Here be Dragons

Synopsis

When young Scarlet Benoit gets a message informing her that the police officially closed the investigation concerning her missing grandmother she is really angry. She decides to take the matters into her hands and go find the elderly lady on her own. While looking for possible clues she meets a young street fighter, Wolf whose hand is adorned by a strange numeric tattoo. Soon enough it becomes obvious that Wolf may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts. Scarlet is loath to trust a complete stranger but he is the only one who knows something and is willing to help. They travel to Paris by train and during that journey Scarlet finds herselfs inexplicably drawn to Wolf, and he to her (translation: after a very short period of teenage awkwardness they make out like mad bunnies).

Meanwhile Cinder (her full story was told in the first part) has broken out of the space prison, helped by one Carswell Thorne – a thief, a womanizer, a liar and a swaggering buffoon (all things considered, your average human male specimen ;p). His only advantage seems to be a stolen ship, currently under his ‘command’ – it is the only way of space transport available if you want to return to Earth. Cinder of course returns just to get mixed into the mayhem created by our lovely Lunar Queen Levana who wants to marry the young emperor Kai and rule the Moon and the Earth. Cinder’s path crosses with that of Scarlet whose grand-mere was far more important than anybody would have imagined and played a role in rescuing little Lunar princess Selena. So Cinder herself. Will they be able to avoid capture?

What I liked:

Firstly and foremostly I liked the fact that the author tried to combine Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood into one cohesive story. The narration was well-paced and I managed to finish the novel in two evenings – it was a fun ride although with three different POVs which only at the end merged into one.

From the two main heroines I liked Cinder better; maybe because I got to like her in the first installment so much, maybe because Scarlet was given simply too little narration time, as she had to share her story with Cinder whereas our cyborg girl had a whole book at her disposal.

Finally I liked the fact that this part was mostly set in the old good Europe. Not that I didn’t like New Bejing but the change of scenery is good from time to time.

What I didn’t like: 

 
The more I read the more I heard ‘Star Wars’ music theme in my head because, in my opinion, the whole tale stopped sounding like a variation of the Little Red Riding Hood very soon and started copying one of those space operas. Copying HARD, like at every turn. Such a premise can be hardly called original, can’t it? Cinder is a Lunar princess in exile (Leia anyone?) whose mental ‘powers’ equal those of the Jedi knights; she is helped by Carswell who not only owns a ship but also thinks he is the God’s gift to womankind in a leather jacket (Han Solo?) and an mouthy android Iko ( a female equivalent of C-3PO if I remember the name right). The evil, power-crazy Queen Levana with her band of sadistic thaumaturgs would make Darth Vader and other lords Siths clap and cheer. As you see it was definitely worse than while reading Cinder.

Not to mention the insta-love between Scarlet and Wolf/Ze’ev which, due to its incredible speed, was able to give me a bout of gut-turning sea sickness – they meet, they kiss and, after just one day, boys and girls, they cannot live without each other even if he is a kind of a beast (Chewbacca?) and she is…well, a girl with a mission. And he lied to her. Repeatedly. From the very beginning. Apologizing every now and then. Yeah…animal magnetism I suppose?

Final verdict:

Not the worst YA sci-fi book I’ve ever read but I liked the first part, Cinder better.Still I think I will continue this series out of sheer curiosity. You see, Rapunzel will join us in the third book, Cress, and being a huge fan of this lady of long, fabulous hair, I will not rest until it is in my greedy, hands. I also hope there will be no more such abusive relationships as that of Scarlet and her Wolf.

Books In Series
Cinder
Scarlett

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