Novels written from multiple viewpoints are hard to pull off, but Marissa Meyer does it expertly well in Scarlet. The book is the sequel to last year’s Cinder and continues the Lunar Chronicles and the fairy tale retellings.
Cinder, a futuristic, dystopian version of Cinderella, followed the title character, a teen cyborg who learned she might be the key to curing the plague that devastated her country. But at the proverbial prince’s ball, Cinder was thrown in jail for treason and learned some pretty shocking secrets about her lineage.
In Scarlet, Cinder’s story continues, but alternates every few chapters with the story of Scarlet, a young French girl attempting to find her grandmother’s kidnappers. Instead, she finds a mysterious man named Wolf (can you guess which fairy tale this one was inspired by?) and a connection to Cinder, who may be the reason Scarlet’s grandmother was kidnapped.
The novel, which also occasionally switches to the prince’s point of view, pulls off the alternating narratives while being both entertaining and non-dizzying. Perhaps Meyer succeeded where others have failed by not switching viewpoints too fast. Several chapters in a row focus on Scarlet, then Cinder, until their stories finally intertwine. The girls are a lot alike as far as narrative voice, so it’s not too much of a shift. And the story, of course, is just as engaging as Cinder, bringing new life to old fairy tales while still intertwining several story threads of its own.
Hattiesburg residents: Pick up copies of Cinder and Scarlet at Books a Million at Turtle Creek Crossing. Cress, book 3 of The Lunar Chronicles, will be released next year.
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