The next time I decide to start a series just as book one is published, will somebody please come find me and slap me in the face? It would be much appreciated.And I’m not just talking about the annoyance of having to wait a year in between books, although I hate that pretty much a lot. I’m also talking about the high probability that the series you are reading is less satisfying to read spread out over a period of years rather binged on in a couple of frenzied weeks (or if it’s really, good, days) like I prefer to do. For series I really love, this isn’t as much of a problem, because I’ll just go back and re-read the previous books, but for series I just like (i.e. these here Lunar Chronicles), the characters and storylines are diminished in the waiting. I lose my emotional connection to the story and I forget crucial plot threads. And I just don’t have time to re-read, dammit.
All of that is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Scarlet, because I did. It’s actually a really good second book, especially after having read a bunch of dud second books lately. (Disappointing second books in a series, included but not limited to: Requiem, Insurgent, Prodigy, Crossed, etc.)
When I first read Cinder last year, I didn’t realize that each book would be loosely based on a different fairy-tale. I was a bit worried that adding new protagonists to the series would take away from Cinder’s story, but the alternating narrative in my opinion actually energized the story. Cinder was a bit flabby in parts, whereas Scarlet was more streamlined. Scarlet, the character, is Meyer’s answer to Little Red Riding Hood. The way Meyer adapts the story is actually really neat (I think she did a much better job with RRH than she did with Cinderella). In Meyer’s version, Little Red is a young girl named Scarlet living in future France with her grandmother, who is a farmer. Only, her grandmother has gone missing and there is something very weird going on that Scarlet is unaware of. I was also worried going in that Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories would be awkwardly forced together, but they’re not. It all feels organic, and when the two narratives inevitably meet up, it’s pretty great.
I did have some minor issues with this one (as much as I liked Wolf as a character, it’s getting a bit old that every YA novel now has to hae a love story — though, I suppose this comes with the fairy-tale territory; also, the trajectory of Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship was a bit predictable, if enjoyable), but overall, it was just a really fun read. I love the fairy-tale angle. I love the brightly colored sci-fi future Meyer has created. And I’m really excited about books three and four (which will apparently be based on Rapunzel and Snow White, respectively).