I really liked “Cinder,” the first book in this series. It was so much better than I was expecting. So needless to say, I was pretty excited to read “Scarlet,” especially considering some of my most trustworthy sources said it was even better than the first book. And they were so right.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
I enjoyed “Cinder” quite a bit, but I adored “Scarlet.” Something about Scarlet’s character grabbed me from the second she was introduced in a way that Cinder didn’t quite manage to do at first. Scarlet’s different than Cinder—she’s a bit more gritty and rough-and-tumble and not afraid to fight. And I don’t know . . . she just came across as a little more awesome than Cinder. Which is not to say Cinder isn’t awesome, because obvs she is, it’s just that Scarlet was a bit stronger of a heroine, I thought. And let me just say: WOLF. Kai was kind and charming, but Wolf is a street fighter. And isn’t that enough said? He’s just that wary kind of tough that gets me every time.
And lest you’re worried that the book doesn’t manage to continue the story started in “Cinder,” let me put your fears to rest. The story continues, and it gets even more exciting and complex. Scarlet and Wolf are the main characters in this book, but Cinder and Kai still play a large part as well, since some of the chapters alternate over to their perspective. And I just thought the author did a great job both balancing the two different stories and integrating them.
And the intersection between “Scarlet” and Little Red Riding Hood, on which it’s based, is really well done too. Scarlet has her signature red hoodie and a missing grandmother, but more even beyond that, there are some especially clever parallels. There was even one point where the parallel was so unexpected and spot on that I may have let out a little squeal of delight.
Overall, a fantastic second book. I can’t even remember the last time I read a strong second book in a series, but this definitely fits the bill. It has me looking forward to the next book for sure.
Rating: 4 / 5