Scarlet—Marissa Meyer

The captivity of Carswell Throne had gotten off to a rocky start, what with the catastrophic soap rebellion and all. (30)

Marissa Meyer was on the same GeekGirlCon panel as Jessica Brody, for women authors writing young adult fiction with female protagonists. Meyer is also a local author—she lives in Tacoma! I've read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, which I loved. Was it slightly predictable? Sure. Was it a fractured fairy tale with a fresh take, namely with a science fiction bent? Definitely. And I know my fractured fairy tales, because I'm a total sucker for them. (I think for me this probably began with my introduction to the musical Wicked, followed by the voracious reading of its novel and everything else Gregory Maguire.)

This second book picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of the first one, but introduces a new fairy tale character and her story: Red Riding Hood. Or Scarlet, as she's known in this version. We are introduced to her, and then switch back and forth between Scarlet's point of view, and Cinder's point of view following her imprisonment at the end of the first book, with just a soupcon of chapters from Emperor Kai's viewpoint. It turns out that Scarlet's grandmother, Michelle Benoit, is the Earthen person who hid Cinder (a.k.a. Princess Selene) when she was first brought to Earth after being horrifically injured on Luna. Now Cinder is on her way to France to talk with Michelle about that time of her life that she doesn't remember. In the meantime, Scarlet is looking for her grandmother, who has gone missing and who Scarlet finds out has been kidnapped in an attempt to extract information from her regarding Princess Selene. In Scarlet's search for her grandmother, she encounters Wolf, who she comes to find out is a Lunar operative. He is one of a number of warriors who have essentially had their DNA spliced with wolf DNA in order to make them more brutal. Cinder is traveling with Carswell Thorne, who she accidentally helped escape from prison and whose (already stolen) ship they stole in order to leave Eastern Union space. Newly-minted Emperor Kai is attempting to deal with the Lunars in a way that doesn't leave the entire Earthen population decimated. (Spoiler alert: there is no way.)

I was surprised by the take of a kind of werewolf bent as members of an attack squad from Luna. Really, I was surprised I didn't see it coming, because it absolutely makes sense: in lore, werewolves are controlled by the moon, so for these werewolfian creatures to be agents of the moon was totally in line with that. And to bring in the Wolf from the traditional Little Red Riding Hood story in that way tied it all together nicely.

I love the comedic relief that Thorne provides. Cinder takes herself so seriously, and understandably so, but it's nice to have that bit of humor to take the edge off. Plus, I've already seen that he takes a bigger role in Cress.

Overall, this series is well developed and a point of view on a fairy tale that I haven't seen before. Plus, the books are a quick read, with lots of chapters (a.k.a. stopping points).

I had been waiting to read this one for a while, actually. Like the first in this series, I picked this copy up at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale. (Side note: I've said it before, and I will say it again: the Scholastic Warehouse Sale is a great opportunity to pick up books, most for half price, and it makes my season every time I get to go to one. Most warehouses usually have sales around the holidays. You can check out warehouse sales near you here
.) In the time that I waited to pick this second book up on sale from Scholastic, a third book has been released, Cress, which I am currently reading. (Thanks again, King County Library System!)

Meyer has a fourth book in the series, Fairest, coming out in late January. Fairest is actually a prequel to the events that occur in the first book. The last book in the series, Winter, is being released in November 2015. If you're local to the area, Meyer also mentioned during her panel that she has book launch parties for each of her books which are open to the public. Not all of the details are available yet, but if you are interested in attending, you can find more information here.

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