I just think we shouldn’t judge her, or anyone, without trying to understand them first. That maybe we should get the full story before jumping to conclusions. Crazy notion, I know.

Of all the books in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles I’ll admit Scarlet is probably the book I like least in the whole series. Considering how in love I am with these books that’s really not saying much, especially since Scarlet is the book in which we first meet my all time favorite character in existence. And this is above all other characters that have ever been written (the love of my life, I say, whenever I’m in even a slightly dramatic mood). Any scene in which Carswell Thorne is present and I find myself swooning and giggling and grinning like a madwoman. But, that said, the others are better.

Who’s Afraid?

Scarlet begins with a young woman living in Rioux, France whose grandmother has gone missing. Anyone who knows their fairytales obviously knows which one this book is inspired by. Though a great many similarities to Little Red Riding Hood exist, it basically ends at the surface level. For the most part, Scarlet is difficult to predict.

Now, depending on how well you know Little Red Riding Hood, there are several things one can infer. However, the differences are enough that you could make any number of predictions and not necessarily arrive at the right conclusion. This is rather exciting as a result and ultimately makes the read rather fun.

The Big Bad Wolf

Scarlet’s Wolf is a street fighter. We meet him early on and he quickly manages to enmesh himself into the unfortunate disappearance of Scarlet’s grandmother. Police have closed the case, citing the disappearance as either a suicide or that she simply left on her own. Scarlet, however, remains certain something awful has happened and soon sets out to find her grandmother. Unwilling to leave her alone and with insider knowledge of kidnappers, Wolf decides to accompany her.

I’ve often vehemently hated stories that subscribe to the insta-love trope, finding them thoroughly unrealistic and annoying. In a strange turn of events, I didn’t mind it with Scarlet. In fact, I hadn’t noticed it was a part of the book until I read a review years later. Naturally, I was annoyed at the mere notion and immediately primed to deny, deny, deny… Then I reread Scarlet and realized that the book did, in fact, have a substantial amount of insta-love. But I’d argue that Meyer portrayed Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship so well that I’m perfectly willing to accept it.

Considering the psychology of people and the factors involved, it doesn’t even feel surprising to me. Emotions run high in times of stress. So, it’s really no wonder that Scarlet developed a strong emotional attachment to Wolf and he to her. Wolf been isolated from any form of affection for years. And Scarlet was working with the first person she’d ever met who didn’t dismiss her. And it’s not like Scarlet was ready to be with him forever, anyway.

Wolf…well, again, he’d been starved of love and kindness during literally all of his formative years. I can’t exactly fault him for his attachment.

Thornes

Meanwhile, we find Cinder just where she left off in the last book (omitting to avoid spoilers). It’s here we meet Carswell Thorne, perfect and flawed in all the right ways. He’s introduced quickly, in a manner that gives readers a wonderful insight into his personality. And herein lies the reason Scarlet is my least loved—though still deeply loved—of all the books in Meyer’s exemplary series; there simply wasn’t enough of Thorne.

Every time I read it, I find myself impatiently rushing through the Scarlet and Wolf chapters. The two central characters were time and again overshadowed by a desperate need to read more about Thorne. Unsurprisingly, the book begins with Scarlet and largely follows her throughout. Yet, even in the first time I read it, I impatiently awaited the moment I would find out what was happening with Cinder. It’s always just seemed that Scarlet’s chapters took too long or weren’t exciting enough. This is unfortunate since the book is primarily dedicated to her journey.

I still deeply adore the book. Though I always felt the Scarlet and Wolf chapters dragged, I know this isn’t a universal opinion. And no matter how I feel about Scarlet, it is thoroughly impressive how Meyer melded Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood into the series. I’ve often said that Meyer is a master at retellings. And this is largely because she mixes vastly different stories in a way more perfect than I ever could have imagined.

🦊🦊🦊🦊🦊

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