Finally! A sequel to one of my favorite books from last year, Cinder. Scarlet is another spin on the fairy tale story of Little Red Riding Hood, and while some elements are still the same (Girl in hood, wolf, grandmother) that’s where the similarities end.
Scarlet helps her grandmother in a futuristic France that’s still reeling from the explosive events described in Cinder. War is still imminent, and it was refreshing to see a different country and a different set of characters react to the events of Cinder. What I liked best about this book is that it immediately follows Cinder without too much of a gap. Scarlet’s grandmother goes missing, and Scarlet embarks on a very action-packed (and very sexy) adventure. Along the way she meets some very familiar faces, too.
I think the thing that saved this book from being a total flop is the fact that Cinder, the main protagonist from the first book, was still prevalent within the story. The narrative switched between Scarlet and Cinder and most of the time I was aching to get back to Cinder’s story arc. The dynamic between Cinder’s set of characters and Scarlet’s was imbalanced. Scarlet’s character seemed a little forced, and so did her romantic interest, Wolf. It felt like Marissa Meyer was going:
Because while their circumstances were certainly interesting, the conversation between Wolf and Scarlet were superfluous at best. They’re a cute couple for sure, but their relationship needs a little more time to mature before I can start feeling like they’re full-fleshed characters instead of two puppets dancing for our entertainment.
So all in all, Scarlet was a very worthy follow-up to Cinder. The original fairy tale isn’t lost on the reader, yet it still manages to tie in some new elements that make the story well-paced and memorable. I can’t wait for the third installment of the series called Cress.