January 21, 2013

7 Big Bad Wolf-y Facts (+ Giveaway)

(For more info about the tour, click here!)

It's truly an honor to be kicking off the blog tour for Scarlet, the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer. I'm pretty sure I've said this before and multiple times (mostly on Twitter), but I love this series. There's just something inventive and creative and wonderful about what Marissa has done with these classic fairytales we all know and love. While I certainly fell in love with the twist on Cinderella that we read about in Cinder, it was the whimsical twist on Little Red Riding Hood in Scarlet that has convinced me that this series is a must-read!
It's an honor to welcome Marissa back to the blog (She's participated in one of my An Author A (Mon)day posts before!) and today, she's sharing a little something about wolves...

7 Big Bad Wolf-y Facts
By Marissa Meyer

I’m so excited to be kicking off the SCARLET blog tour today with Alexa Loves Books!

Scarlet is my futuristic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood—and what would a Little Red Riding Hood story be without the Big Bad Wolf?

Of course, like with everything in the Lunar Chronicles, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with the children’s stories we grew up with, so my Wolf character (and the rest of his Pack) isn’t exactly a wolf, nor is he exactly a werewolf like in some other retellings, but he certainly has more than his share of wolf-like tendencies. So in order to capture his character and history, I spent a lot of time researching wolves, including a day trip to Wolf Haven in Olympia, WA, which is a wonderful organization that works on wolf preservation and education.

Here are some tidbits that I found quite fascinating—including some facts that ended up heavily informing the plot of Scarlet:

1. The better to smell you with, my dear.
Wolves have an uncanny sense of smell—100 times the smelling ability of humans. Not only can they smell from far distances (up to a full mile), but they can also pick up on very distinct aromas. At Wolf Haven, our tour group was informed that the wolves would have picked up on our individual scents as soon as we stepped out of our cars in the parking lot, and would remember us by our smells for up to a week. (Or was it two weeks? I don’t remember, but it was impressive!)

2. The better to eat you with, my dear.
Wolf jaws are incredibly strong—the better to eat with , naturally. Their jaws can apply 1500 pounds of pressure per square inch—almost twice the amount of pressure as a great white shark! That said, wolves are not known for preying on humans, despite our fairy tales. In the wild, they’re just as likely to run away or hide from us as we are from them.

3. Howling at the full moon.
Given that the moon plays a pretty big role in my books, I was a little disappointed to learn that the idea of wolves howling at the full moon is a big cultural myth, perpetrated by thousands of years of human storytelling and artwork. When a wolf turns his nose up to the sky and howls, it’s just because that allows for better acoustics. Drat!

4. So, why do they howl?
Howling is a form of communication between wolves, right along with barking, growling, and whining. Scientists believe howling can be a means of announcing a wolf’s territory and warning enemy packs away, telling the rest of your pack where you are, or to attract a mate (lower howls usually equal a larger, a.k.a. stronger, wolf). Wolf howls can carry as far as 10 miles on an open tundra.

5. The Alpha Pair.
Wolf packs have a very specific hierarchy, and every wolf in the pack knows his place. At the top of the hierarchy are the alpha male and female. The strongest and most assertive wolves in the pack, they lead the pack in hunts, are the first to eat when prey is captured, and often are the only couple to mate and produce pups, although everyone in the pack will help to raise them. Here, I met with another disappointment in my research. I’d heard that alpha packs mate for life—and often this is true, but not always. If one member is widowed they’ll often take another mate, and on occasion an alpha male may have multiple living mates.

6. The Omega.
On the bottom of the wolf social hierarchy is the omega—the scapegoat who often lives on the outskirts of the pack, eats last, and can act as a “stress reliever” for the other pack members. Sometimes, if the omega is picked on too harshly, he may desert the pack and become a “lone wolf.” Before starting my research, I’d never heard of a wolf omega before, and yet this scapegoat role ended up giving me some big breakthroughs in the book.

7. A “Keystone” Species.
For hundreds of years wolves have been hunted and killed, many to the point of extinction. But it’s become clear in recent years that wolves play an important role in many ecosystems—keeping some species in check and providing an important balance through many wildlife systems. As we learn more, animal preservation societies are trying hard to conserve wolf habitats and find solutions that will protect both the wolves and the farms that see them as a nuisance. In Scarlet, I was happy to provide a world in which wolves—while not always welcome—were at least protected on a global basis. I hope that someday that world become a reality.

Learn more about this amazing animals, or even “adopt a wolf” of your own at http://www.wolfhaven.org.
Thanks for sharing Marissa! If you're curious as to how this relates to Scarlet, do check out this awesome post from the Cinder paperback tour on April's blog and you'll find out!
As an avid fan of the series, it is my pleasure to host a giveaway in tandem with the blog tour! I'll be giving away a Cinder paperback and a Scarlet hardcover to one lucky winner! This giveaway is only open to residents of the US/CA.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Goodreads)
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan)
Extras: Book trailer || Download the first 5 chapters free!
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl...

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Goodreads)
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan)
Extras: Book trailer || Downloads the first 5 chapters free!

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner. 

Marissa has also written two short stories to go with the rest of the series. If you're interested in learning more about the world of The Lunar Chronicles or its characters, you can download Glitches ($0.99) and The Queen's Army ($0.99)!


  1. I have always wanted to read Cinder! I have no excuse as to why I haven't but I could say that I was waiting for Scarlet! Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!

  2. Cinder was amazing! I can't wait to read Scarlet. Thanks for the chance to win!


  3. Awesome guest post! I love that she actually went to a wolf sanctuary to research. I am so incredibly excited to read Scarlet. It's going to be EPIC!

  4. I love Cinder and Marissa Meyer so thanks for this post!! I really love the idea of having different fairy tale's in one series and they coincide with each other!

    Thanks for this !!


  5. Congratulations on being a part of the SCARLET blog tour. That's awesome. I love all the details about wolves here. It's got me thinking hard about SCARLET, since it's based on Little Red Riding Hood. I can't wait to see what Marissa does with this series and how she draws it into a futuristic world. I must admit to peeking already at the first five chapters, so I have feels for sure.

    Applause to Marissa Meyer going to a wolf sanctuary to get the research authentic.

    Thanks for sharing all the links for everything LUNAR CHRONICLES. What a great way to kick off the tour. Thank you also for the chance to win.

  6. What an interesting blog post! Thank you both Alex and Marissa!
    <3 Loie

  7. I am so excited about this book and I cannot wait to read it XD

  8. I love wolves! They are certainly kind of scary, but that is part of their allure. But even though they are scary, I always think about how much they remind me of dogs. Or maybe dod remind me of wolves.

    Anyway, I loved both Cinder and Scarlet! Never did I think I would love science fiction books as much as I love Cinder and Scarlet. Is it next year so I can read Cress yet?

  9. Aww this was so cool! Wolves are so freaking fascinating aren't they? I love how intricate their pack lives are! Awesome post I loved this book and the wolf in it is worth the read for him alone! ;)

  10. Lovely post! I can't wait to get my hands on Scarlet when it comes out!

  11. Fabulous guest post! Wolves are so fascinating. And their jaws can apply 1500 pounds of pressure per square inch? Yikes.

  12. Great post. I'm so excited about Scarlet. I read Cinder 3 times and already read the first 5 chapters of Scarlet. Can't wait! :D

  13. Great post and I didn't know about omega wolves either. I can't wait for Scarlet!! Even better it comes out on my birthday

  14. I've been raving to friends and patrons at the library where I work about Cinder - can't wait to devour Scarlet!

  15. I have not read Cinder, but now I am dying to read it. Thanks for the post and getting me excited about a new book and author.

  16. Wow, some of those facts are really cool! Thanks for sharing your findings. Now since I know those things maybe I can watch out to see if they come up in Scarlet.

  17. Is it weird that I knew most of these facts? I loved reading them though and I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK! I need it in my life now.

  18. Shiny new books and wolf facts! Love it!

  19. Shiny new books and wolf facts! Love it!

  20. Oh I like your topic for guest post, Alexa and Marissa! I loved WOLF in this book. Such a great character with such a neat story. I wonder, Alexa, did you get a chance to read The Queen's Army, which is Wolf's backstory? It's great and insightful into his character. I didn't mention it in my post (doh!) but it is a GREAT addition to this series. It's quick and easy to read.

  21. Aw, that last wolf image is adorable! I am so looking forward to Scarlet!


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