Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

Fiery, fantastic Cinder sequel ups the action-violence.





What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Not applicable
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.

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.

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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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Marissa Meyer
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Fairy tales, Robots, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Feiwel and Friends
Publication date:February 5, 2013
Number of pages:464
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 18
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle, Nook

This review of Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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 to get an advanced readers edition from my friend who works at the book center in my town. I started the book two days after i got it, and finished it in two days. I was so into it, and i didn't want to put it down. Scarlet is so sweet, and Cinder is strong willed and nice. There is some violence and kissing in the book, but nothing that kids over the age of 11 can't handle. Some language, but not too strong. Scarlet is a positive role model because she never gives up and keeps fighting for what she loves and believes in. This has to be one of the best books i have ever read in my entire life, and I can't believe i have to wait a year for the next book to come out!!! Perfect book for depressed twihards who need a new book to obsess over. Anybody who likes YA novels with love this book. Love this with all my heart. Warning: you will cry when it is over, not because it is sad, but because you will never want it to end. :)
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byNarwhalLover13 January 18, 2015

Read this NOW

Just go and do it.. READ! Im so completely obsessed with this series and so I would love for you to get obsessed too!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old October 30, 2014

Where do I Start?

This book is amazing. Marissa Meyer did an amazing job writing the characters. I loved the couple, Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is fiesty, funny, and she is not afraid to speak her mind. Wolf is more quiet and mysterious, but the connection and chemistry between him and Scarlet is amazing.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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