This is the last book I got to talk about with my mom. In this book we meet Carswell Thorne. I remember telling my mom how much I loved him and she told me he gets even better in the third book, and I didn’t see how that was possible. I wish I’d had the chance to talk about the third book with her.
Carswell Thorne is another prisoner of the Eastern Commonwealth being held in a prison cell not far from Cinder’s cell. Cinder breaks into his cell and, when he proves uncooperative, uses her newly discovered gift to coerce him into helping her break out of prison. The two of them escape together and Thorne helps steal a spaceship for them to make their escape. Cinder manages to install Iko’s personality chip into the ship and Iko is not pleased when she realizes “I’m huge!” She can’t see anything going on in the ship, but she can hear everything and she can talk through the ship’s speakers.
Even though Dr. Erland told Cinder to meet him in Africa, she decides to go to France to try to track down Michelle Benoit, the pilot who allegedly helped her escape from Luna as a child.
Meanwhile, in France, Scarlet Benoit is a farmer who likes to wear a red hoodie and wants to know what happened to her grandmother, who’s been missing for weeks now. The police have officially stopped looking, having decided she ran away and doesn’t want to be found, due to the fact that she left her ID chip behind. Scarlet can’t believe that the police refuse to take into consideration that maybe kidnappers would have thought of that and left the ID chip behind for that reason. She knows her grandmother and knows she never would have just up and left.
Her grandmother owned the farm Scarlet has been helping her run ever since Scarlet was a kid and Scarlet knows her grandmother wouldn’t have just abandoned all that.
So Scarlet decides to go searching for her grandmere on her own. Along the way she meets a street fighter named Wolf, so you can see where this is going. Being familiar with the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, I knew not to trust Wolf and yet, I have to admit, he won over even me. He told Scarlet he and his brother had been recruited to work for a secret government agency from a very young age, and while his brother had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker, Wolf had been looking for an opportunity to escape, and that’s when he found Scarlet. He admits that the group he used to be a part of is responsible for kidnapping Scarlet’s grandmother and he offers to go with her to Paris to help rescue her.
Meanwhile, Cinder and Thorne (who insists on being called “Captain” Thorne, even though he stole their spaceship, and so he’s not technically a captain) find the Benoit farm in France. They break in (since no one’s home to answer the door) and look around for clues. They eventually find a laboratory in the basement of the shed with enough evidence to make it pretty clear that Cinder was kept there in stasis while she healed and they equipped her with cyborg parts.
When Wolf and Scarlet reach the Paris Opera House, it turns out Wolf has led Scarlet there so the Lunar Operatives can capture her and make her their prisoner.
They take her away to a makeshift prison cell in the opera house and she finds out that the first part of Wolf’s tattoo, “LSO” stands for “Lunar Special Operative,” meaning he’s a Lunar soldier who’s been working for Levana all along. They’ve all been genetically modified to have long fangs, particularly violent tendencies, and to organize in a pack system in which the alpha rules over everyone – as it turns out, Wolf is the alpha of his particular “pack.”
While she’s imprisoned, Scarlet is taken to see her grandmother, but she finds out fairly quickly that it’s not really her grandmother: it’s another Lunar Operative using their Lunar glamour to make Scarlet think they’re her grandmother, which I thought was a very clever way of disguising the Big Bad Wolf as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.
The Lunar Operatives are trying to find out what happened to the Princess Selene and they’re pretty sure Michelle Benoit was involved in the plot to smuggle her to Earth since she was the pilot who flew a bunch of diplomats to Luna right around the time of the fire that was supposed to have killed Selene.
So Scarlet doesn’t tell them anything (not that she knows anything about what they’re looking for.) But Wolf manages to slip her a key and tells her to make a break for it. She tries to take her grandmother with her, but her grandmother is killed by another Lunar Operative before they can make their escape.
So Scarlet runs for it on her own, but manages to do so in the midst of a semi-coordinated attack on the entire city of Paris, which just happens to be part of a larger attack on Earth as a whole (similar attacks happen in major cities all over the world, including New Beijing), all designed to get Emporer Kai to yield to Levana’s terms for a marriage agreement, (which works, btw).
While the city is under attack and Scarlet is on the run, she and Wolf happen to run into Cinder and Carswell Thorne, who are trying to track down Michelle Benoit. When they realize Michelle is dead, they agree to take Scarlet instead. Wolf can come, too, albeit grudgingly. Scarlet still isn’t sure she should trust him after he led her into the wolves’ den, but then again, he also helped her escape.
To be continued…