Review Detail

4.7 16
Young Adult Fiction 650
Even better than Cinder!
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved:
When picking up the sequel to a book you adored, there's always a little frisson of fear that the book might disappoint. This fear increases tenfold when the new book focuses on a different character than the first. I love Cinder, so I admit to a bit of concern as to whether I would like Scarlet as much as a character. Introducing a new cast can be really difficult to get right, but Meyer did so brilliantly.

The world building remains utterly brilliant. I just cannot get enough of the mix of fairy tales and science fiction, and Meyer is a master of blending these elements into a cohesive, dark, magical whole. Meyer raises the stakes in Scarlet, global tensions rising and danger much closer to the forefront. The directions Meyer's taking the story and the characters gives me every expectation that the next book will be even more dynamic and powerful.

As with Cinder, the characters that will really steal your heart are secondary. Iko continues to be completely delightful, especially in her new form. She still fangirls with the best of them over Prince Kai, and is still just as vain, hilarious, and flirty as before. Perhaps my favorite scene occurs when she interacts with Captain Thorne, another new cast member. They have a lot in common, both focused huge flirts and clowns, and they are incredibly funny together. Captain Thorne serves to lighten the mood, keeping even scary scenes funny, and he is just delightfully unscrupulous when it comes to pretty women or items worth stealing.

I actually like the new cast even better, though I'm sure not everyone will feel the same. Scarlet, like Cinder, is a powerful girl, who will not let anyone stop her from doing what she feels she needs to do. In this case, what she needs is to locate her grandmother, missing two weeks. The authorities don't care, seeming to think that her former military grandma just wandered off and forgot where her house was. Scarlet knows better and she will get her grandmother back, even if it means facing danger and relying on unsavory characters.

What Left Me Wanting More:
With Scarlet in desperate for information, Wolf appears, a street fighter, who knows more than he's willing to let on about the group that took her grandmother. Scarlet doesn't know if he's trustworthy, but he's the best resource she has to try to rescue her grandmother. I actually really liked their relationship, and the complexities of Wolf's character, except for one thing. They definitely flirt far too much with instalove. Everything gets serious a bit too fast, because, despite the book's length, there are a lot of things going on, and not much time for falling in love. I really like them (perhaps because they remind me of The Tenth Kingdom), but they got a bit too cutesy and I would have liked them to have more time to develop romantic feelings naturally.

In fact, though the new cast members do get more screen time, Cinder remains a main character and we get to spend quite a bit of time with her. Iko, Kai, and Levana all make appearances as well. The rotating third person narrative worked quite well for the most part, though Kai's narratives tended to bore me. I like Kai, but he's not as interesting as the other characters in play, and he doesn't really get any character development in Scarlet.

The Final Verdict:
With Scarlet, Marissa Meyer has cemented herself as one of my very favorite authors. Cinder was great, but Scarlet blows it out of the water. I absolutely love this book and this series, and cannot wait for more!
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