Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar chronicles, bk. 2. Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780141340234.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Science fiction. Fairy story retold. The second in The Lunar Chronicles returns the reader to Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, who is trying to escape from prison. In France, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother has disappeared and she is frantically trying to find her. Scarlet, who wears a red hoodie; meets Wolf a stranger to whom she is drawn, although she knows that she shouldn't trust this stranger. Wolf agrees to help her find her grandmother, who turns out to have many secrets that Scarlet was unaware of. During their search they encounter Cinder and find themselves rushing to stay away from the vicious Lunar queen.
After reading good reports of Cinder, and thoroughly enjoying its combination of science fiction and fairy story, I happily read Scarlet, and liked it just as much. I particularly enjoyed the introduction of two new major characters, Scarlet and Wolf, and loved the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet is not a timid girl afraid of the big bad wolf, instead she is strong and feisty and determined to do something about her grandmother's disappearance. Wolf's background which is gradually revealed throughout the book makes him an interesting and vulnerable character.
Cinder's story is not ignored and Meyer manages to combine the two storylines into one huge, entertaining story. The introduction of Carswell Thorne, a womaniser and fugitive thief, as Cinder's companion in her escape from goal provides many light moments of humour as he wisecracks his way to freedom. Prince Kai finds himself facing huge dilemmas as he wrestles with what the wicked Lunar Queen wants - him as her husband.
There is plenty of action and adventure in this story and it is sure to be popular with readers who like strong women main characters, science fiction and the clever retelling of fairy tales.