Welcome back to Lunarthon! This week, we’re starting book two of the series – Scarlet! In chapters 1-15, we’re introduced to a whole host of new settings, new ensemble characters, and brand new stakes for Cinder and her friends.
Scarlet starts with a bang, as we’re thrown back into Cinder’s world right in the middle of a daring prison break. We also meet the titular protagonist of book two of the Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet Benoit, a French pilot and farm girl with a temper as fiery as her hair:
Something had happened to her grandmother. Something was wrong and if the police didn’t keep looking, Scarlet was going to take it to court and see that every one of their turnip-head detectives was disbarred and would never work again and –
She snatched a gleaming red tomato in each fist, spun on her heels, and pummelled the stone wall with them.
Of all Meyer’s heroines, Scarlet is often overlooked by fans of The Lunar Chronicles. She’s not special like Cinder, she’s not royalty like Winter, and she’s not as sweet and endearing as Cress. But re-reading the first fifteen chapters of Scarlet made me fall in love with the feistiest, stubbornest member of Meyer’s ensemble all over again. As soon as Scarlet jumped onto a bar table to defend a girl she’d never met – and a cyborg Lunar at that – from a sexist and ignorant crowd, I was reminded of why Scarlet is such an invaluable part of Team Cinder. She might not have Lunar powers or hacking abilities, but she’s got a strong sense of justice and she’s fiercely loyal to her friends.
“I try to think for myself once in a while rather than buy in to the ridiculous propaganda the media would have us believe. People are just so quick to accuse and criticize, but they don’t know what she’s been through or what led her to do the things she did. Do we even know for sure that she did anything?”
Scarlet isn’t the only new face we’re introduced to in these chapters – we also meet ‘Captain’ Carswell Thorne and mysterious newcomer Wolf as they join Meyer’s heroines. It’s worth noting that although Meyer introduces an American character with Thorne, he’s presented as an outsider; Thorne has a noticeably “heavy American accent” and unlike Cinder, he sticks out like a sore thumb in New Beijing.
Wolf is also an obvious outsider in Scarlet’s world of farming and deliveries. While Cinder and Thorne spend their first chapters escaping from New Beijing, Scarlet’s chapters take us to the latest non-American setting in the Lunar Chronicles series – France! Scarlet’s quiet farm in the small town of Rieux feels worlds away from the bustling, plague-infected city of New Beijing, but both settings are quickly left behind as Cinder hitches a ride on Thorne’s spaceship and Scarlet prepares to travel to Paris, in search of her grandmother.
What do you make of Scarlet, Wolf and Thorne? Sound off in the comments below – and don’t forget to read chapters 16-31 for next week’s Lunarthon!