Meyer returns with the second installment of the Lunar Chronicles for a futuristic spin on “Little Red Riding Hood.”
Feisty, red-hoodie–wearing Scarlet is beside herself; her beloved grand-mère has been missing from the family farm in the French countryside for two weeks. A mysterious, tattooed street fighter named Wolf may be able to help her—and he has these awesome green eyes. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Commonwealth, cyborg Cinder—who learned she was the long-lost Lunar princess, Selene, in the eponymous first book (2012)—escapes from jail with the roguish Thorne, a charming petty crook cast in the Han Solo mold. Cinder has a new, jacked-up cyborg hand and her Lunar powers of mental manipulation to help her in her quest to find…Scarlet’s grandmother, who may hold the key to her past. Meyer’s story ticks along smartly, showing no sign of second-volume sag. Both fairy-tale and romance elements are blended in to pleasing if predictable effect. Less successful from a plausibility standpoint is a bloody new Lunar plot to take over the world, though it does contribute to tension. Also troubling is Meyer’s tendency toward peculiar word usage that in a more stylistically distinguished work would seem fresh but here seems just, well, peculiar and may haul readers out of an otherwise effective story.
Readers who can ignore the flaws will find the book goes down easy, and they will be happy to wait in line for the third installment. (Science fiction/fairy tale. 12 & up)