Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Publication Date: February 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 452 (ARC)
Source: Gifted from Bekka
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
It's so hard for me to sit here and write a coherent review because I am just so...blown away! This series is becoming intoxicatingly intense and complicated and it was impossible for me to put this sequel down. While nothing can ever beat CINDER's pure perfection, this was an amazingly solid sequel that easily garners a five star rating and a special place among my all-time favorites.
Meyer's unique and captivating writing style allowed for us to simultaneously track Scarlet and Cinder's story and watch how their worlds slowly collide to bring two very different yet respectable and strong heroines together to create a kick-ass fairytale retelling. Who knew that Little Red Riding Hood could team up with Cinderella and completely blow our minds? Clearly, the plot in this one gripped me easily and I very much enjoyed the pacing, though the beginning of the story was slightly slow. This story picks up exactly where CINDER left off, so it is a welcome beginning, but a slow one that requires a lot of explanation since this story is primarily Scarlet's and we need to get to know her and her world.
The characterization in this one is what made the story. Scarlet's characterization was strong. She loved her grandmother more than life itself. She was driven, focused, and didn't really care what others thought about her. In all honesty, I think we need more heroines like her in young adult literature. Alongside Scarlet, we were introduced to Wolf. And, boy, what a big bad wolf he is. I loved him and feared him all at once. This handsome and intense stranger with feral instincts was so shy and child-like, easily bewildered by even the simplest things (like tomatoes! how cute even though I can't stand to eat tomatoes!). Wolf is a complicated character and I experienced tumultuous emotions while watching his story progress. Love, rage, disappointment, redemption, happiness. You name it, he made me experience it. He's an easy love interest to get attached to despite his flaws and he definitely made this story a little bit more delicious. Lastly, there is Captain Thorne. Our last new character, he provided a lot of comic relief. I found him to be incredibly enjoyable and he did have me giggling during intense battle scenes. Thorne is a convict because he stole an American spaceship. Handsome, sarcastic, and arrogant, he's truly entertaining. Sticking to the fairytale theme, I'd describe him as Prince Charming with a hefty dosing of arrogance and sarcasm mixed in with a dollop of genuine hilarity and a sprinkle of logical thinking when it is most desperately needed. Yeah, that's Thorne in a nutshell. And, of course, Cinder's character development rivals that of the best and will forever be perfection.
Meyer easily brings us back into a world on the brink of war with an exhilarating tale full of discovery, triumph, betrayal, and redemption. Among the best young adult series out there, this is a must read for anyone and everyone as Meyer exudes her literary genius once more and takes us on a heart-pounding journey that will leave you breathless even days after you turn the very last page.