A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Author: Marissa Meyer
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Fairy Tales, Robots, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: February 5, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 464
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.