YA Wednesday: Best of the Month in "Scarlet"
Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles are like Grimm's Fairy Tales meets Blade Runner--action-packed sci-fi/fantasy with romance and intrigue. Meyer's writing projects the stories beautifully on the big screen in your mind and begs for an actual movie version which would be amazing--who would you pick to play the bad-ass cyborg Cinderella?
In Scarlet, Book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder's story intersects with that of Scarlet Benoit and a streetfighter named Wolf. Freedom is just out of reach, one mystery leads to another, and Lunar Queen Levana still has her eye on the prince...what's a girl to do? There is no second book slump here--we think Scarlet is one of the best YA books of February.
While Blade Runner has it's own soundtrack, Marissa Meyer has one of her own, followed by a little Cinder/Scarlet trivia quiz.
The Scarlet Playlist by Marissa Meyer
Although I’m not a writer who typically listens to music while writing, I’ve been making inspirational playlists for years now. I love to listen to them in between writing times, particularly if I’m stuck in promo- or travel-mode and know I won’t be getting much writing done anytime soon. Choosing the right songs can keep me in the mood of the story, and sometimes a song will attach itself to a particular scene or moment of the work-in-progress and call to mind those same emotions every time I listen to it.
Here are some of the songs from my SCARLET playlist and why, in my mind, they fit the story.
Little Red Riding Hood,
I'd like to hold you if I could,
But you might think I'm a big, bad wolf, so I won't.
Is it predictable for a Little Red retelling? Definitely. Do I still sing it at the top of my lungs every time it comes up on the iPod? Oh yes. This song is just a little bit sweet, a little bit sexy, and a little bit kooky. It also happens to be about a Big Bad Wolf trying to convince Little Red that his intentions toward her are honorable. Sound familiar?
I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic's,
And his hair was perfect.
This song always puts me in a good mood when I hear it, which is one reason it exists on the playlist. But what I love about it for SCARLET specifically is that the song portrays these werewolves that are brutal, feral, and dangerous… and also ridiculously suave and well-dressed. Now there’s an intriguing notion…
(In my head, it’s become “Werewolves of Paris,” given that the book takes place in France.)
I must admit , I can’t explain
Any of these thoughts racing through my brain.
It’s true. Baby, I’m howlin’ for you.
You might be noticing a theme with these songs. Namely, howls. Because, you know… wolves? What I love about “Howlin’ for You” is that, as opposed to the Sam the Sham song in which the Big Bad Wolf knows he’s a goner, in this song the singer seems much more surprised by it. He’s unable to account for these peculiar new feelings, but he does seem to realize this girl is driving him mad. Pretty much sounds like Wolf in a nutshell.
I do it every time—you’re killin’ me now.
And I won't be denied by you,
The animal inside of you.
This song is so feisty and passionate and I always think of Scarlet when I hear it. When she figures out what she wants, she has no qualms going after it… even if she has to nudge someone’s primal instincts a little bit to get it. (Rawr.)
It's a new dawn,
It's a new day,
It's a new life for me…
And I'm feeling good.
Changing gears a little bit. Obviously, Scarlet and Wolf’s story is a huge part of this book, but Cinder has a big role in it, too. This is one of the songs that I would listen to when I was working through her plotline, because it has a lot to do with freedom, which is a big theme for Cinder. All she’s ever wanted was freedom and now she finally has it within her grasp… but it’s brought some pretty big decisions along with it.
Plus, I just really love Matt Bellamy’s voice.
Still to come,
The worst part and you know it.
There is a numbness
In your heart and it’s growing.
I love, love, love The Shins and will listen to this entire album on repeat when I get burned out on my writing playlists. Their music has a poetic quality that turns each song into a mini-movie in my head… even if I have no idea what half of the lyrics are saying.
“A Comet Appears,” specifically, always felt like the “soundtrack” song to the very last chapter of the book, in which Cinder has to make some of those tough decisions I mentioned above. Long before I had ANY idea what was going to happen in that chapter, I knew this song captured the feel I wanted it to have. For me, it carries this idea that times are bad—and they’re probably going to get worse—but at some point you have to take responsibility for what’s gone wrong in your life and do something about it.
So there are some top choices from my SCARLET playlist. Happy listening—and reading!
And now for a little Scarlet/Cinder trivia with Marissa Meyer:
Q: Cinder and Scarlet are meeting for dinner. Where (anywhere in the world) will they go and what will they order?
Okay, okay . . . Scarlet’s a small-town girl who’s madly in love with her grandmother’s farm in southern France, where she was raised. So, I can see her inviting Cinder over to her place and whipping up something fresh from the garden, maybe a vegetable soup or some croque-monsieur sandwiches, which I’ve learned is a classic French comfort food, kind of like grilled cheese sandwiches, but with ham and fancy-schmancy cheese. Yum!
Q: You’re going to a black-tie ball and can choose your date: Wolf or Thorne?
I’m going to go with Thorne because (spoiler alert!) you’ll get to see Wolf in black-tie wear later in the series. Think on that for a moment, Wolf fans! But so far, I haven’t found an excuse to get Thorne all dressed up in the books, so this excuse will work as good as any. Also, I think he’d be a very amusing date.
Q: Cinder is a mechanic, and Scarlet is a farmer. Which do you think you’d be better at?
Farming, especially if I could hire some handy android helpers to tend to the crops, while I sat back and enjoyed the fruits of their labors.
Q: Match the character to the reality show: Cinder, Scarlet, Kai, Levana, Wolf, Thorne.
Cinder – Say Yes to the Dress. The poor girl had to suffer through that stained, damp, and wrinkled thing at the ball, so she deserves a chance to really shine.
Scarlet – Intervention. She’d be the one staging the intervention, though, for a rather hopeless family member (I won’t say who). Scarlet would love the chance to give them a piece of her mind . . . in a loving way. Sort of.
Kai – Dancing with the Stars. He’s already a good dancer (there are just some skills that come with being a prince), and he’s a star, and . . . ah! How much would you love to see him do the tango? *melts*
Levana – The Real Housewives of . . . somewhere. I’ve never actually seen any of these shows, but from the commercials, it seems that there’s not a single likeable person on them. Therefore, Levana would fit right in.
Wolf – Survivor. He’s strong, resourceful, has crazy good reflexes and keen senses, and can hunt. You’d want him on your team.
Thorne – America’s Most Wanted. Yeah, he has something of a past.