Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review - Scarlet

(The Lunar Chronicles #2)
by Marissa Meyer
Date: 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 464
Format: e-book

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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I decided to read Scarlet for three reasons: 1) I didn't absolutely hate Cinder; 2) I am intrigued by the whole sci-fi fairytale theme; and 3) I'd been told that Scarlet was much better than the first book in the series.

Please, dear author, I want some more...

I still think the idea of a series of fairytale retellings set in the future with cyborgs and androids and spaceships is a good one... just not in the hands of this particular author.  There is very little I like about this book, aside from the basic premise.

It's all a matter of taste...

I wasn't really aware that so much of Scarlet was going to be from Cinder's point of view.  But I'm kind of glad that it is, because Scarlet herself made me want to bash my head against my laptop screen.  She is so stupid.  Clueless characters seem to be a bit of a theme in this series, but Scarlet really takes the cake.  When she's not making ridiculously convenient (and inevitably incorrect) assumptions, she's waffling... which makes her come across as a rather weak character.  We're also introduced to Thorne, who I'm guessing is going to end up as somebody's love interest at some point, but who I felt absolutely nothing for in that regard because he comes across like a twelve-year-old boy.  The only half-decent character that was thrown at us is Wolf, who has an interesting back story and provides what could prove to be some interesting conflict down the road.  Unfortunately, even his character is marred by the bane of young adult fiction: insta-love.

Let's get technical...

I do not remember having this much trouble with the writing in Cinder.  In this book, however, Meyer seems to be trying to rewrite the dictionary.  My Kindle edition is littered with notes and highlights where she uses words that just don't make any sense in context.  Sometimes the word is close to correct (like in the case of homophones), but at other times the word is so far off that it's as if the author thought she could just make the word mean something else simply because she wanted it to.  (Sort of like Justin Bieber and "the Sixteenth Chapel".)  After struggling through 464 pages of this sort of nonsense, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the page count for the fourth book in the series.  I'd rather read the dictionary; at least I'd get the proper word meanings doing that.

The verdict...

Scarlet managed to: 1) make me want to avoid the rest of this series like letumosis; 2) take a break from fairytale retellings for a while; and 3) be even warier of books and series with lots of hype.

Quotable moment:

"Sorry about the whole tranquilizer thing. I thought you were going to eat her."

"I thought I was too."

Premise: 2/5
Plot: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 1/5
Writing: 2/5
Editing: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall Rating: 1.63 out of 5 ladybugs


  1. Wow, I guess I didn't see the series from that technical stance at all. I actually enjoyed her writing style and am listening to Cinder again right now. Guess it just show how personal books are - one person can love it just as easily as the next hates it
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. I was actually wondering at times if English was the author's native language! I don't remember the writing in Cinder being so... weird.

      I didn't want to dislike this one. But if there's one thing that really gets my goat, it's bad quality of writing; I'm one of those people who just can't look past that, no matter how intriguing the premise might be.

  2. Oh THANK YOU. I read Cinder and Scarlet, too, before I started blogging, and then I was absolutely baffled when I saw how much other bloggers love this series! It's so forgettable, the writing was pretty bad and I had no wish to continue reading it. I love your review :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I know I'm in the minority with this series; everybody else seems to love it. I can't quite figure out why, for all the reasons you mentioned! (Perhaps people love the premise... although, I am sure there are other, better sci-fi retellings of fairytales out there.)

  3. Sorry to hear. I've not read these, and they do sound like an interesting twist to the sci fi fairy tale thing.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. The idea is interesting, but... yeah. The execution is lacking. It's too bad, really.