Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer ***** – 4 stars/Savannah Book Festival Roundup
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: February 5th 201
Blurb: Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
This week I sat down with my husband to record some audio comments about this book. As usual we have tried to avoid giving away spoilers about this story!
To download right-click on the following link and save as: PMR015 Scarlet
This weekend my husband and I attended the sixth annual Savannah Book Festival. We had a good time and I managed to attend some interesting panels and meet some cool authors. Here are some of my thoughts about the weekend!
We began our day by attending a presentation by new author Karen Thompson Walker in which she talked about her novel ‘The Age of Miracles’. Somehow this book had never quite made it onto my radar before the festival but I was interested in its science fiction concept and thought it sounded interesting.
This author was a very good speaker and really described well the development of her idea and the process she went through in order to get published. The idea for her story came when she read about a Tsunami that occurred in the pacific that was so powerful that it caused a very slight change in the rotation of the earth, altering the length of our days by a very small but measurable amount. She began to wonder how our lives might be affected if the change in rotation was much more significant, telling the story of a young girl experiencing personal tragedies of life and love against the backdrop of this global catastrophe.
I really liked the sound of this book and ended up picking up a copy and I am planning to read it in the near future!
Then we made our way across the road to another museum where R. A. Shapiro was speaking about her novel, The Art Forger. Her novel tells the story of a struggling artist who receives a very tempting offer from a gallery owner to forge a famous stolen work of art for him in exchange for a lot of money and a one woman show in his gallery. As she studies the painting however she begins to suspect that it may not be an authentic work itself.
The author talked a lot about the various pieces of research she did to create her novel and how really it was the culmination of twenty five years of work. Her message to the audience was not to write what you know but to write about what you want to learn about. She said she had been fascinated to learn more about the way forgeries were created and the various stories of how forgers managed to get away with faking great works and, even more interestingly, how they were caught. She discussed how according to some expert estimates around 40% of all the work sold each year are forgeries and talked about some of the processes forgers use to try to evade detection.
I thought her advice about writing about things you want to learn about was clever and I definitely plan on following it if I ever get around to writing my own novel!
We took a look at the next set of panels but none of them caught our eyes so instead we decided to revisit a coffee shop we went to when we honeymooned in the city and walk around until the afternoon panels began. In addition to getting some yummy sandwiches and coffee, we went to Leopold’s which is a fun, old-fashioned ice cream place filled with movie memorabilia and noticed that they had named their ice cream flavors in honor of the various authors attending the festival. Naturally I had the Marissa Meyer-inspired Scarlet flavor which was a red colored sorbet and it was yummy!
Our plans were temporarily derailed in the afternoon when we discovered that Mark Frost had to cancel his session so we decided to check out a presentation by a local author who had written a murder mystery novel, ‘The Shadow Man’. While I don’t think his book ultimately sounds like my sort of read I have to say he was very engaging to listen to and told us a series of very funny stories. He also talked about his journey from physician to author and shared some reflections on the events that caused him to give up writing and then to take them up again later.
That presentation led into the final one we attended, given by the author of Cinder and Scarlet – Marissa Meyer! I have to say that she was wonderful and that it was easily one of the most enjoyable author presentations that I have ever been to.
She was incredibly fun and spoke with lots of passion and energy. She talked about how she had been a Sailor Moon fan began writing fan-fiction based on the show. She then talked about how the idea for Cinder was the result of a writing contest she took part in held on a Sailor Moon fan-fiction website where she had to pick two categories from a list of story elements and combine them to create her own story. She picked science fiction and fairy tales, crafting a futuristic tale based on Puss in Boots. She didn’t win the contest unfortunately but she really liked the idea and began reworking it.
She grew up in a family of ‘nerds’ who all loved Star Wars and Star Trek and the reason she wrote Cinder was to enter it into a contest to get a walk on role in Star Trek. Though she unfortunately didn’t win the big prize that process led to her writing first drafts of Cinder, Scarlet and the first half of Cress. Eventually, after reworking them several times, she submitted Cinder to an agent and very shortly afterward the book was published (the first offer was made two years to the day after she began writing that first draft).
She also mentioned that Cinder is a four part series each based on a different fairy tale, the first being Cinder-Cinderella, Scarlet-Little Red Riding Hood, Cress- Rapunzel and Winter- Snow White. She says she has another series planned – a one-off paranormal thriller, but she can’t give out details yet! She also told the original versions of Cinderella and Scarlet, did a wonderful job retelling them! I went and got my book signed and she was really friendly, telling me her favorite Sailor Moon character was Sailor Jupiter!
Of course the trip was far too short – just one day and then home – but it was nice to get away for even a short time and we enjoyed revisiting the city again. It was a great setting for a book festival and we’re already talking about where we’ll go next!