Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Review: The Lunar Chronicles, Part Two

by Marissa Meyer
454 pages
Fairy tale retold / science fiction
Yes, part of a series
8th grade and up
Reviewed by Daryl M.,
reference librarian

Scarlet Benoit lives with her grandmother on the family farm. She helps tend the crops, and makes deliveries to the local businesses in Rieux, France. Three weeks ago, her grandmother disappeared without a trace. The local authorities have closed the missing person’s investigation, claiming there is no evidence of foul play, but Scarlet knows better. She knows her grandmother would never leave their farm without telling her and, even if she had, she would have contacted Scarlet by now. Scarlet is determined to find her Grandmother, but little does she know that her search will involve the mysterious street fighter with whom her friend Emilie has been flirting for the past week, the crazy news reports about the Lunar cyborg who escaped from New Beijing’s high-security prison, and some secrets about her Grandmother’s past that she never knew.

In Scarlet, author Marissa Meyer has done to the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" what she did to "Cinderella" in Cinder: She takes a familiar story and re-interprets it as a science fiction adventure. While Meyer remains true to the basic elements, she has located them in a war-ravaged earth of the future. Cinder, the first book’s main character, is back, along with most of the others from the first book. In addition, Scarlet introduces some fascinating new characters who are sure to play important parts in the growing chronicles.

While Scarlet and Cinder have their basis in familiar fairy tales, many traditional storybook conventions are turned upside down. In these stories, “the prince” doesn’t always have the ability to overcome the obstacle placed before him, and none of the young women are “damsels in distress.” Indeed, the young women presented in Meyer’s books are well realized and likeable characters with recognizable flaws and, more importantly, incredible strength and determination. They are easily as compelling as Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games, or other recent female protagonists from YA fiction.

The next book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress, is scheduled for release in 2014. If you would like to look back and see Melissa's review of Cinder, it's here, and includes information about the author.

We also have Scarlet as an audio book!

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