Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Fairy Tale Adaptations
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Formats Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio


Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer’s 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.

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

When it comes to The Lunar Chronicles, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep waiting for Marissa Meyer to join the long line of contemporary YA authors who have Disappointed Me Greatly.

There have been a couple of times when I thought it was about to happen and I steeled myself for a repeat of the Great Mockingjay Book Hurling of 2012, but every time, Ms. Meyer has managed to turn it around. I’m about three-fourths of the way through the third book in the series now, so we’ll see if that holds out.

I’ve caught myself describing The Lunar Chronicles to my husband as “Star Wars for girls,” and while I’m not sure how the author would feel about that, I’m fairly certain that’s an accurate assessment. I don’t mean it in a detrimental way at all–after all, I’m a girl, and like many other girls, I enjoy Star WarsTLC has elements that remind me of George Lucas’s franchise, but the story, and methods the author uses to tell it, seem crafted with the female perspective in mind. That being said, I think male readers would enjoy this series as well. There is a dash of romance–not much, just enough to keep the story moving along. For every kiss and swoon, there are at least ten swashbuckling space action scenes.

While it is my least favorite installment so far (I’ve already moved on and devoured most of book three, Cress), but Scarlet is essential to the overarching story. The reader learns a lot more about the current state of the Earthen Union and more about Linh Cinder’s past. A lot. So much that a less skilled writer might have fallen into the classic info dump trap. Ms. Meyer shows her finesse as she tempers elements of mystery, adventure, and romance, all within a well-crafted, believable world.

Plus, it contains one of my favorite literary devices in the world–an inherently evil creature who desperately wants to overcome their own nature. People have negatively compared this book to Twilight for that reason, but I actually think this theme is one of the few commendable features of Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga. I must say, though, that Marissa Meyer conveyed the idea better overall.

One final word: I was expecting the fairy tale inspiration to be presented with a heavy hand, but it’s handled really well throughout the story. There are moments where I picture the author winking and nodding to one of her own favorite tales, but the story, and the world in which it is set, are completely unique. I can’t wait to finish!

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is a fangirl at heart, with a closet full of customers, a Harry Potter wand on her desk, and a Tuxedo Mask doll hanging from her rear view mirror. Han and Leia are still her OTP. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Marissa writes books for teens, including the NYT bestselling series, The Lunar Chronicles.

Follow her blog or sign up for her newsletter at




Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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