I don’t know why I waited so long to pick up this sequel to the remarkable Cinder – The Lunar Chronicles #1. Having loved the first book and how it reinvented a beloved fairy tale in a different genre, I think I didn’t want to be disappointed if the next book didn’t live up to the promise of the first. Silly me.
Scarlet, The Lunar Chronicles #2, more than lives up to what were very high expectations as it continues the story of Cinder, the cyborg mechanic at the centre of a not only a love affair with Prince Kai but a burgeoning war between earth and the Lunars. It also introduces new characters which are loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood. But don’t let the source material fool you into thinking this is a walk in the woods. Like the original tale from which it harkens, “little” red-riding hood, the flame-haired and capable Scarlet, is anything but a victim, to wolves or any other kind of predator.
When Scarlet Benoit discovers her beloved grandmother is missing, she leaves no picnic basket unturned in an effort to find her. Along the way, she discovers that her nana isn’t quite the person she thought. On the contrary, what a big secret you have grandmamma, one that can affect the fate of the earth.
Befriending a street-fighter named Wolf (yes, the analogies are swift and fast, but don’t let them put you off, they are very cleverly done), Scarlet tries to track her grandmother’s whereabouts. Along the way, she meets Cinder and uncovers a connection between them that makes them two of the most wanted people on the planet. Trying desperately to stay one step ahead of those who seek to capture and kill them (looking at you Queen Levana), Scarlet and Cinder quickly learn who their friends and enemies are – sometimes they are one and the same.
Fast-paced, well written and characterised, this is a terrific re-imagining of fairytales casting them into a genre that lends itself in so many ways to exactly this treatment. You don’t have to be a fan of sci-fi, fantasy or fairy tales to enjoy this – it is just a great read.
Tightly plotted, it’s an easy yet fulfilling tale that makes you yearn for the next instalment. Despite my pile of reading books, I won’t leave the next book so long.