Freebie Friday will be back next week and it's RAK week -- a whole stack of books to give away and multiple winners!
by Marissa Meyer
To be published by Feiwel and Friends
on February 5, 2013
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
My summary: Scarlet Benoit is delivering fresh-picked vegetables from her farm in the French countryside while trying not to worry about her grand-mere'smysterious disappearance. On a routine delivery to a tavern, she meets ... you guessed it: Wolf. He's a tough street-fighter, but soon Scarlet has reason to believe he might be able to help her. Meanwhile, cyborg Cinder is trying to break out of prison and stop evil Queen Levana from taking over earth. When these two space-age fairytale heroines finally cross paths, they learn that they have something in common: they each have a piece to the puzzle of a missing Lunar princess, a girl who could disrupt the evil Queen's plans and save the universe.
My take: I like fairytale retellings, and really enjoyed Cinder, book one in this four-part series. You can read my review of Cinder here. Scarlet is part two of this inventive series, and the action moves from New Beijing to the French countryside, where the fiery-haired Scarlet delivers vegetables by spaceship for a living. As she does, she meets a hungry wolf, whom she's convinced can help her find her missing grandmother. Or is he just big and bad?
Scarlet's story alternates with that of Kai's and Cinder's. Kai is still trying to deal with the fallout of the whole Cinder at the ball fiasco. Cinder, after her disruptive appearance at Prince Kai's royal ball, has been imprisoned. With the help of Captain Carswell Thorne, a feckless fellow prisoner, Cinder stages a jailbreak and soon the pair are combing New Beijing for Thorne's missing spaceship. The two of them made a compelling couple -- verbally sparring in a rapid-fire fashion that brought to mind the crackling sexual tension between Princess Leia and Han Solo in the Star Wars movies. I am definitely rooting for Thorne in this particular love triangle.** Like many classic fairytale heroes, Prince Kai strikes me as a little on the bland side. After Cinder escapes, poor Kai has to manage Queen Levana's fury, but he still isn't given much of interest to do in this book. As far as I'm concerned, Cinder gets to do all the cool stuff. I was also delighted that among her accomplishments is managing to bring back Iko, her beloved cyborg-servant, at least in a manner of speaking. Iko provided additional comic relief as Cinder and Thorne tried to evade capture by the Queen's minions.
While I enjoyed reading about Scarlet and Wolf, I also felt that theirs was also a peripheral plot stream to Cinder's. Scarlet isn't really a sequel to Cinder or a companion book -- it's more like a merging of story lines. Scarlet's grandmother has information that the evil Queen Levana needs, but Scarlet isn't really central to the series' main plot. Wolf is an enigmatic and compelling character -- I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilers -- and I hope he and Scarlet will continue to be part of the series. But there are still two more fairytale characters -- Rapunzel and Snow White -- who also need to be brought into the mix, and things could get crowded.
Scarlet, like Cinder, is a lively, imaginative book that seems to be one-third fairy tale, one-third sci-fi, and one-third comic book adventure. The series, which features strong female heroines and a great blend of action and romance, is one I highly recommend!
** Okay, not everyone agrees with me that this is a love triangle, and it probably isn't, but a girl can hope... I'm always rooting for the underdog.
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