PG 282/452 of this book was when I got completely invested in this whole series. You don’t get it. My interest went from a ‘okayyyy it seems okayyyy, I’ll just keep reading…’ to ‘SCREW THIS SHIT I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS STORY TELL ME MORE I NEED MORE’
JUST LIKE THAT WITH ONE SENTENCE.
WITH THREE DAMN WORDS.
So if you read my review on Cinder, you’ll find that I said this book seems like a good intro read to YA Fantasy (and you’ll find I wasn’t that into it). You have interesting futuristic worlds, characters with different abilities, humans trying to work their way around Lunars < who are like mutants. It’s cool. Cinder was a Cinderella retelling.
Scarlet is a Litte Red Riding Hood retelling.
There are two stories running in this book.
- Scarlet searching for her Grandmother who seems to have gone missing #kidnapped.
- Cinder’s prison break.
The two storylines are pretty well-paced and they converge together in the end. It’s fine. Let’s look at each storyline individually for starters.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CINDER & MINOR SPOILERS FOR SCARLET
- Scarlet’s storyline is fine. Scarlet lives in the small town on the outskirts of Paris and when we’re introduced to her, she’s searching for her grandmother. She’s certain her grandma’s been kidnapped. And this guy, Wolf shows up at her town. The only reason they get acquainted is, she almost finds herself in trouble (trouble she can get out of) but Wolf who’s new to the town sticks up for her. She doesn’t really trust Wolf. I mean, with a name like that… Like. Why? But anyway. Wait. I forgot how this happens, but after a few scenes of something happening (I’m sorry, I told you I wasn’t that invested in this story in the beginning) Scarlet and Wolf leave the small-town for Paris. Wolf belongs or as Scarlet believes belonged to a gang who call themselves The Order of the Pack. And Wolf has a tattoo. LSOP (followed by some number to indicate your joining number when you joined pack) which stands for Loyal Soldier to the Order of the Pack (Numbers). I mean, you already know this Wolf could still be lying to Scarlet about having left the gang. But anyway, the pair has reason to believe Wolf’s gang has caught her grandma. OH SHIT I RMB. (spoiler incoming>>>>) So Scarlet has a deadbeat dad who left her with her grandma when she was young and he turned to an alcoholic. Her deadbeat dad makes a suspicious re-entry saying he was kidnapped and tortured and his captors think Grandma has something and he’s returned to find it. He has no recollection of his captors other than the fact that they had a tattoo of LSOP which Scarlet had seen on Wolf’s wrist when he’d stood up for her. So Scarlet seeks out Wolf and Wolf attests to having left the group but agrees to help her. Okay. Glad I’ve got that out. Anyway, so the pair travel on a train to Paris. Like I said, Wolf wants to help Scarlet retrieve her Grandma, apparently < hahaha that sounds funny given the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. But anyway, they are met with a couple other obstacles on their way to the gang’s hideout. They kinda save each other more than once and feelings. Lots of feelings everywhere. It’s fine. Doesn’t feel that instant-lovey even though it all happens within a day or two. It’s fine because when your life is on the line and you could die at any instant, each second is forever. So the love line is fine. On the train-ride, we sorta realise that Grandma Scarlet whose name is Michelle, had something to do with getting Princess Selene out of the Lunar Kingdom and onto Earth years ago. And LSOP wants to know more about where da eff Princess Selene is. And when they get to the gang’s hideout… I mean, at this point, no one, not me, not you, not anyone will be surprised that Wolf goes back to his gang mates and hence leaving Scarlet with his brothers. And when he still harbours some kind of feelings for her… It’s not surprising. Him trying to help her out of the mess, not surprising, not a spoiler. Dude. His name is Wolf. BUT SHIT. HIS GANG AND WHO THEY REPRESENT. I SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING. I MEAN WHY THE FCUK ELSE WILL THEY BE SEARCHING FOR SCARLET’S GRANDMA. I loved that tie in. I loved how everything converged.
- Cinder’s prison break. She breaks out of prison with another convict, Thorne. It’s cool and shit. Thorne stole a space ship once and they use it to go find Grandma Michelle. Because if you’ve read Cinder, the book you’ll know Cinder, the character, is Princess Selene. And in book 1, someone mentioned to her that Grandma Michelle was involved in bringing Cinder to Earth. So in the end the storylines converge.
- All the while this is happening, the Lunar Queen, Levena is still being a prick and wrecking havoc on Earth.
So that’s the main plot. As for the writing, it’s gotten way better. I had issues with Cinder because of the exposition heavy-dialogue and there’s quite a few instances of that in Scarlet as well, but it’s better written. I mean there are also some scenes that were too cringey, between Scarlet and Wolf. Like stahp. But. Whatever.
The characters are fine. Scarlet is lovable. Wolf is… alright. Does Wolf have a backstory? I can’t remember. Thorne doesn’t have a backstory either. But Scarlet and Cinder have really well-fleshed out backstories. That’s kinda sad actually. I’m not that invested in the characters. Like not in the what’s going to happen to them but more in the what happens to their world. Wolf has a brother and he used to have a good relationship with his parents before he was brought into the gang. By the end of the book, we get a glimpse of what his training in the gang might have been, but like… Wolf just seems like the love interest character. Thorne, I don’t remember anything about his backstory. He’s just the eccentric guy. But maybe it’ll be explored more in the later books.
I will recommend this series. Just based on this book. Why? Because this is some interesting political scheming. And the direction of this book is so clear, especially with Cinder spelling it out at the end of this book and I’m so excited. There’s a war going to happen. Queen Levana is smart. Cinder and Scarlet are just as smart. We have well calibre-ed competition up against each other. Someone’s going to die. Maybe more than one person. And I’m here for it.
Also the one trope I really like – unlikely friends. A bunch of misfits coming together. I love it. And I believe this series is spilling with it. This series is about a group of people coming together – who didn’t realise they needed to come together – but they end up forming a team without even realising it. I love it.
P.S Kai is without a doubt the most simplistic character. Even Thorne who’s weird and shit is more useful than Kai. I mean Kai does use his brain a little more in this one. But. You’re a King Kai. YOU’RE A KING. I expected more from you. Your people deserve more from you.
I want to address one thing in my Cinder’s review. I said things seemed so light-hearted even with people dying. Scarlet was way serious ya’ll because you get more than a glimpse of just how batshitcrazy Queen Levana is, which raises the stakes. And I loved it.
I don’t think this series will blow your mind given Cinder and Scarlet. If you’re looking to read something totally unpredictable this series is not it. They’re retellings, they are predictable to a relatively high extent. The character’s actions are predictable too. I won’t say the characters themselves will win you over but the settings of this world will. Queen Levana, her evil plan, her powers and capabilities will intrigue you. Cinder and her capabilities and her banter will interest you. Scarlet’s strength and honesty will move things along. I think it’s safe to say these stories will grow on you. Fairytales. They always do.