Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Book Review - Scarlet


Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 7th February 2013
Publishers: Puffin
No. Pages: 452
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other. Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner..

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I had extremely high expectations for Scarlet after reading and loving Cinder and while it may not have been as favourable or powerful as Cinder, it was far off being a let down. Scarlet had the same beautiful writing and spell-binding world of The Lunar Chronicles while introducing some new and highly interesting characters that I came to love and enjoy with the same respect as Cinder and Kai previously; Meyer has shown both her skill and commitment to such a series through her dedication to make each book better than the rest, and I appreciate that effort.

So where do I start? Well, for starters, I most definitely appreciated the third perspective in this installment much more than I had in Cinder and that's because of the two different sub-plots taking part in the story, Scarlet and Wolf's mission to find Scarlet's Grandmother and Cinder and Thorne's mission to escape from the Commonwealth and while they were both huge and dynamic in their own ways, without the third person, the whole premise would have collapsed. However, while switching back and forth form one plot to another was a little awkward at the start, it soon became a very easy and very simple task and I didn't bat an eyelid the further into the story I went. As starters go, Meyer also has some of the best; she introduces the romantic interests straight up and instantly places a flirting tactic on them both, rounding them up and integrating them into the other's life and I appreciate that, it saves the possible downfall of personality from a character starting of one way and changing due to the romance, but thankfully, it didn't happen here. Scarlet continued to be an independent, strong willed character, relying on her wits, her skills and her love to guide her to her Grandmother throughout the story, while her quick sense of humour and blunt nature and personality made her easy to connect to and like, however I do think that reading the small novella involving Wolf might have made me feel differently towards him in the first third of the book, but he was easy to connect to and understand after a little longer either way, so from Scarlet's story and perspective, she was easy to follow.

Their relationship and romance, well, that was a little harder to follow; they'd literally known each other for less than a week and it didn't feel as believable as Cinder and Kai's feelings form Cinder, it was all much closer to insta-love than insta-attraction for me and this did cause me to feel a small amount of disconnection from their perspective, but slowly but surely, I did begin to warm to it all. Wolf's protectiveness and learning being around Scarlet was beautiful as their romance blossomed, while Scarlet's trust issues with Wolf and her tempting feelings and 'butterflies' was also pretty sweet. Yes, I admit, I did end up crushing on Wolf myself, his delicate inner frame but animal instincts made him both a character I feared but adored, and Scarlet definitely had some naive and immature moments, but I can't help but admit to enjoying how Meyer created a new development for a relationship. Starting two romances in different ways, a slow burn for Cinder and Kai, but a hatred to desire for Scarlet and Wolf proves that Meyer has some talents in her writing, which I shall delve into soon.

I did however find that Cinder's perspective alongside Thorne and Iko was much more enjoyable and it felt that more time was spent on their mission rather than Scarlet's and in some ways I found that extremely odd; if a book is titled after one character, surely more of the focus should be on her story rather than the character who's already had an entire installment and quite possibly the main and biggest plot throughout this series? It's just a thought that surrounded me and kept coming back to me time after time, but in the whole, it's not a huge big deal. Cinder and Thorne's relationship was one I did find highly amusing; Thorne did come across as extremely stupid and minus a few of his intelligent marbles, but his banter with Cinder, their subtle friendship and connection and how they come to care for one another is genuinely one of the nicest features in this book. Thorne guides Cinder through her new talents and comforts her throughout the ordeal she's putting herself and other's through and I find this to be huge important feature; Cinder now has no family, and slowly but surely, Meyer creates this friendship, this connection, this small and willing family of people, creatures and androids to aid her, support her and be the family she's lost and I love that. Character development wise and plot direction, Cinder and Thorne's story was a little more, varied and focused more on travelling, hiding and escaping as well as focusing on Cinder's rising talents and developments into a Lunar, but from an entertainment and enjoyment point of view, I did enjoy it.

Once again, the writing was absolutely beautiful, addictive and highly enjoyable and it's almost impossible to not want to fly through the pages of these novels; Meyer writes with such a flourish and builds a beautiful world for her characters and her writing, it's almost too perfect. Now I do admit, her world building, for me personally, felt as though it took a bit of a knock in comparison to Cinder, maybe this was because of the three different perspectives, Cinder, Scarlet and Kai, or maybe it was just because Cinder and Thorne spent a lot of time in space, who knows, but it didn't feel as details as it was previously, but what was there was absolutely beautiful. Meyer was also proving just how diverse she could still by with her charcater descriptions and honesty and how each of them came from very different backgrounds. As overall plot direction goes, Scarlet continued were Cinder left off, and I definitely felt like I learnt a lot about Cinder's past, more about what could happen in the future and I can definitely feel as though there's something big coming forth soon.

I admit, I felt let down a little by Scarlet; after being amazed in every way by Cinder, I expected the same perfection as before, but with the dual/triple perspectives, the weaker romance and the twists and turns, it felt as though some of the magic was lost in Scarlet, but it by now means meant it wasn't a fantastic read. I really hope that Meyer continues to develop Scarlet and Wolf's romance and Cinder and Thorne's friendship and I do hope she continues to answer some important questions that keep popping up throughout the series. I'd also like some sweet interaction between Cinder and Kai if that's possible please Meyer? My babies haven't spoken in what feels like ages and it's distressing. Now comes the wait for Cress, I can only stress how immensely pleased I am that Meyer doesn't end on cliffies.

10 comments:

  1. I felt the exact same way about Scarlet!!!! I know the majority preferred the sequel to the first book but Cinder captivated me in a way that Scarlet just failed to do so. I loved Scarlet but... admittedly a lot of that love was because of Cinder and not because of Scarlet herself. The romance in her story was weaker.. and like you mentioned, it seemed a bit insta-lovey. I mean they knew each other for 24 hours at most and you could tell were already infatuated with one another.

    I also felt like neither Scarlet nor Wolf were as strong characters as Kai and Cinder.

    I actually felt like Cinder didn't have ENOUGH page time. To me this series is Cinder's story with everyone elses story mixed in. I imagine in the end the showdown will be between her and the Lunar Queen and she'll probably be the last to get her HEA (which I hope will happen soon!).

    Fantastic review, Amanda!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. I'd never considered it Cinders story with the others involved, I always considered them separate stories but connected through Cinder, maybe that's why it affects other people, maybe that's why I feel differently than others. But I'm glad you see why I disliked areas of this novel, it makes me feel so much better :)

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  2. I love these books! I love how the story is so much more than just Cinder's but she's still the main part of it. Hope you like Cress!

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    1. Oh me too, they're really so good! I can't wait for the review of Cress to go out! :)

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  3. Yeah, interestingly, I did like Scarlet, but it wasn't as good as Cinder in a way. Yes, the writing was there, the plot was there, but I guess I just liked Cinder as a character more. I mean Scarlet's kick ass - she's super independent, she's strong-willed, quite aggressive, but she gets shit down and I like that, but I guess I just empathized with Cinder more. And oh, oh, oh! If you liked Wolf here, OMFG, you'll love him in Cress... I can still remember that scene of him cradling a tomato can... HAHAHA. Man, that scene has me in stitches, for real...

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I know that scene! I've never been that emotional over tomatoes before, god bless! I do agree though, there's more depth to Cinder than Scarlet so far, so that could have been another reason why I prefered Cinder to Scarlet when reading..

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  4. Great review, like always ;) I quite enjoyed Scarlet but I wasn't blown away by it. It dragged a lot at times and I did get a bit bored with it. I did think that Wolf and Scarlet were very insta-lovey but I preferred them to Kai and Cinder. I don't know why, I just never really believed Cinder and Kai's romance. I am excited for the next book though, I hear so many great things and I hope it's the best of the three.

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    1. Thank you hunny! :) Cress is so good though, I mean, it might be a little dry in areas, but I really enjoyed what was there, not as much as Cinder, but close!

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  5. Scarlett was kinda the meh book, but I love the character so much, Scarlett is my favorite of the girls. I'm so excited to read Winter. I seriously cannot wait.

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    1. I have to agree, Scarlet is my lowest rated, yet Scarlet is my favourite of the girls, has the cutest romance and has my favourite cover! It's so difficult when it works out that way.

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