Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Grades 7+ Feiwel & Friends, February 2013. 452 pages. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Scarlet's grandmother, the one person in the world that she cares about, has been taken and Scarlet won't rest until she finds her. When a young (kinda dreamy) street fighter who calls himself Wolf approaches her with information, Scarlet and Wolf set off across France in search of her. But all's not as it seems. Meanwhile, Linh Cinder is busy escaping from prison and becoming the world's most wanted fugitive, and Emperor Kai is trying to figure out how to keep the Commonwealth from imploding under pressure from the crazed Lunar Queen Levana. This second installment of the Lunar Chronicles will please fans of Cinder (voted one of this year's Teens' Top Ten!).
I loooooved Cinder and I faced this sequel with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I'm happy to report that Scarlet is a very satisfying sequel. Marissa Meyer takes a new cast of characters, a new fairy tale retelling in the same distant future world, and weaves it in seamlessly with the continuation of Cinder's story. It's a great mix with strong female leads and lots of action as Scarlet searches for her grandmother and the entire world searches for the missing Lunar Princess Selene.
There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. And sure, there are a few dreamy boys in there, as well, although the romance aspect is done with a light hand. I thought the touch of romance was nice and it didn't overpower the action-driven story.
I will say that I felt like the story dragged a bit towards the end. There was still plenty of action, but I found myself a little tired of fight scenes and skimming towards them to get to the end. No spoilers, but I felt like Meyer wrapped up this story nicely, while still creating excitement for the next book in the series.
I'm so glad that Cinder has been popular with teens and I know this sequel will be, as well. Both books have a unique take on fairy tale retellings, retaining essential elements and placing them in a well-built future world.
Scarlet will be on shelves February 5!