fully developed and contain a believable mix of both good and bad, not so much bad that you can’t root for them but enough to make them both believable and interesting.
With a reading level of 5.3, this is a book that older elementary students could tackle. There’s a good bit of romance but nothing sexual, beyond serious kissing, happens on screen although there are several points where you think that it may.
Clearly, this book was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. The main character is Scarlet and she wears a red hoody. She must save her Grandmother. There is a wolf. But don’t expect more than that. Meyer’s has played freely with the story line which probably makes for a more satisfying whole.
In spite of the book’s size, 452 pages, it is a quick read but that ‘s mostly because you won’t get a whole lot done until you finish. Realize, that is a warning.