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.
Scarlet begins with a young woman living in Rioux, France whose grandmother has gone missing. I’ll admit here that Scarlet is probably the book I like least in the whole series, though 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, 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.
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, irony of all ironies, I didn’t even notice that this was a part of the book until it was pointed out to me a few years after I’d read it. And naturally I got exceptionally angry at the mere notion and was immediately primed to deny, deny, deny…until I re-read it and realized that the book did, in fact, have a very glaring and substantial amount of insta-love. But Meyer managed this so well that I was perfectly willing to accept it.
By the end of the book, considering the psychology of people and the factors involved, it doesn’t even feel surprising to me.
Anyone who knows their fairytales obviously knows which one the second novel in The Lunar Chronicles is inspired by. Though there are a great many similarities to Little Red Riding Hood, the surface level ones are basically where it ends. For the most part, Scarlet is hard to predict. There are several things one can infer, of course, when comparing with what they know of Little Red, but the differences are definitely enough that you could make any number of predictions and not necessarily arrive at the conclusion. I found that aspect quite fun.
Our Wolf is a street fighter we meet early on and manages to quickly enmesh himself into the unfortunate situation Scarlet is facing with her grandmother’s disappearance. While the police have deemed it that Scarlet’s grandmother has left of her own accord or committed suicide, Scarlet remains certain that something awful has happened and soon sets out to find her. Meanwhile, we meet Cinder just where she left off in the last book—which I will omit to avoid spoilers—and the most amazing character of Carswell Thorne, perfect and flawed in all the right ways, is quickly introduced in a way that gives readers a wonderful insight into his personality.
And herein lies my reasoning for Scarlet being 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 due to a desperate need to read the ones in which Cinder and Thorne are featured. The book begins with Scarlet and even in the first time I read it, I impatiently awaited the moment I would find out what would happen in Cinder’s portion of the story. I’ve always felt that the Scarlet chapters took too long, which is unfortunate since the book is primarily dedicated to her journey.
Ultimately, I still deeply adore the book. I reckon it is much more of a personal moment for me that makes me feel that the Scarlet and Wolf chapters drag, since I’ve pushed this book onto my friends every chance I get and they, so far, haven’t ever seemed to have the same opinion as I did. And no matter how I feel about Scarlet, I have to say it is thoroughly impressive how Meyer melded Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood into the series, mixing them in a way more perfect than I ever could have imagined.