Welcome to another week of Lunarthon! This week we’re wrapping up our readalong of Scarlet with chapters 32-47 and discussing gender role reversals in Meyer’s modern fairy tale.
There’s a lot of twists and turns in chapters 32-47 – Scarlet and Cinder’s paths finally collide in Paris, Queen Levana launches a global attack on Earth, and Cinder decides to face her responsibilities head-on. But my favourite plot development from these chapters is the conclusion of Kai’s storyline in Scarlet. With the fate of billions of people resting on his shoulders, Kai makes the difficult decision to accept Levana’s demands of a marriage alliance in exchange for peace – knowing full well that it will most likely end in his own death.
“I can’t stand here, safe in this palace, and not do anything. I can’t let her kill anyone else. Not with these monsters, not by withholding the letumosis antidote, not by… whatever she has planned next. We both know what she wants. We both know what will stop this.”
In accepting Levana’s demands, Kai becomes the ‘damsel in distress’ of Meyer’s futuristic fairy tale – an innocent, pure-of-heart royal who dutifully accepts a miserable fate for the good of his people, like a virginal princess allowing herself to be locked away in a tower or sacrificed to a dragon. Kai is forced into an unhappy marriage alliance by an older woman and made to wait passively for a hero who can conquer a series of obstacles and come to his rescue.
That hero, of course, is Cinder. And Cinder’s stubborn refusal to accept Kai’s noble sacrifice is what makes this role reversal so satisfying to read – not only are Meyer’s heroines not denied their agency in this retelling, unlike her princely counterpart who would rescue the princess only to have her become his prize, Cinder is determined to save Kai and grant him an active, equal role in her rebellion.
Cinder’s decision to rescue Kai comes with another important decision – in the final pages of Scarlet, Meyer’s heroine chooses to accept her identity as the lost princess of Luna, and take an active stand against Levana once and for all.
“I’m going to find Dr. Erland, and he’s going to teach me how to win against her. Then I’m going to track down the girl who programmed this chip, and she’s going to tell me everything she knows about Luna and its security and all the queen’s secrets.
“And then I’m going to stop hiding.”
That’s a wrap on Scarlet! Let us know your thoughts on the second book in the series, and come back next week for a special feature post – and the opportunity to win more Lunar Chronicles prizes!