Cinder and Scarlet are books one and two of The Lunar Chronicles, which is a part fantasy, part science fiction, YA series. I hadn’t heard of this series at all until I started reading other book blogs, and the titles kept coming up and the series sounded good so I decided to try it, and I’m glad I read the first two books.
Cinder is book one of the series, and it is a fun read. The character of Cinder is based on the fairy tale Cinderella, and Cinder is a marvelous character. Set in New Beijing, sometime in a future where androids, cyborgs and magical people called Lunar exist, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who meets the handsome Prince Kai when he needs his android fixed. There is a terrible plague, letumosis, on planet Earth, and doctors are working to discover a cure. With the threat of letumosis, and also the threat of Queen Levana, the wicked ruler of the Lunars, (magical people who live on the moon), the people of Earth are scared and looking for leadership. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because the fun of Cinder is watching the plot unfold and discovering the fun ties to Cinderella and also meeting some wonderful characters, namely Cinder and her android, Iko.
Cinder is a great heroine – I really loved her character. She is tough, vulnerable, intelligent, capable, sarcastic, and kind. She is a character that I would love to be, which is a rare thing for me when reading. She is just so cool. I mean, she’s got a storage compartment in her leg for crying out loud! Her love interest, Prince Kai, is a nice guy who tries to do the responsible thing for his country. He’s kind of boring, but he’s very sweet and he really does mean well. One character that I just loved to hate was Queen Levana. She is just so evil, so wicked, I really hope she gets her downfall!!
This was a very quick read for me, as I literally could not put the book down. And it ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, so you’ll want to make sure that you have book two, Scarlet, ready to go when you finish.
As for Scarlet, it’s a good book also. Not as good as Cinder, but that may be because I didn’t really love Scarlet as a character as much as I loved the character of Cinder. Scarlet is based on Little Red Riding Hood. She runs a farm in France, and her grandmother disappears. Scarlet insists that she has been taken, and meets a mysterious guy, Wolf, who has wolf-like personality traits. Wolf and Scarlet look for Scarlet’s grandmother, who has mysterious ties to the missing Lunar Princess Selene, whom Queen Levana is hunting.
Scarlet is a pretty cool girl. She’s fearless, strong, determined, and loyal, but she does have a bit of a temper. I liked her, but I didn’t love her. Also, I didn’t totally buy Wolf’s story. He was oh-so-mysterious, but then he opened up to Scarlet very quickly, and I just didn’t buy that. But, by the end of the book, Wolf got more interesting, so I’m looking forward to where the series takes his story.
As for Cinder, she’s still around, and I wanted more of her in book two! I felt like the book came to life when she was in the picture, and was bogged down when it was just Scarlet and Wolf. Cinder is on the run, and she’s travelling with Captain Carswell Thorne, a cocky American. Thorne was obviously inspired by Han Solo, and Han Solo is one of my favorite characters EVER (seriously, I have a massive obsession with Harrison Ford). However, when Thorne first appears on the scene I found him extremely annoying and aggravating, he just felt fake to me and over-the-top in his cockiness, but as the story went along, he really grew on me!
I felt there were sections of Scarlet that were a little slow. Scenes between Scarlet and Wolf dragged on a bit too long, and whenever they appeared on the scene I just wanted to get back to Cinder and Thorne, or Kai’s plotline. But, the last 150 pages of the book are non-stop, I flew through them, and it was a strong finish, if a little bit gruesome. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book Cress, which is based on Rapunzel, and also Fairest, which goes into Queen Levana’s story, and then the last book of the series Winter, which was just released.
Bottom Line: Cinder and Scarlet are great fun. Cinder is an awesome main character that you will really root for.