Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer AND Little Red Riding Hood

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: February 2013
Pages: 464
Source: Purchased
For: Classic Double Challenge
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book 2

Summary for Scarlet:
*Spoilers are inevitable for Cinder*
Scarlet's grandmother has been missing for weeks and the police aren't helping much. Scarlet decides she's better off searching by herself and sets off, in the uneasy company of Wolf, a street fighter with more than a few secrets. Cinder is breaking her way out of prison and hopes to escape the wrath of the lunar queen. With the help of the quirky Captain Thorne, she goes in search of someone who might know more about herself than she does. When Cinder's and Scarlet's paths cross, they will discover a lot more secrets than either one knew before.

Things I Liked (about both):
I am not sure I can pinpoint one specific thing about this book and series that makes me love it so much.  Maybe it is the fantastic way the original fairy tales are incorporated into the story.  I read a few versions of Little Red Riding Hood (or Little Red Cap) and I just loved seeing how Meyer took such a short, sometimes annoyingly simplistic story and made it into something fabulous.  I kind of hate the original tale, because Red Riding Hood seems to just be so stupid and the moralizing is pretty annoying.  Perrault's version didn't have the mother telling Red Riding Hood to be careful and not stray from the path, but it also did not end with her being freed from the wolf.  She dies at the end.  In the belly of the wolf.  And then Perrault discusses the moral for young ladies to avoid wolves, even the ones that don't appear to be wolves.  The Grimm version does have the moralizing mother and Red Riding Hood is saved from the wolf by a woodcutter.  Either way, not one of my favorites.

I love how the details of the original fairy tale, the significant ones that everyone recognizes, make their way into the story.  We have the girl with her ubiquitous red hood(ie) and a journey to grandmother, the wolf (who may or may not be a bad guy), and even the fantastically iconic "what big teeth you have" scene.  It's absolutely perfect.  Not only does Meyer have these elements incorporated into her story, but the world she built is fascinating and deep and completely stands on its own.  Our favorite characters from the last book come back for more and I loved seeing both old and new interact.  I can't wait to see what happens to Cinder and Scarlet and all their friends next.

Things I Didn't Like (about both):
As I mentioned, Little Red Riding Hood is NOT a favorite fairy tale for me.  The moralizing, the stupidity of the main character, even the obnoxious fact that she has to be saved by some random woodcutter, just make me not like it.  Although, I did hear there are a few versions where she actually gets wise to the wolf and avoids death on her own smarts.  Still, I think the most familiar version of the story is the one where she's eaten and then hacked out of the belly of the wolf.  Bravo to Ms. Meyer for making a version of this story that not only I can stomach (and I LOVE Scarlet) but that I loved every minute of!  I really can't think of anything I didn't like about her book.  :)

Start with Cinder by Marissa Meyer
There are loads of other fairy tale retellings, though none quite like this series!

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->
there are a few brutal scenes near the end

Overall rating: *****

If anyone is looking for a nice pair for the Classic Double Challenge, these two stories went down real easy (at least the original fairy tale is short :)! (Also, check out my guest post from Marissa about writing fairy tale retellings!)

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Sounds like an interesting book :)

  2. Oh interesting that you don't like Little Red Riding Hood as a fairy tale! It's actually my favorite, though more in its original form, before the Grimms and Perrault changed it a bit.

  3. Hi, can i ask you something? You seem to know a lot about children books and illustrations. The thing is, I’m looking for children books with “scary” animal illustrations like the big bad wolf (or a fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Could be any other animal as well. I need it for my research. Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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