January 24, 2014

REVIEW: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), by Marissa Meyer
Published February 5, 2013
Feiwel and Friends
audiobook, purchased
young adult sci-fi/fantasy
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads)
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I am in love. In love with Kai. With Wolf. With Thorne. And especially with Marissa Meyer and this absolutely incredible series she's created.

Scarlet Benoit's grandmother has been kidnapped. With the help of a shady character named Wolf, Scarlet sets out across France to try and find her. Meanwhile Cinder is on the run from both the Earthen Union and the Lunars with the help of another fugitive, the charismatic Captain Thorne. She decides to seek out Michelle Benoit (otherwise known as Scarlet's grandma - see where this is going?), a former European military, and hopefully someone who has the answers she desperately needs about her past. Scarlet's and Cinder's paths are destined to cross as they search for the same person.

First and foremost, I am astounded and delighted at the amazingly creative way that Marissa Meyer bridged the gap between the stories of Cinder and Scarlet. Scarlet is told in third-person, so it's relatively easy to shift from one person's POV to another's. During the course of the book, we get SIX different POVs - Scarlet, Wolf, Cinder, Kai, Thorne and Levana. Crazy, right? Wrong. I don't know how she does it, but Marissa Meyer worked those POVs in seamlessly so that it never crossed my mind that I should be confused or distracted.

And, honestly, it kept things really interesting when the story shifted from Scarlet and Wolf on the ground to Cinder and Thorne in the sky. We never had time to get bored or bogged down in any one character's story or setting. There is so much action and intrigue in Scarlet that the book is never slow and never stalled.

Scarlet and Wolf are new characters on the scene. Eighteen-year-old Scarlet is one tough cookie. She loves her grandma and is determined to get her back from those who took her. She meets Wolf, a hottie with genetically-enhanced wolf-like abilities, is instantly attracted to him, but then finds out he had a hand in the plot to kidnap her grandma. Now Scarlet is confused - should she trust him when he says he wants to help her, or should she drop him like a bad habit and make a go of the rescue plan by herself? You always get the sense that something is going on with Wolf that you don't know about. I loved being confused about his motives and background. Wolf was anything but predictable.

Meanwhile, Cinder and Thorne are hiding from everyone. Levana issues a mandate that Cinder is to be captured and brought in or she will attack Earth. Kai is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He doesn't want a war, but he is sort of glad Cinder busted out and is safe. He doesn't know who to trust either, but he knows for sure he doesn't trust Levana. My heart broke for Kai and his impossible choices. And, at the same time I wanted to shake him and demand that he see the truth - that Cinder never betrayed him or lied to him or mind-screwed him. And that she's so much more than he is aware of.

My only complaint in regards to Scarlet was the distinct lack of shared screen time between Cinder and Kai. I'm dying for them to get face-to-face so that some freaking communication can happen! She has lots of things she needs to come clean to him about. I can't wait for that to happen. Because those two have the true love of fairy tales - even fractured ones.

Of course, things come to a head, the proverbial shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose toward the end. Finally our two girls meet up and a plan for moving forward is hatched. Which brings us to Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)... or almost to Cress. Just over a week away, and I'm so excited, I could pee my pants. I can't wait to find out what happens and if this will finally be the book where the world - or at the very least Kai - finds out the big secret that Cinder's been keeping. Goodness, I hope so.

Once again, Rebecca Soler's performance on the audio version of Scarlet was PHENOMENAL. She absolutely made the characters and this wonderful crazy world come to life. Her voices for Scarlet and Cinder are great. Her interpretation of androids and machines is flawless. Her accents for all the world's leaders is impressive. I loved what she did with the audio version so much that I've already pre-ordered the audio version of Cress. Sure, I could get it done a lot faster if I just bought the book. But, then I wouldn't get to subject myself to Rebecca Soler's amazing performance, and that would be a travesty.

If you have yet to experience the Lunar Chronicles series, seriously, what are you waiting for?

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