Meyer adds yet another cast member to the save-the-world team in this, the third installment of the Lunar Chronicles. Cress is easily the most naïve of the female leads we’ve seen so far, though with good reason—and not without the redemptive trait of ultimately showing the most progress by way of character growth. The story of Rapunzel is retold with more similarities to its original fairytale than seen in the previous books, complete with Captain Thorne acting as the thief who would be prince. Trade out the isolating tower for an isolating spy satellite, break up the team with a failed rescue attempt, and you have the premise for the primary plot thread in this book.
The author really seems to have her writing feet under her now, and she’s off and running right out of the gate with this book. She continues to juggle other goings on concerning Prince Kai, Lavana, Scarlet, Cinder, and Dr. Erland, weaving the most complex storyline we’ve yet seen. There’s just enough recap on previous events to sufficiently refresh past readers or draw in those who didn’t get a shot at one or both of the previous books.
Thorne is by far the highlight of this story. Rather than remaining the somewhat irritating playboy sidekick we came to know in the second book, the captain comes into his own in terms of heroism and comedy. Thanks to a handicap that tests his over-confidence, he’s forced into a rapid maturation process. And fortunately for all, his off-the-cuff candor and sarcasm is both abundant and endearing.
Note: I love the android character of Iko more with each passing book. She’s not in this one a great deal, but when she does come into full play, it’s well worth the wait.
If you’ve gotten this far into the series, one would presume you’re able to overlook the magical “science” and embrace this as a sci-fi fantasy. If so, this should be an all around fun read. The emotional connection achieves a balance not quite attained in previous books, while the spare, peppy prose maintains a consistently younger YA feel. And a defecting Lunar guard, along with some actual scenes on Luna, finally offers readers a more multi-dimensional look at the villainous side of the plot equation.
While this reader didn’t particularly care for Scarlett, I’m glad I continued on further into the series. The ending of this one was wide open in preparation for the final book, which I can honestly say I'm looking forward to reading..
“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”