This is my 2nd time reading this – I’m marathoning the series to read the final one. Some people weren’t as enthusiastic about this book in the series. I don’t know why. I love Scarlet and Wolf! I also love how, unlike in other fairytale retellings, I don’t sit and wait for the story beats – I often only recognize them well after reading them. I think it’s because it’s just such a stretch for them to be retold as sci fi. I totally love it.
The new main girl character introduced is Scarlet. Yes, she has a red hoodie. Yes, she is a redhead. Her grandmother, former pilot for the European Union and current farmer, has mysteriously disappeared. Scarlet refuses to accept that her grandmother left on her own, just walking away from her granddaughter and farm. A mysterious young man shows up with…wait for it… wolf-like qualities, and might be able to help her. But she doesn’t know if she can trust him. I really liked Wolf a lot. Even when he tries to break my heart in two. I like him.
Then we have Cinder, trying to break out of prison with the new limbs that Dr. Erland has given her. She breaks into the cell of another inmate. Luckily for her, Carswell Thorne is not only a criminal mastermind (his words) but he has a ship! He also has an attitude and ego big enough for two ship’s captains, a wonderful mix of Han Solo and Mal from Firefly. He’s probably the highlight of the book, with a snappy comeback for everything. Two fugitives, even with a ship, are going to garner some attention. We get to see Cinder perfecting her Lunar abilities as they run from Lunars and try to track down their French connection… Despite what Dr. Erlund wanted (urging Cinder to find him in Africa) she wants to find the Benoit lead in France that the ‘droid Nainsi told her about. We learn more about Cinder’s background and how she got to Earth.
There is another branch on the plot. We’ve still got Kai struggling to keep the Lunar Queen Levana from invading. She’s using Cinder’s escape to throw a hizzy fit. I still feel like the tiny little moon having all this military might (especially when they have super mind powers) to be a bit of a stretch. I mean, the earth is a whole entire planet. How can a small moon have more materials/resources/etc. than a whole planet? And how did the Lunars get their super powers anyway? Those sorts of leaps in evolution usually take millions of years. It hasn’t been millions of years since humans colonized the moon. And isn’t it obvious there is something special about this girl? Cinder was so incredibly blind in the first book about the fact she was the Lunar Princess… Kai seems to have caught that disease. He continues to try and follow the Lunar Princess, as well as Cinder’s evasion from the military. He doesn’t know he’s looking at the same person. We also see a lot of crazy Lunar stuff – what the thaumaturges can do and their crazy tech abilities. (Which again, is incongruous for a people who loathe androids, recording devices and have super powers. I mean, history has shown us that man works hard to achieve master over their environment only until their lives are made easy and then stagnate. The excuse for Earth’s lack of military might is partially blamed on too many years of peace… so, you see the logic gap there.)
This installment is pretty much all action and still has good character development. So far, both books are great on a second read. I love the bit of romance woven through the story, lacking both angst and love triangles. I also like that though Cinder and Scarlet can take care of themselves, they are able to work in a team environment… even though you have to give props to anyone who can work with Carswell Thorne and not kill him. Or fall in love with him. Like I said, a mix of Han Solo and Mal.