Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2) (The Lunar Chronicles)
Book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles is the New Age retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story. Marissa Meyer's blends Little Red Riding Hood into the character of Scarlet Benoit, and then seamlessly blends it with the characters from her earlier book, Cinder. I won't spoil the connection here but loved the suspense that built up throughout the book as you struggle to try and guess which character is going to play which role as the story goes forward.
Scarlet starts off the story looking for her lost grandmother, much as in the original telling, but then replace the path through the woods with a high speed train, some forgotten memories of her Grandmere from her youth, everyone wondering who Princess Selene is, and a questionable relationship with a boy that you just met, and you got most of her wonderful character development in the book.
You also get introduced to the Wolf early in the story. While you can see him easily as the reformed villain from the original tales, I found myself blending a bit of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast into the character as well, but that probably wasn't the intent of the author.
The plotting of the story is told at a break neck pace and picks up right from the last lines of the previous books. The world building was already somewhat in place from the previous book, and your conceptions of the original tales carry over to the way I picture the settings in these. The author manages to keep the romance levels blended with the suspense and action to keep all readers involved no matter what type of book you are looking for.
Recommended reading for all Once Upon a Time fans, children that aren't afraid to get lost in the woods, and anyone that starts to experience unexpected hair growth and the desire to howl at the moon.
I liked CINDER better, despite Red Riding Hood being my favorite fairytale ever. This is darker than the first installment, and less funny, but still quite good. Despite a zillion dropped clues I did not figure out that Wolf was lunar until the reveal, so that one actually surprised me. (I blame Baby Brain, which is a real thing and something I plan to trot out for the rest of my life, now). Looking forward to the next.
Scarlet is much darker than Cinder, and subsequently, a teensy bit less enjoyable for me. Where Cinder was a Cinderella retelling, Scarlet is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, with a lot of the attendant creepy dark undertones of the original fairy tale seeping through.
Still, I think Meyer does an excellent job creating distinct heroines and I liked that Scarlet has a temper. I also appreciate that Meyer didn't abandon Cinder/The Lost Lunar Heir storyline in this book either. There's a lot of skill at work here: different POVs, different characters, different setting, different character dynamics, etc. and it all feeds into a greater storyline about Princess Selene.
Plus, we get introduced to Captain Thorne. HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, HAN SOLO. <3