By Cynthia Ayala
Cinder has escaped from prison and has become Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. And while she is on the run, hunting for answers alongside a charming prisoner with a ship, what she seeks – who she seeks – is in danger.
Meanwhile, across the globe in France, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother has gone missing, and no one is willing to help Scarlet. No one but Wollf, the mysterious new street fighter in town. Two separate stories are about to converge when the Lunar people invade.
Published on February 5, 2013, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second novel in the young adult series published by Feiwel and Friends. Much like the first novel Cinder began as a retelling of the classic Cinderella, this is a classic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
Much like Cinder, this was a brilliant retelling of yet another classic fairy tale. But there are a lot of differences. The first novel was more about world building, this one focused more on character building and tying two very different fairy tales together to make a very brilliant new one.
Taking pieces of the old fairy tales, Meyer combines them with effortless beauty in imagining the world and reimagining the fairy tales. The story itself is full of vitality and life and the character Scarlet matches the vibrancy perfectly. This character has a fiery substance behind her, with the greatest attitude every. She’s almost perfect. Much like Cinder she is a tough girl, a strong protagonist who can stand for herself, unlike the damsels that held the original fairy tales together. Her and Wolf were great additions to the cast and their personalities, the chemistry between the characters fit together perfectly. Their development regarding their dynamic was thought it, it was methodical enough to flow effortlessly from page to page. And it resonates so strongly that the reader falls in love with each of them individually as well as their relationship.
As for Cinder and her new partner in crime, it was the perfectly blend of comedy to reflect the growing romance from the Scarlet and Wolf. The character dynamics in this novel are so amazing, they fly off the pages captivating the imaginations of the readers. They are what holds the story together. And Cinder continues to grow as a character. She is not different from she was in the previous novel, but she has a stronger personality that, much like Scarlet, is filled with this need to protect and live. Her snarky attitude as well, makes her a realistic girl. She’s not a damsel, in fact, she is the very opposite of that, making her a very strong opponent to the Evil Queen Levana.
While the story focuses more on character building and story building rather than world building, one thing this novel could have used was more Levana. She’s the Evil Queen, the wicked stepmother, the woman who wants to rule the world. However, there isn’t much of her in the novel. Readers know her, they know that she is the villain, but more segments with her than the handful would have helped to really build classic trope of good versus evil. That would have made this already amazing story even more amazing.
But overall, this was a brilliantly told story that has so much momentum to it and characterization to it that makes it one of those novels that you can’t put down. (★★★★☆ | B+)