Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Little Red Riding Hood was a farmer who drove spaceships and the Wolf a hot lupine cross species? No, probably not, but if you want to know what happens when all that collides with a half cyborg alien Cinderella then trust me this book is for you. If you're more in to coming of age stories about self acceptance; or slow forbidden romances with an unrequited love on the side; or quest novels with wicked plot twists and fast action; or even espionage, kidnappings, and alleged assassination attempts, well, this book is still for you. I have no doubt that any and every reader can find a facet of this story to follow. I found most of the characters to be fascinating and their stories generally well rounded. The book begins with some ambiguities that caused me confusion because I was reading closely (such as: how is she driving a ship down a town road? And other seeming inconsistencies, until the far future setting becomes clear,) and had not been pulled in quite enough to suspend my disbelief, however that was all resolved before it became a problem. I saw many opportunities for creative writing assignments through out the text, in the undefined history of the world. By the end of the book I had managed to discern that the United Commonwealth is indeed the future North America though the novel's references to other areas but how the name came to change and how life on the moon was discovered is left unclear in vague mentions of war. So getting students to play the role of United Commonwealth historians could prompt great interpretations of what characteristics put or society in jeopardy, and how that would carry us into global warfare. I think this novel gives young readers cause to wonder about the world around them especially the advances in technology that may be available in their lifetimes! -- This is the link is for the book's publicity page, it even has a trailer for the novel! -- This link leads to a ted talk about cyborg anthropology and a fascinating modern interpretation of what it is to be a cyborg, bringing the possibilities of the book much close to home. This site provides a look at our current space technology. The drones, satellites, and shuttles we have are not quite as advanced as those imagined by Marissa Meyer but they are impressive and checking them out along side the text would give the book another in with students who are reluctant to read.


Heather Nelson said...

Thanks for your review of Scarlet. it sounds like the varied content of the plot would make it interesting to a broad array of readers. Due to some of the confusion you've alluded to, do you feel this text would be best taught as a whole class text or more for independent reading? Is there a specific grade level it might be most appropriate for given the complexity and parallels with North America? Thanks again for sharing, Heather

Laura Elizabeth said...

I would say that it would be best suited for 10th or 11th grade, so that way it could potentially be paired with some sort of current events course. I think that it would be better as individual reading because there are other dystopian texts that are just as relevant and more complex, and therefore better for whole class involvement. It would be great to offer it in a unit where everyone would read "A Brave New World" and then each student could choose one additional book to reinforce the dystopian genre.

Heather Nelson said...

Great idea regarding the Brave New World unit! Thanks, Laura!

marty edwards said...

This sounds like a weird fantasy-sci-fi mash up. Right up my alley. It actually sounds like a really fun read.