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Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Fiery, fantastic Cinder sequel ups the action-violence.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers can look at the original Little Red Riding Hood tale and see how this series plays with it, just like the first book did with Cinderella. They can also look at the series' future society and compare it with other science-fiction imaginings. The Uglies Quartet and the series starting with Matched are good places to start.

Positive Messages

Various kinds of loyalty and duty are tested: to the order of a pack, to one's country, to family, and to loved ones. The book also shows how wielding a great power over others can make some evil and some reluctant to use it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Now there's not one but two teen girls taking on the world (well, two worlds, Earth and Luna). Cinder and Scarlet are both extremely brave, strong characters. Scarlet complains that she doesn't think before she acts, but she's so set on saving her grandmother she's willing to be tortured and imprisoned in her place. Cinder is uncomfortable with her identity as a Lunar, a princess, and a cyborg -- and all the stigma and responsibility that go with it. Like every good heroine, she struggles with what she knows she's destined to be before accepting it.


A central character dies brutally after being imprisoned and tortured. Another is tortured and later killed, with talk of another committing suicide in an asylum. Characters that seem part wolf/part human ravage Earth and kill many, with a couple descriptions of them biting into necks and feasting like a wolf would with animal prey. Scarlet shoots at them with tranquilizer darts and carries a gun for protection. Two men beat each other bloody in an illegal fighting ring, and two of the wolf-like characters battle to the death. Wrists are opened up to dispose of implanted ID chips.


One steamy kiss and a few smaller ones. Brief mentions of "escort droids" and one in particular dragging a man behind her on a chain.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scarlet's father is a heavy drinker; she says that's a reason she lives with her grandmother. People drink in a bar and at an illegal fight.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi sequel to Cinder adds another tough teen girl character to the mix -- Scarlet -- as well as a bit more nail-biting action-violence. She and Cinder face their share of scary futuristic foes, especially characters that appear part wolf/part man,  who kill like a wolf would, biting necks. Characters close to Scarlet endure torture and even die. There are also some brutal fistfights, well described. All other mature content stays mild: a kiss and some drinking in bars, but not by the teen characters.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHippocampus April 19, 2015


I think this is a grey book, but violent, and it has some descriptions that might give kids, nightmares. If your kid is emanational unstable, DO NOT LET THEM RE... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 5, 2013

So Freaking AMAZING!!!

I was in love with Cinder when i first read it, and couldn't wait to get Scarlet, and i waited for a couple months for it to come out. I was lucky enough t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycait luvs bbc December 30, 2013

Scarlet doesn't dissapoint and reaches new heights

The second book to the Lunar chronicles is just as good as the first with Cinder finding out that she is the princess of Lunar that was supposedly dead, it brin... Continue reading

What's the story?

Scarlet's grandmother is missing and she'll do anything to find her -- even enlist the help of a fistfighting drifter named Wolf. He claims to have abandoned the gang that took her, but not before learning what big secrets Grandma is hiding, such as her ties to the Lunar Princess Selene. Meanwhile, Princess Selene -- Cinder -- has her own problems. Escaping prison and a death sentence are just two of them. Luckily, her fellow fugitive, the vain Captain Thorne, has his own stolen and untraceable space ship, and the Earth's orbit makes the perfect place to hide. But she can't hide forever. The mind-controlling Lunar Queen is furious about Cinder's escape and threatens now-Emperor Kai (Cinder's deserted prince at the ball) with an invasion by her own soldiers. Cinder must be found in three days or there'll be hell to pay.

Is it any good?

SCARLET is a rare sequel that improves upon the first. Especially with the introduction of characters Scarlet and Wolf and a whole new fairy tale to jauntily reference. Emperor Kai is stuck in the palace, harassed by the Lunar Queen, so the Cinder love story fizzles. Poor Kai ... and poor Cinder, stuck on a ship with a conceited "captain" -- though it's quite fun to watch Thorne and Cinder butt heads.

Scarlet and Wolf pick up the fairy-tale-romance angle nicely, and without a dull moment in their relationship. Author Marissa Meyer really ups the action this time, making Book 2 hard to put down, especially when Scarlet and Wolf get to Paris and all the "wolves" get restless. Readers will be very restless for the next in this four-part series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • How does this story pay homage to Little Red Riding Hood? While a character named Wolf and Scarlet's red hoodie are somewhat obvious, what more subtle details can you name?

  • How are the two strong girl characters in this story different? What makes them both heroines? Would you consider Kai, Wolf, or Thorne heroes? Why or why not?

  • What drew you to this series? Do you prefer book series over stand-alone books? Why?

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