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 (Lunar Chronicles #3)FeaturedHot
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
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.”
There is so much to say about CRESS, and much of it has already been said by people who have probably said it better than I could, so I'm just going to say a little bit. Here goes.
The characters: Phenomenal. Marissa Meyer knows how to develop some solid characters and keep them strong and consistent. The characters are the most important, strongest, and most loved part of this series. Scarlet and Wolf, Cinder and Kai, Thorne and Cress, Iko, Dr. Erland, Torinn, and even Levana are all such incredible characters that live in our imaginations and our hearts.
The POV: Spectacularly written. The voices of each character's point of view are unique and entertaining. They bring the story forward naturally, without leaving the reader feeling like she missed anything.
The drama: Breathtaking. CRESS is a powerful page-turner, leaving us drooling for more romance, aching with sympathy after fights, pleading with Levana to not be so cruel. . .Yeah, right!
The plot: A whirlwind sci-fi adventure that readers will love from page one.
The verdict: Perfection. Marissa Meyer really delivers with the 3rd installment of the Lunar Chronicles!
NEED. WINTER. NOW.
When I first jumped on the Lunar Chronicles bandwagon, I was late to the party. I tend to avoid any novel in the blogosphere that is garnering a ton of hype, due to past experiences where the hype completely killed my enjoyment. However, I dove into Cinder trepidatiously and came out completely in love, mostly thanks to the sweet nostalgia feelings from the cleverly added Sailor Moon references. And if that wasn’t clear before, I’m somewhat of a huge Sailor Moon fangirl. Like, it's a little scary. Perhaps you should run?
Unfortunately, with Scarlet, I didn’t get the same warm fuzzies and I began to worry that this story was simply too big for Meyer to conquer. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Scarlet, but the pacing and connection to the characters didn’t happen for me. It wouldn’t be the first time I read a series where the best book was the first book. So, again, I found myself wary for Cress, but those worries proved to be unnecessary. Ahem, allow me to eat my words.
Cress is a complete improvement over Cinder and Scarlet. Where Cinder had its issues with predictability, Cress’s plot was noticeably tighter. While Scarlet had parts where the pacing felt off due to the dual point of views, Cress kicked it up a few notches with perfectly timed highs and lows. At no point did I find myself bored to tears, banging my head against the wall from frustration, throwing the book across the room, or simply suffering from major disappointment. It’s action-packed, well plotted, and exciting!
I should probably take this time to mention that if you haven’t read Cinder and Scarlet, 1) it’s time to re-examine your life choices 2) the rest of the review may contain slight spoilers.
The novel begins with the gang (Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, and Iko) on a mission to rescue Cress from her satellite. STUFF happens and things go horribly wrong, causing them to separate. What I loved about this was it gave the reader the perfect opportunity to get to know each individual character in a more intimate manner. Thorne and Cress end up stranded in the Sahara Desert, which is interesting because Cress has never stepped foot on Earth and being isolated for years didn’t exactly grant her the best social skills, and due to certain circumstances on the satellite, Throne is left blind. I didn't like this one bit. How could Meyer do this to my precious Throne?! MY PRECIOUSSS. MY PRECIOUSSS. He is sacred and must not be touched!! Still, it makes for an unlikely team and optimal time for character development and revelations. The only thing that I’m not too sure of is the romance brewing. Why does everyone in this series have to be paired up with someone? I'm not sure if I approve of this ship yet.
Cinder on the other hand, struggles with decisions that she made on the satellite, ultimately leading to unfortunate outcomes for both Scarlet and Wolf. Can she really do this, lead people and start a rebellion? Should she simply give up and continue hiding from Levana? Is she slowly becoming the very woman whom she fears? She’s conflicted for most of the novel and tends to second guess herself a lot more once she realizes how severe the consequences of her actions can be. Basically, Cinder is no Mary Sue and carries mistakes and flaws just like any other character in this series.
Scarlet is not as present in Cress, but her role looks like it’ll be more important in the final installment, Winter. I can’t really talk about what Scarlet endures in this novel because I’m tip toeing around a minefield of spoilers here, but I was very surprised to see how far Meyer was willing push her character’s limits. And if you’ve already read Cress, I think you know exactly what scene I’m referring to. Can we say, “WOW?” I’m resisting the urge to throw in a “Brace Yourself” meme.
Overall, I’m left both amazed and impressed with Cress. I can confidently say that this series just gets better and better and I’d consider this my favorite so far. With the sneak peek of the newest character, Winter (she's adorably certifiable), at the end, I’m eagerly waiting for the final book. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.
What I Loved:
With Cress, the cast adds another new main character, Crescent Moon, or Cress for short. She’s my least favorite of the three heroines thus far, and probably destined to be my least favorite overall. Still, her character is marvelously done and the retelling of Rapunzel creatively-crafted. For readers frustrated by the increase in the cast for Scarlet and wished for just a couple of viewpoints, Cress will be even more frustrating. Personally, I think this roving third person point of view is pretty much the only way that Meyer could effectively have told this tale.
Though the leads in the Lunar Chronicles are not the best-developed characters, they are, to a one, memorable and easy to relate to. They’ve all got their flaws and their charming qualities. Even more importantly, the six lead characters all have very distinct personalities from one another. Cinder is not Scarlet is not Cress; the same goes for Wolf, Thorne and Kai. Putting together such a large, diverse cast and so much plot and world building is tricky. The way that Meyer builds on more with each book, adding characters slowly, is inspired, and saves the reader from the infodumping that would have been necessary had the series opened with such a large cast.
One of my criticisms in Scarlet was the instalove between Wolf and Scarlet, and, if that worried you, fear not. There’s not too much about their romance here, because Scarlet’s a reasonable girl and doesn’t want to rush into something that quickly. I love Meyer so much for that. The rest of the romances are delightful as well, largely because they’re kept to the back burner where they burn slowly. There’s a bit of sappiness from Cress, but give the girl a break, because she’s spent all of her post-pubescent years alone in space; she has an excuse for being hormonal and wanting a fairy tale romance. Can you imagine if all you knew about love was from television programs? Except for the fact that I’m not entirely sold on one of the ships, I approve of everything she does here.
The reason that I think Cress continues to improve upon an already exceptional series is the upping in the plot. Both Cinder and Scarlet, though set in a unique landscape, are fairly straightforward from a plot perspective. They don’t have much in the way of surprises. They’re pretty predictable, as fairy tales tend to be. With Cress, the larger plot arc really begins to kick into high gear, and, in this volume, Meyer actually managed to surprise me several times. Everything’s really coming together, and Winter will blow my mind wide open, I have no doubt.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I just don't ship Cress' ship. I don't. I wish I could but I can't. Everyone else loves it though. *sighs*
The Final Verdict:
Basically, I need Winter right now, and I sort of hate myself for reading this so early, because it makes the wait that much longer. I trust Meyer to end the series on a strong note, because everything has been so well thought out and the series has been on a steady incline in quality.