Eighteen-year-old Scarlet was happy with her quiet life as an outsider, working on her beloved grandmother’s farm and ignoring the whispers about her eccentricities. But when her grandmother is kidnapped and the police refuse to believe she was taken by force, Scarlet sets out to find her with the help of a handsome stranger called Wolf.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old cyborg Cinder—still reeling from the news that she’s actually Princess Selene, Lunar Queen Levana’s own niece—manages to escape from her prison cell and certain death at the hands of the Queen. Cinder begins to develop her newfound power of mind control while coming to terms with her new identity, and her conflicting feelings about the morality of using her powers of manipulation are well portrayed.

Marissa Meyer has created a rich, unique, yet accessible fantasy world. While the technology of half-machine girls plants the story firmly outside the reader’s reality, the constant presence of portscreens and “comms” seems no different from the ubiquity of present-day smartphones and texts.

Scarlet doesn’t try to recreate the fairy tales it borrows from, but instead takes their most interesting characters and gives them new purposes that expose emotions never revealed in the original tales.

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Read our interview with Marissa Meyer for Scarlet.

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