A Badass Read-Along: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Readalong (1)

Today we are discussing book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet!

I hope you’ve read the book and can join the discussion in the comment section.  We’re looking forward to seeing what you liked and didn’t like about the the second book, Scarlet.

We’ve decided not to list the short stories as part of the read along, but please feel free to mention them in the discussion. This includes the prequel Fairest.

Please be advised, as this isn’t a review, that since we’re specifically discussing the aspects of the story it’s very likely there will be spoilers.

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ScarletScarlet by Marissa Meyer
#2 The Lunar Chronicles
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Synopsis 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.

In Scarlet we’ve now split the story to two points of view.  How did this work with the story?

Angie: I have to admit, I thought Scarlet’s portion of the story was a bit boring. I was glad Cinder was in this one a lot. It was her segments I was most interested in. And the more I got to know Thorne, the more I was looking forward to seeing them. Scarlet and Wolf just didn’t do it for me. I never felt the connection between them.

Wendy: For some reason I was under the impression that this would be entirely about Scarlet, and Cinder would become a side character.  I’m not sure why, since so much was left unfinished with Cinder’s life.  It made sense to split the POV and it didn’t actually bother me.  I thought the story was full, and I actually really liked the story between Scarlet and Wolf.  I felt it was pretty equal, plot-wise.

Pretty early on we meet Captain Thorn.  Do you anticipate a stronger story arch with him?

Wendy: The whole time I kept thinking, ‘Thorne, Thorne… Sleeping Beauty had thorns around the castle…’ because I know he’s going to stick around.  I’m glad, too.  I like him.

Angie: I didn’t even think of that! Yes, I think we’ll see a stronger story arc with him, and I’m highly anticipating it! He was the highlight of this book for me. Oh…and ‘Captain?’ Aren’t you generous? 😉

Okay, let’s just get it out of the way, Kai or Wolf?

Wendy: Wolf.  All the way, Wolf.  Kai was sweet, and I liked that he represented the hearthrob, but for me there was something so sad and compelling about Wolf.

Angie: Ummm…can I go rogue and say Thorne? There’s something about his character that I find utterly charming. He makes me grin every time he opens his mouth. I love him!

Wendy: I loved Thorne!  You’re always welcome to go rogue.  He would have been included in the question, just I can’t say for sure if he was a potential love interest.  (Though I still stick with Wolf.  I always go for the sad ones first, haha.)

How does the pacing in Scarlet compare to Cinder?  Did you like one particular book over the other?

Wendy: I liked both stories, but I actually felt like Scarlet was faster paced.  It seemed like it was constant action, which made me prefer it over the first book, Cinder.  (Not to mention Wolf.  Again, loved him so he really added a lot to the story for me.)

Angie: I’m in the opposite camp. I’m not sure Cinder’s story was necessarily faster paced, but I did find it more interesting, and I found Cinder to be a more level-headed character than Scarlet. Scarlet made some decisions that I didn’t think were very well thought through, and it made it hard for me to really understand her character.

Wendy: Scarlet was definitely more driven by passion than reason.  I could understand it, due to what was at stake, but she definitely wasn’t level-headed.

What did you think of the setting in this one?

Angie: I actually liked the setting in this one better. I thought it gave a clearer picture to have a definitive location, especially since I don’t think there’s a ton of world building in the series.

Wendy: The location felt more like our world to me than New Beijing.  I thought it fit well with the story, but I actually think I preferred New Beijing only because it felt very original and futuristic.

Angie: That’s why I liked it. There wasn’t enough description in the first book for me to even picture New Beijing, so I wanted something I could actually see.

How did this retelling stack up to the original story of Red Riding Hood?

Wendy: Scarlet felt less like a retelling to me than Cinder did.  Yes, Scar had a grandmother and she wore a red hoodie.  Yes there was a Wolf… but that’s where the similarities really stopped for me.  Cinder actually felt like a Cinderella retelling, down to the loss of her foot on the stairs.

Though, I will say I chuckled during the street fighting scene when Wolf was fighting ‘Hunter’.  That was a cute nod to the original story.

Angie: I agree. Scarlet didn’t feel like as much of a retelling. It just adopted a few of the elements.

Stories wouldn’t be complete without good secondary characters.  Who did you love?

Angie: Iko! I was thrilled with the reappearance of Iko. What a fun, breaking the tension sort of character. I can’t wait to see more of her. And I think you can tell from my ‘Kai or Wolf’ pick that I really loved Thorne.

Wendy: For sure, Iko is definitely the first one I think of.  For being an android, her character is just as well developed and interesting as anyone else’s.  I guessed pretty early what Cinder would do with Iko’s personality chip, and I actually really loved it.  Although I also loved it that Iko was struggling with her new form, and I am worried about her.  I feel like they’re hinting at it becoming a problem for Iko down the line.

Other than Iko, I can’t think of any secondary characters that have stood out to me… or I guess I should say that are still a part of the series.  Iko and Thorne right now, and I love both of them.

After reading the second installment, do you have any theories or hopes for future installments?

Wendy: Other than realizing that in the original Rapunzel story the prince falls and loses his eyesight on thorns, which makes me think there may be something between Cress and Thorne, I really have no idea what might be coming.  Clearly Cinder is going to work on becoming badass and she’s going to save the love of her life from the evil queen.

Angie: I hope there’s something between Cress and Thorne. I think their story could be very interesting. I’m not sure what will happen, but I am looking forward to the scenes where Wolf will be training Cinder! I think those are going to be a lot of fun to read. And I can’t wait to see Cinder and Kai reunited! And Levana. Ugh. She needs a good ass-whoopin’, and I cant’ wait to see that!

side note: I (Angie) listened to the audio of this story, and while I like the narrator, sometimes Scarlet had a French accent, and sometimes she didn’t. The inconsistency was enough to jar me from the story at times.

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Series Reading Order:
#1 – Cinder
#2 – Scarlet
#3 – Cress
#4 – Winter

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