Published: February 6th 2014 by Penguin
Format: Paperback, 550 pages
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Science Fiction
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Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker — unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
Cress was my guilty-pleasure read this weekend. I ignored all the backed up review books (being the horrible person that I am), and snuggled down with it. As with the other two books, I found it really hard to put down Cress and go about my normal life – everything had shrunk down to consuming this amazing book as quickly as possible.
I love how brilliantly the series has expanded to include the eight pivotal characters in the Earthen rebellion against Luna. Cinder introduced us to our cyborg starlet and Earthen Prince Kai, Scarlet to feisty Scarlet and the genetically enhanced Luna soldier Wolf, and now Cress has allowed us to get to know our intelligent computer hacker Cress and adventurerer/criminal Thorne much better. We’ve also been briefly introduced to Lunar Princess Winter and her dedicated friend and guard Jaicin, who presumably take centre stage in Winter.
These characters are amazing, not only because of how have been reimagined from their fairytale origins, but because of how well they compliment each other and how they shape the plot of each novel. A large cast is often cumbersome, and readers often find they’re hard-pressed to get to know anyone well, but Meyer has circumvented these issues by introducing and focussing on different characters throughout the series, while keeping us in touch with old favourites.
The girls for whom the books are named are brilliantly recast from their fairytale origins into a science fiction element based on the mythology behind Sailor Moon. Cinder is brave and strong, Scarlet is compassionate and loyal, Cress is intelligent and sympathetic, and Winter is obviously not what she seems at first. But each of these ladies isn’t perfect, which is what makes them so amazing: Cinder is plagued with doubts and dears, Scarlet doesn’t know who to trust, and Cress isn’t exactly brave or a great fighter.
Cress in particular is interesting. While there’s no doubt that she’s integral to the team, she isn’t as feisty or battle-hardened as the other two girls. She’s got an over-active imagination which makes her prone to fantasies. They can seem silly at first, but she’s been trapped in a satellite for most of her life and this is her way of dealing with real life. It’s a little heartbreaking to know how hard she has to work at feeling comfortable. She keeps up with the rest of the team admirably, and I love that she thinks for herself all the time. She’s joined up with this motley group of allies, each with their own agendas, and Cress doesn’t just trust them all because she’s told to.
Although I would have liked to see Cress become friends with the rest of the group, she and Thorne spend a majority of Cress separated from them. This book is predominantly about Cress, and by extension, Thorne, but we get glimpses of all the other characters we’ve grown to love. Emperor Kai is determine to go ahead with his sham of a wedding to save his citizens, but he finds himself distracted with thoughts of Cinder. Wolf is teaching Cinder to fight, but he’s got his own issues, beginning with the fact that every Lunar citizen can still easily control him. Thorne’s always thought himself a rogue and a criminal, but being around Cress (who has idolised him from afar for a long time) is changing the way he sees himself. My favourite scenes remain those where Iko makes an appearance, because she’s so lively and awesome despite being an android, and her crush on Kai resembles my own 🙂
Cress is plotted really well. The seeds of war between Earth and Luna that were planted in the first book have almost matured, and war is brewing in the background. There’s a sense of desperation in the characters that wasn’t there previously. The action begins on the very first page, and doesn’t really let up until the dramatic conclusion.
There’s not much else to say. Everything I’ve loved from the first two books is here again, and I’ve definitely enjoyed Cress as much as Scarlet and Cinder. Fans of the series won’t want to miss this book. It’s all hurtling towards what is sure to be a dramatic conclusion, and I can’t wait to meet Winter properly in the next book and see the four girls (and their guys) kick some serious butt.