Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

ScarletCinder is on the run with a thief and a Captain following along. Meanwhile, Scarlet’s grandmother is missing and no one wants to look for her until she meets, vicious, quiet, young man named wolf who speaks like a priest and fights like a demon. Eventually, these four heroes realize they share a common goal when worlds collide and secret codes are unraveled.

While Cinder’s story is a Cinderella re-telling mixed with Sailor Moon, Scarlet’s story combines Little Red Riding Hood and a wonderfully fresh version of Beauty and the Beast.

It didn’t take long for Scarlet to become my favorite character. Her feisty take no shit attitude aligns with her fiery hair. I love how complex Meyer makes her characters and she does so without using belabored backstory. Scarlet is smart, angry, and wild, but has a deep love of her land that adds character-depth. And, of course, there is her love for grandma.

Meyer is also very skilled at writing attractive men that aren’t irritating. Despite his many secrets, I like Wolf as well and am excited to see where his character goes.

Because everyone knows things must come in threes, the third thing Meyer has done well is her action scenes. I hate when writers make their characters too powerful. Wolf is just enough and Scarlet, while rough and tumble, is realistically adept. One of the best parts of this book for me was the train scenes. I like how Scarlets story feels like a Western movie and yet is smoothly from the same world as Cinder.

Really the only character I could do without is The Captain. I’m sure he will prove his worth at some point but right now his storyline seems like dead weight, an easy way for Cinder to acquire a ship and nothing more. He comes off as a bit of a pig and a loser, but that leaves him room for growth and redemption.

In addition to character growth Meyer makes a smooth transition from focusing on New Beijing to expanding to encompass the rest of the globe as well complete with nods to current landmarks and politics. I do, however, wish that the plot would progress as much as the world expansion does. As much as I love Scarlet and Wolf, this new storyline forces us to sacrifice pacing of the old storyline, especially back at the castle with Kai.

The new emperor is busy trying to keep Levana from destroying the world, and doing okay at it, but he comes off as daft with his lack of intuition when it comes to Cinder. My patience with him figuring out who Cinder is, is really wearing thin. Same for his general Lunar paranoia. Don’t get me wrong, he is definitely still my book boyfriend, but many of his scenes could have been cut without us losing much.

Overall, I give this a 4 out of 5.

Main Characters: 5 out of 5
Side Characters: 4 out of 5
Plotline: 4 out of 5
Pacing: 3 out of 5
World Development: 5 out of 5
Writing: 4 out of 5

P.S. I am definitely pro stories with bandit spaceships.