Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

April 19, 2020

“A captain always knows where his ship is. It's like a psychic bond.”
“If only we had a captain here.”


-- About the Book --
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. 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.

Find Scarlet here:
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-- My Ramblings --
I have no problem being Wolf's alpha female! I'd like to say that this story picked up right where Cinder left off (and it did), but the author did readers a favor by giving brief recaps during each character perspective. Thankfully, the world building wasn't disruptive and I found it quite easy to imagine the picturesque town of Rieux, which is where we meet Scarlet and Wolf.


Scarlet's grandmother is missing and there are no clues as to where she's gone. The police have closed the case, assuming she's either killed herself or wandered off, soon to come home again. Scarlet knows better because not only wouldn't her grandmother leave without a word, but she left her ID chip behind. When her distant father shows up, a convoluted and scary story starts to unfold.

 Scarlet

🌙 Brave and headstrong, Scarlet was willing to do any and everything to save her grandmother. If that meant partnering with a complete stranger to solve the mystery of her grandmother's disappearance, especially when said stranger is a mystery himself, then that's what she had to do.

Wolf

🌙 Through the author's words: "... brutal and protective, but also shy and awkward." This man was obviously much more than he seemed. Characterized as a brawler, a street fighter, it was immediately evident to me how his life and Scarlet's journey to the truth were meshed. The more I discovered about Wolf, the more fond of him I became and I can only imagine my affection for him growing stronger the more I read.

"I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you."

Cinder

🌙 The Lunar princess was struggling with her identity for the whole book. She was basically hiding while the whole world had to deal with the impending doom that was Queen Levana. Unfortunately, she didn't strike me as a heroine and I quickly grew tired of her selfishness.

The ghost of her child self lingered in the air here, a victim struggling to stay alive. How many people had helped rescue and protect her, had kept her secrets? How many had risked their lives because they believed hers was worth more? Because they believed she could grow into someone powerful enough to stop Levana. - Cinder

Thorne

🌙 Easily one of my favorite characters. If Wolf is my alpha baby, Thorne is my flirtatious best friend. He has such a carefree and easy attitude and such a good heart that it's impossible to resist his charm. He's been roped into helping Cinder without knowing all of the facts, but his loyalty is given without question. I can't wait to learn more about this guy!

The confession settled on the tip of her tongue. Maybe he should know. If she was going to be stuck with him, he deserved to know who he was traveling with. The true danger she'd put him in. - Cinder

This statement only aggravates me more. Cinder needed a strong foot at her throat. A massive fist would work too. First of all, how dare she use the word 'stuck'? If I had the option of who to be 'stuck' with, I'd choose Thorne over her in a heartbeat. Second, she's a lousy person who lacks honor. From the moment he signed on to help her, giving her his all, she should have stepped up. Continuing to treat him like her personal peon was unwarranted and only shone a glaring light on her many flaws. Is it obvious that Cinder is my least favorite person right now?

Kai

🌙 Poor, poor Emperor Kai. He was truly stuck between a rock and a hard place at every turn. Cinder was a fugitive and while her capture would be good for the Commonwealth and for the delicate peace Earth had with the Lunars, he enjoyed the idea of her being free. Then when Earth is threatened with a brutal show of force, he's forced to make a decision that could guarantee the end of his life as he knows it. My sympathies, poor Emperor.

Please note that I have absolutely no artistic talent. All character fan art comes from the internet and the actual artist is Laura Hollingsworth. Her work is perfetto! I'm hooked on this series. The characters (especially Wolf), the many moving parts, the unfolding bigger picture, the hidden motives and means, the grandeur of the world created here have made for such an amazingly fun read! I'm off to get started on Cress!



At the end of my hardcover copy of Scarlet, I found a mini-book called The Queen's Army. If I wasn't already a Wolf groupie, I would be now. Can you imagine being taken from your home, from the only life you've ever known, and taken to a facility to be experimented on? All of this just to be a super soldier for the Lunar Queen? And you're only 12 years old??? No one's on your side, there is no more comfort, you've got to harden yourself just to survive. My heart broke all over the place for Wolf and this information only proves why he's such an amazing character and absolutely deserving of my affection!

Other book(s) in the series:


-- Excerpt --
SCARLET (Chapter 1)
SCARLET WAS DESCENDING TOWARD THE ALLEY BEHIND THE Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Ma demoi selle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons."

Heart jumping, she swerved just in time to keep the ship's starboard side from skidding against the stone wall, and threw down the brakes before reaching a complete stop. Scarlet killed the engine, already grabbing for the discarded portscreen. Its pale blue light glinted off the cockpit's controls.

They'd found something.

The Toulouse police must have found something.

"Accept!" she yelled, practically choking the port in her fingers.

She expected a vidlink from the detective assigned to her grandmother's case, but all she got was a stream of unembellished text.

28 AUG 126 T.E.

RE: CASE ID #AIG00155819, FILED ON 11 AUG 126126 T.E.

THIS COMMUNICATION IS TO INFORM SCARLET BENOIT OF RIEUX, FRANCE, EF, THAT AS OF 15:42 ON 28 AUG 126 THE CASE OF MISSING PERSON(S) MICHELLE BENOIT OF RIEUX, FRANCE, EF, HAS BEEN DISMISSED DUE TO LACK OF SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OF VIOLENCE OR NONSPECIFIC FOUL PLAY. CONJECTURE: PERSON(S) LEFT OF OWN FREE WILL AND/OR SUICIDE.

CASE CLOSED.

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE OF OUR DETECTIVE SERVICES.

The comm was followed by a video ad from the police, reminding all delivery ship pi lots to be safe and wear their harnesses while engines were running.

Scarlet stared at the small screen until the words turned into a screaming blur of white and black and the ground seemed to drop out from beneath the ship. The plastic panel on the back of the screen crunched in her tightening grip.

"Idiots," she hissed to the empty ship.

The words CASE CLOSED laughed back up at her.

She released a guttural scream and slammed the port down on the ship's control panel, hoping to shatter it into pieces of plastic and metal and wire. After three solid whaps, the screen only flickered in mild irritation. "You idiots!" She threw the port at the floorboards in front of the passenger seat and slumped back, stringing her curly hair through her fingers.

Her harness cut into her chest, suddenly strangling, and she released the buckle and kicked open her door at the same time, half falling into the alley's shadows. The grease and whiskey scent from the tavern nearly choked her as she swallowed her breaths, trying to rationalize her way out of the anger.

She would go to the police station. It was too late to go now--tomorrow, then. First thing in the morning. She would be calm and logical and she would explain to them why their assumptions were wrong. She would make them reopen the case.

Scarlet swiped her wrist over the scanner beside the ship's hatch and yanked it up harder than the hydraulics wanted to let it go.

She would tell the detective that he had to keep searching. She would make him listen. She would make him understand that her grandma hadn't left of her own free will, and that she most certainly had not killed herself.

Half a dozen plastic crates filled with garden vegetables were crammed into the back of the ship, but Scarlet hardly saw them. She was miles away, in Toulouse, planning the conversation in her head. Calling on every last persuasion, every ounce of reasoning power she had.

Something had happened to her grandmother. Something was wrong and if the police didn't keep looking, Scarlet was going to take it to court and see that every one of their turnip-head detectives was disbarred and would never work again and--

She snatched a gleaming red tomato in each fist, spun on her heels, and pummeled the stone wall with them. The tomatoes splattered, juice and seeds spraying across the piles of garbage that were waiting to go into the compactor.

It felt good. Scarlet grabbed another, imagining the detective's doubt when she'd tried to explain to him that up and disappearing was not normal behavior for her grandma. She pictured the tomatoes bursting all over his smug little--

A door swung open just as a fourth tomato was obliterated. Scarlet froze, already reaching for another, as the tavern's owner draped himself against the door frame. Gilles's narrow face was glistening as he took in the slushy orange mess Scarlet had made on the side of his building.

"Those better not be my tomatoes."

She withdrew her hand from the bin and wiped it down on her dirt-stained jeans. She could feel heat emanating from her face, the erratic thumping of her pulse.

Gilles wiped the sweat off his almost-bald head and glared, his default expression. "Well?"

"They weren't yours," she muttered. Which was true--they were technically hers until he paid her for them.

He grunted. "Then I'll only dock three univs for having to clean off the mess. Now, if you're done with target practice, maybe you could deign to bring some of that in here. I've been serving wilted lettuce for two days."

He popped back into the restaurant, leaving the door open. The noise of dishes and laughter spilled out into the alley, bizarre in its normality.

Scarlet's world was crashing down around her and nobody noticed. Her grandmother was missing and nobody cared.

She turned back to the hatch and gripped the edges of the tomato crate, waiting for her heart to stop hammering behind her sternum. The words from the comm still bombarded her thoughts, but they were beginning to clear. The first wave of aggression was left to rot with the smashed tomatoes.

When she could take in a breath without her lungs convulsing, she stacked the crate on top of the russet potatoes and heaved them out of the ship.

The line cooks ignored Scarlet as she dodged their spitting skillets, making her way to the cool storage room. She shoved the bins onto the shelves that had been labeled in marker, scratched out, and labeled again a dozen times over the years.

"Bonjour, Scarling!"

Scarlet turned around, pulling her hair off her clammy neck.

Émilie was beaming in the doorway, eyes sparkling with a secret, but she pulled back when she saw Scarlet's expression. "What--"

"I don't want to talk about it." Slipping past the waitress, she headed back through the kitchen, but Émilie made a dismissive noise in the back of her throat and trotted after her.

"Then don't talk. I'm just glad you're here," she said, latching on to Scarlet's elbow as they ducked back into the alleyway. "Because he's back." Despite the angelic blonde curls that surrounded Émilie's face, her grin suggested very devilish thoughts.

Scarlet pulled away and grabbed a bin of parsnips and radishes, passing them to the waitress. She didn't respond, incapable of caring who he was and why it mattered that he was back. "That's great," she said, loading a basket with papery red onions.

"You don't remember, do you? Come now, Scar, the street fighter I was telling you about the other...oh, maybe that was Sophia."

"The street fighter?" Scarlet squeezed her eyes shut as a headache started to throb against her forehead. "Really, Ém?"

"Don't be like that. He's sweet! And he's been here almost every day this week and he keeps sitting in my section, which definitely means something, don't you think?" When Scarlet said nothing, the waitress set the bin down and fished a pack of gum from her apron pocket. "He's always really quiet, not like Roland and his crowd. I think he's shy...and lonely." She popped a stick into her mouth and offered another to Scarlet.

"A street fighter who seems shy?" Scarlet waved the gum away. "Are you listening to yourself?"

"You have to see him to understand. He has these eyes that just..." Émilie fanned her fingers against her brow, feigning heatstroke.

"Émilie!" Gilles appeared at the door again. "Stop flapping those lips and get in here. Table four wants you." He cast a glare at Scarlet, a silent warning that he'd be docking more univs from her fee if she didn't stop distracting his employees, then pulled back inside without waiting for a response. Émilie stuck her tongue out after him.

Settling the basket of onions against her hip, Scarlet shut the hatch and brushed past the waitress. "Is table four him?"

"No, he's at nine," Émilie grumbled, scooping up the load of root vegetables. As they passed back through the steamy kitchen, Émilie gasped. "Oh, I'm so daft! I've been meaning to comm and ask about your grand-mère all week. Have you heard anything new?"

Scarlet clenched her jaw, the words of the comm buzzing like hornets in her head. Case closed.

"Nothing new," she said, then let their conversation get lost in the chaos of the cooks screaming at each other across the line.

Émilie followed her as far as the storeroom and dropped off her load. Scarlet busied herself rearranging the baskets before the waitress could say something optimistic. Émilie attempted the requisite "Try not to worry, Scar. She'll be back" before backing away into the tavern.

Scarlet's jaw was starting to ache from gnashing her teeth. Everyone talked about her grandma's disappearance as if she were a stray cat who would meander back home when she got hungry. Don't worry. She'll be back.

But she'd been gone for over two weeks. Just disappeared without sending a comm, without a good-bye, without any warning. She'd even missed Scarlet's eighteenth birthday, though she'd bought the ingredients for Scarlet's favorite lemon cake the week before.

None of the farmhands had seen her go. None of the worker androids had recorded anything suspicious. Her portscreen had been left behind, though it offered no clues in its stored comms, calendar, or net history. Her leaving without it was suspicious enough. No one went anywhere without their ports.

But that wasn't the worst of it. Not the abandoned portscreen or the unmade cake.

Scarlet had also found her grandmother's ID chip.

Her ID chip. Wrapped in cheesecloth spotted red from her blood and left like a tiny package on the kitchen counter.

The detective said that's what people did when they ran away and didn't want to be found--they cut out their ID chips. He'd said it like he'd just solved the mystery, but Scarlet figured most kidnappers probably knew that trick too.

SCARLET Copyright © 2013 by Marissa Meyer.

-- About Marissa Meyer --
I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.

Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER was my first completed novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around, too.

I married my husband in 2011, two months before the release of Cinder, and we adopted our two beautiful twin daughters, Sloane and Delaney, in 2015. Reading lots and lots of bedtime stories is most definitely a new favorite pastime.

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