A Cyborg, A Red Head and Some Wolf-Men…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

www1 Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the 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.

I never expected to love this series as much as I do. I am a fan of fairy tale retellings and reimaginings, but I thought the idea of Cinderella being cyborg was going a bit far. Oh how wrong was I!? It’s not too far. It’s exactly far enough, and it’s amazing.

In this, the second book, we continue where Cinder left off – with Cinder captured and imprisoned – and so naturally the first port of call is for our head-strong protagonist to escape, which she does with the help of loveable if not slightly stupid Captain Thorne (not even a captain).

I really liked the introduction of Thorne. He’s one of those hopeless rogues with a good heart, and he bounces off Cinder well. I was so glad this didn’t turn into some kind of love triangle between him, Cinder and Prince Kai as well. There’s a bit of initial flirting, but I think we can always tell his attempts are going to be futile, and it’s amusing.

At the same time we are introduced to Scarlet, a feisty, humble farm girl who’s had a bit of a rough ride. Her mother died and her father left and now her grandma has disappeared. With the help of the mysterious Wolf, she sets out to find her and discovers that her grandma is not quite the person she thought she was, and maybe Wolf isn’t either.

Oh seriously guys, I just loved this. Meyer did such a great job at intertwining these two stories. I never felt annoyed about the changing POV like I usually do with multiple perspectives, probably because I was equally as in love with both of them.

The action in Scarlet is constant, the pace is fast and it’s written beautifully, I can’t find anything bad to say about it. I thought the Wolf-Men army was genius, the relationships are all so realistic and refreshing, and Queen Lavana – even with little page space is truly, truly evil.

I wanted more Kai action, but this wasn’t his story so it made sense that he had a smaller role. I think we needed that distance between Kai and Cinder to further the plot. This book reminded me a lot of Graceling in that way. The protagonist’s relationship is not what’s important in the plot, they are their own people, working on their own agendas and without that it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling.

Meyer also continues to do an amazing job at using fairy tale elements and completely turning them on their head. Scarlet in her red hoodie, being taken in by Wolf makes you think of Little Red Riding Hood in a different light, just as cyborg Cinder does with Cinderella; it’s genius. A lot of people have tried to retell fairy tales, but I’ve read none as successful as this series.

And seriously, how awesome is Wolf!? Being a fan of his is not without its ups and downs in this book, but…I can’t help it…LOVE!

I am champing at the bit to get my hands on Cress. Scarlet ends on a ‘arrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh what’s going to happen now’ moment and I can’t wait to see what Cinder and Scarlet will do next! Will they stop the war? Will they save Kai from Levana? ARGH!

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Merissa Meyer
Details: Paperback, 452 pages
Published: February 7th 2013 by Puffin Books
My Rating: 5/5

Favourites Friday #17: The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly

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This one of my favourite books to read in the winter. It is a dark reimagining and fusion of various fairy tales and the whole thing is just a bit sinister yet magical! Plus how epic is that cover!?

There’s Wolf-men, trolls, slutty Red-riding Hood and evil Snow White, a girl in a jar, a great villian in The Crooked Man and a whole lot more.

Goodreads Synopsis:
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

What People Are Saying About The Book of Lost Things:

This was one of the best books i’ve read in a long while. every single page was amazing…the characters rich and full of life.

Beth Anne (Goodreads)

β€œThe Book Of Lost Things” can at times be extremely violent as Connolly seems to enjoy twisting and taking apart various fairy tales.

Brandon (Goodreads)

John Connolly, a Dubliner, is best known – celebrated, indeed – in America, where he sets his supernatural crime fiction. Evidently The Book of Lost Things represents a major departure for him, and Heaven forbid we should discourage ambition. His publisher claims it’s “a novel to transcend genre”: positive spin for what a less partial commentator might call uncertainty of address. Who is this book for? Generic boy hero, schematic adventure plot, heavy-handed explicatory narrative tone: all would try the patience of any reader no longer juvenile. Yet the material is as grim as Connolly’s customary horrific fare. The torture chambers, martial dismemberments and surgical miscegenations, the continual nervous drift towards themes of sexual corruption: all firmly indicate adults only.

Colin Greenland (The Guardian)