Scarlett (The Lunar Chronicles) (Marissa Meyer)

The Red Riding Hood sequel to Cinder by Marissa Meyer, where Cinderella is a cyborg and the Earthen states are at an impasse with the Moon. It’s actually really good, even if heteronormativity is still a thing in the distant future.

Scarlett Benoit’s grandmother has gone missing, and the police have closed the case. The only person who believes her and is willing to help is professional street fighter Wolf – not exactly the most trustworthy of young men. Together they set of for Paris to find and rescue her grandmother. All the while, Cinder is breaking free from the New Beijing prison, stealing a ship and searching for Margaret Benoit to discover more about who she really is.

If this were just a continuation of Cinder’s story, I’d have been bored. But, Cinder only appears every few chapters to show her progress in breaking out and getting to a ship ect, the main storyline is about Scarlett and Wolf and finding Grandma in France. I liked how a mention in Cinder becomes a whole plot point in the sequel, giving the overall plot of the Lunar Chronicles a tangent point. I like how each book has it’s main storyline, and then cuts back to the continuing storyline, rather than being a short story about how Cinder escapes prison.

I like the world of holograms and spaceships and cyborgs and international politics almost at war with the moon ahem Lunar colonies. It’s a great idea! I love how Wolf is a young guy with actually wolf-like characteristics because heck, why not? Cinderella is a cyborg after all. Scarlett has a short temper and a ratty red hoodie, and she grows vegetables on a farm in New France.

Warning for a standard heteronormativity rant – I don’t thing there has been a queer relationship of any kind, even background, in either part of the story so far. Also, lots of angsty teenage “my boyfriend wants to kill me” going on with both ladies. There must be gays in the future, so where are they hiding them? Are they all in hiding from the crazy Lunar queen? There are two more books in the series and also two stand alones, so there is more space for a more varied selection of relationship types.

One other issue I had with this is that it is a sequel, and even though the book doesn’t start with Cinder, it does require knowledge of what happened to her in Book 1. There is a bit of an explanation where everyone is watching her fall down the stairs and lose her leg, being revealed as a cyborg and a lunar on international telly, but beyond that, you’d have to piece together what had happened. If it has been a while since you read book 1 (cough me cough) then it may be harder to remember some of the things happening.

Overall, I liked how this was fairly stand-aloneish (within the main plot) and am curious about the third and fourth book in the series, introducing Rapunzel and Snow White by the look of the covers. I didn’t like how it relied quite a lot on re-reading Cinder, and no gays in sight. But, as far as re-tellings of Red Riding Hood go, it’s fairly cool – not nearly as awesome as CINDERELLA IS A CYBORG but I think everything would be a let down after that idea.

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