Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. 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.
Why I liked it: Scarlet, Book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles, is a play on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. SEveral new characters are introduced. Cinder (the Cinderella of Book 1 of the series) makes her escape from prison with the help of Cadet "Captain" Throne.
There's also Scarlet, whose grandmother, a military pilot turned farmer, is missing. It is later revealed that she was kidnapped and is being interrogated for playing a part in hiding Princess Selene years ago. Scarlet's father, an alcoholic who abandoned her, make a brief appearance at the start of the novel. He returns to the farm after being tortured, but isn't sure what he is looking for. Then there is Wolf, who claims to be part of a "gang" that his older brother was also recruited into. Both were cut off from the rest of their family after joining. The "gang" turns out to be Queen Levena's beast army, packs of wolf-like men controlled by their leader. Throughout the novel, Scarlet and the reader are never sure if Wolf can be trusted.
By the end of the novel, Iko (Cinder's android sidekick from Book 1) is back in action, Cinder finally learns about the missing years of her life, between the accident and her adoption, and Wolf's love for his alpha female (Scarlet) trumps the power of his pack leader. Because Prince Kai has agreed to marry Queen Levena in one month's time as a way to stop the Lunar attacks on Earth, Cinder finally decides to stop running away, learn to use her powers, and fight Queen Levena.
Classroom application: This novel could be used as a mentor text for multiple, intersecting plot lines; Cinder and Throne's life as fugitives and Scarlet and Wolf's search for her grandmother are equally developed. The book could also be used to examine the literary concept of character foils as both Cinder and Throne and Scarlet and Wolf are contrasting characters.
For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:
Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.