Cinder has fled the Eastern Commonwealth into space. She’s supposed to meet Dr. Erland in Africa and talk about next steps regarding Princess Selene, but they need a new power cell for the ship and Cinder needs answers about her past. Answers that might be with the person who took her in when she escaped from Luna: Michelle Benoit.
But halfway around the world, Michelle Benoit is missing and her granddaughter, Scarlet, is desperately searching for her. The police keep telling Scarlet that her grand-mere is crazy and she’ll find her way home soon, but Scarlet knows something is wrong. She meets Wolf, a mysterious man with a strange tattoo and problematic allegiances, who seems to know more about Michelle’s disappearance than he’s sharing. And when Cinder and Scarlet meet, they must work to stay one step ahead of the Lunars out to kill them both.
I liked Scarlet better than Cinder, probably because I like Scarlet as a character better than I liked Cinder. She’s stronger; she’s got a lot of fire to her. A little Mary-Sue-ish, sure, but she’s angry and she’s ready to act. Cinder just wanted to run. I’m not usually a fan of changing characters between books, but Meyer did it so well. She tied the two storylines together really well. I’m looking forward to seeing how Cress will come into play in the next novel.
I also think the coupling in this novel worked better than in Cinder. In Cinder, Kai was uselessly flirting with Cinder and he invited her to the ball. But Cinder spent the whole book pretending to be someone different. She didn’t want him to know she was cyborg, she didn’t want him to know that Adri couldn’t afford nice things, she didn’t want him to know anything about her, really. Scarlet doesn’t have time for that. She’s on a mission and pretending to be someone she’s not would expend energy she just doesn’t have for that. Her determination gives her a genuineness we didn’t see from Cinder. Plus there was some actual romance involved.
It’s frustrating that Cinder chose not to travel to Africa to meet up with Dr. Erland. He’s obviously got answers to her questions, but she’s afraid that he wants to put her on the Lunar throne. Instead she goes looking for answers on her own and almost gets herself killed because of it. I get it, she’s never been autonomous; Adri was always in charge. Now she’s got some freedom and she’s not ready to throw that away. But there are people dying. For her. The least she can do is indulge Dr. Erland’s request that she see him.
Like I said about Cinder; this isn’t the greatest literary work I’ve ever read, but it’s entertaining and it’s fun. Once you pick it up, you’re not going to want to put it down.