A Girl Who Reads: Scarlet

I've mentioned it here, and here, and kinda over here, but it's finally time to give you the low-down on the unnamed, unofficial book club, which now has a name and is sort of official. Hello, Fill Up & Live BookClub! Created by Kay and I, the title is taken from a quote I love, "she reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live". Because isn't that how books just make you feel? If so (or if you want them to), you should join us! I love reading and more than that, I love talking about what I'm reading. In my reviews, I'm limited to what I say because I don't want to spoil anything for others. This book club gives me the opportunity to chat with you all about my favorite parts, characters and quotes of a novel in detail. We plan to navigate multiple genres, reading novels that open us up to something new or just remind us of the things we love.

For the first month, June, we are reading and discussing The Fault In Our Stars.

As said before I'm sure everyone has already read it, but I thought it fitting for the month since the movie gets released in June - today actually! So whether you're reading it for the first time, re-reading for the premiere, or just wanna fangirl over Augustus Waters (YES!), join us. Non-spoiler-y book reviews will be posted on the final Thursday of the month, while the spoiler-y stuff will happen over on the Goodreads page. Once we get a button made (see? told ya we're semi-official), I'll have a "book club page" on this blog with all this information including any books for future months, but for now, head over to our Goodreads page to join the book club! Can't wait to see what you all think about the novel/movie!

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Before we jump into this review, let me say: (1) despite the plethora of book reviews appearing here, this is not going to turn into a book review blog, at I'm pretty sure it won't, and (2) if you haven't read Cinder you may want to stop reading here (I try not to spoil things but there may be minor ones as this is a sequel of sorts). Okay, so Scarlet.

Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles Book #2)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication: 2013

Main Plot: Equipped with new major information as well as some new gear, Cinder struggles to figure out what to do with it all, but first, she's gotta get out. Half way across the world, Scarlet's grandmother's been missing for two weeks, and after local French police give up the search, Scarlet resigns to look herself. The small farm where she lives with her grandmother and a mysterious street fighter, Wolf, may hold the key to multiple secrets, including where her grandmother has gone and why she left her ID chip behind.

Favorite Quote(s):

"If you were a gentleman, you would offer to buy me one as well."

"If you were a lady, you would have waited for me to make the offer."

"I don't see that her being cyborg is relevant. Next question?"

"You'll be fine... You'll be fine, because you're strong, like me."

"It would be easy to abuse a person when they never recognized it as abuse."

My Rating: 4.7 - 5 stars.

I won't reiterate the entire premises of The Lunar Chronicles except to say that all of the books are fairytale retellings. If you're interested in more information about the series, check out my review of  Cinder. You know, how the best book in most series in the 1st one and many sequels are kind of a let down? Not this one. In my opinion, Scarlet was better than Cinder. But only by the smallest of percentages, and only because I happen to like the character of Scarlet better than Cinder. Cinder is a wonderful character who starts off pretty shy and lacks confidence, but eventually develops into quite the kick-ass protagonist. But Scarlet, she's badass from the start. With flaming red curly hair as fiery as her personality, Scarlet is a strong, secure character from the start. She rocks a red hoodie throughout most of the novel and carries a gun in her waistband. She knows exactly what she wants and what she has to do, and it's refreshing to see a female protagonist that's so sure of herself. Not that Cinder isn't strong but she kind of needs others to remind her how powerful she can be, whereas Scarlet already knows it. As they said back in the day, she's "one tough cookie."

This has nothing to do with Scarlet, but I just love this quote from AHS Asylum so much.

Note: Marissa Meyer is not a character-abandoner (yup, made it up!). No character left behind. And I love her and her novel for it. She weaves everything together with expert precision. At the end of Cinder, many issues are left unresolved. Furthermore, a huge bomb, perhaps a predictable bomb but a bomb nonetheless, is dropped into the story within the last few pages of the book. So it would've been frustrating had Meyer only focused on Scarlet's story. Instead, Meyer switches from Cinder's storyline to Scarlet's storyline half-way across the world and doesn't miss a beat. Usually when authors switch point-of-views, I end up favoring one or the other and suffering through half of the chapters. But strangely, when a Cinder chapter would wind down, I'd be frustrated for a moment because I want to continue following that journey. After turning the page to a Scarlet chapter, it took only a second to fall right back into step, remembering how eager I am for her story as well. In a word, it was delightful.

Although both protagonists stories are intertwined in many ways, Scarlet definitely gets her own arc. In fact, I think it could stand alone in many ways. Scarlet's journey is for the search for her grandmother. The town police don't take her missing too seriously because she had a reputation of being quite eccentric. By about the second chapter, we see what Scarlet does to people who think ill of her grandma and we know from that moment on what her MO is. The character develop happens quickly and in my opinion it drives the novel forward. When she meets Wolf, a street fighter, she is initially hesitant to trust him until she realizes he may be the only one who can help. Her story is an adventure, a trip from a small town in France to Paris where she hopes to discover the truth to more than just her grandmother's whereabouts. Although the pacing is excellent, quite a few of the twists are predictable. Granted, it's a fairy-tale retelling and it has to remind us in a few ways of the famous Little Red Riding Hood. We need a red hood(ie). Check. A big, bad Wolf? Check. A missing grandmother? Check. Unfortunately, there were other things that were predictable yet not fairy-tale predictable, if that makes any sense. Although they didn't hinder the story drastically, it was those moments that produced a bit of a groan from me and knocked off a few tenths of a star.  

Meyer has sent a precedent. With two books left in this quartet (the third book, Cress, was released this year), I'm expecting it to get better and better.