By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

Author: Marissa Meyer
Page Count: 454
Rating: A
Keywords: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Cyborgs, Little Red Riding Hood, Retelling, Wolves
Genre: Young Adult
Younger Readers: Some kissing, some violence. No sex or extreme language. Safe for the young adult crowd: teens and tweens.

I was reluctant to continue the Lunar Chronicles after finishing Cinder a couple of years ago. I found that first book slow and could not get into the story. It did not help that just as the story was picking up momentum and becoming interesting it ended on a cliffhanger. I remember sitting on a plane, closing the book and feeling horribly disappointed with my reading experience. Not a single character I related to or felt like rooting on. Fast forward a couple of years and I decided to pick up the second book…admittedly because I thought the cover was pretty and people kept declaring that I just absolutely had to. 

This book completely redeemed the series for me and I devoured it within hours of starting, sneaking in reading breaks whenever I could. I am slightly ashamed of the bent corners and the occasional scrunched pages my copy endured from its day and a half living in my purse, but I most certainly do not regret carrying it to work, restaurants, stores, family events, parties, etc. This was an action packed book with fascinating characters that had me obsessed early on. 

I absolutely adore the character Wolf. First, he is sort of the stereotypical bad boy that every series needs. Except he’s not really a bad boy. A rebel, yes. Bad guy, nah. His backstory is interesting. It develops him as a complex character as well as building the lore of the Lunar Chronicles. 

Scarlet herself was much more likeable to me than Cinder. She could certainly be stubborn at times but her fiery personality was enduring. She is a strong character. Persistence and loyalty make up the bulk of her personality and drive many of her decisions. 

Sometimes novels for younger audiences are accused of not being “messy” enough by older readers. If you’ve spent much time in the YA section you know this is just plain false. Not every book is full of sparkles and rainbows. Hunger Games is one prime example of devastation in the Young Adult section of your local bookstore. While the stories are completely different, I loved that this book did not shy away from sorrow and questioning morality. 

Pacing for this installment was also spot on. There was a good mix of creepy and action that kept the story moving on at a quick pace. I did not have to force myself to read long passages where I was numbingly bored as I did in the first book. 

I cannot wait to continue on with this series. If you were apprehensive after finishing Cinder I would recommend at least giving this installment a try before completely giving up on the series. I loved it and can already hint that the third book was great as well. That review will be posted soon.

The Silkworm

Author: J. K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith
Page Count: 455
Rating: B
Keywords: London, Writers, Murder, Sadism
Genre: Mystery
Younger Readers: This is not Harry Potter. Sex, murder, drugs, alcohol, and other inappropriate content is pervasive. 

I will fully admit to being obsessed with The Cuckoo’s Calling a few years ago. That was an amazing start to a new series and restored my faith in J. K. Rowling’s ability to write engaging fiction for adults. I had previously attempted to read her novel A Casual Vacancy. That attempt was several years ago and my bookmark is still sitting at the halfway point.

When I picked up this sequel I had high hopes and this may have been why I did not rate The Silkworm as highly as its predecessor. The mystery was twisted and creepy, a trait that I adore in my mysteries. Cormoran kept the story alive and continued to fill his role well. The real change for my reading experience was his assistant, Robin. Not only does she feel more present throughout, but her growing interactions and relationship with Strike added interest to the story and quickly made her my new favorite character.

For what I did not like, this mystery was just so drawn out. I was engaged and desperately wanted to know who the murderer was and how it had even occurred that I sped through the chapters. However, I began to notice that there certainly were not enough pages left to wrap it up satisfyingly. And sure enough the ending left something to be desired. All questions were answered too quickly. It was just plopped in front of the reader, wrapped in a pretty bow. I wanted more investigation, more of a slow reveal. This was my main complaint.

If you have read The Cuckoo’s Calling and enjoyed it, then by all means pick up this sequel. It is satisfying enough and great fun to read that it is unlikely you’ll regret the journey. If you have not read The Cuckoo’s Calling get to reading! It is truly an amazing mystery series and fully illustrates Rowling’s world building capabilities and skill with character development.

Check back next Monday for my review of Career of Evil, book three in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series. Hint: it was amazing.