As someone who basically devoured Cinder and loved every single second of it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Scarlet. I was expecting more of the same: awesome characters, nonstop action, and a pulse-pounding pace of events that kept me thoroughly engaged in the story. However, while I ultimately came away from Scarlet liking it quite a lot, I didn't love it as much as Cinder. There were a number of reasons for this, I think, but it got to the point where I started thinking of this as the read-along that wouldn't end, which wasn't what I (or Lauren) was really going for. While I wouldn't call Scarlet a disappointment, I do wish I weren't the black sheep; it seems like nearly everyone else loved this book more than the first!I think my biggest problem with Scarlet was that the focus wasn't simply on Cinder, but instead on a whole new cast of characters. I know, the title should have clued me in, but I had really grown to love Cinder, and really didn't like sharing her "screen time" with someone else. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy Scarlet - I liked her stubbornness, her love for her grandmother, and the way she refused to give up - but I wasn't drawn to her like I was to Cinder. This is probably because Scarlet's upbringing was quite a bit different from Cinder's, in that she mostly had a safe, stable home, and grew up with someone who loved her. The letumosis likewise wasn't a constant threat to Scarlet as it was to Cinder and those around her, which just gave the town of Rieux a much different feel than New Beijing. All in all, it just took me longer to warm up to her and really become invested in her story.There were also SO many different viewpoints in this book! We had Cinder, Scarlet, Kai, and even a chapter from Levana's point of view at the end. That made the book really busy, at least to me personally; just as I'd get interested in one storyline we'd switch to another. This gave the book a sort of jerky feel to it, as if the author were tugging the reader in more than one direction at a time. This is the biggest reason I was able to set it down for so long without any desire to get back to it; with so many loose plot threads, I ended up feeling ambivalent to pretty much everything (except Kai).Even though it took me most of the book to warm up to some of the new characters, I did ultimately come away from Scarlet liking everyone we'd met. Thorne was hilarious, and provided some much-needed comic relief, and I couldn't help but love Wolf, particularly his conversation with Scarlet at the end ("mushy stuff in the galley", aww ♥). I loved that Scarlet wasn't at all a damsel in distress, and also seemed to have unending faith in people, even when they didn't necessarily deserve it. I was also happy to see Iko back in a fabulous new form, and my heart broke time and time again for Kai, who is just really having a terrible time of it. I can't wait to see how Cinder's going to get him out of the mess he's in!While Scarlet wasn't a favorite like Cinder was, I did still very much enjoy the story. I love how Ms. Meyer has combined the two fairy tales, and can't wait to see how she's going to add Rapunzel into the mix. I do worry about adding even MORE characters, since that was my biggest complaint with this book, but am hopeful that - since I did eventually get used to it in Scarlet - it won't bother me as much the next time. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what will happen next in Cress!***To see more of my reviews, please visit me @ Read and Reviewed!