But it’s one you won’t forget.
Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .
Scarlet is a fast, action-packed take on Little Red Riding Hood, and the follow-up to Cinder (which I reviewed here). The book takes place directly after the events of Cinder, focusing on teenager Scarlet Benoit, who lives and works on a small farm in France with her grandmother. Scarlet is desperate to figure out why her grandmother has gone missing, and what secrets she's been hiding from her granddaughter. Parallel to Scarlet's story, we also get to see what Cinder is up to, on the run with fellow fugitive Thorne.
The world-building was solid, and I like how Meyer manages to get across the pertinent facts about the state of the world without resorting to info-dumping. Cinder and Scarlet cross paths in a way I never would have imagined, and I thought the stories were brought together well. I preferred Scarlet's side of the story - the chapters are roughly divided between the two characters until they meet - mostly because I was intrigued by her grandmother's past, and Scarlet was a stubborn but likable protagonist. I also wasn't bowled over by Thorne's character - mostly he just annoyed me a little bit - and seeing as he was a big part of the Cinder chapters, that put me off slightly. I did like Wolf a lot, particularly in the beginning, although there is a bizarre conversation between Wolf and Scarlet near the end that I probably didn't react to like I was supposed to.
Scarlet is pretty non-stop, and there is enough adventure to ward off second-book-syndrome, even though the over-arching plot does follow on from Cinder. I liked how parts of the original fairytale were worked in (particularly the scene in the theatre, which was genuinely unsettling!). The brief glimpses of Kai in this book also suggest a bigger, scarier prospect just around the corner. This series has been a lukewarm one for me - good in places, with the potential to be gripping, but something falls a little short for me, and I find that I'm not quite fully engaged with the characters and the writing. However, the set up for book three might pull me back in - if only because I'm hoping there's another solution to Kai's dilemma...
Overall rating: 6/10
Book source: Borrowed from the library.
Scarlet was part of July's #CatchUpClub.