Cress by Marissa Meyer – 4.5 stars
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Retelling, Young Adult, Science Fiction
(May contain spoilers for the books that came before)
“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.”
In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
The books in this series aren’t only longer as it progresses, they’re also significantly better. Cinder and Scarlet didn’t particularly blow me away – and I’m not saying that this book did it either – but it was fun, and a major improvement from the others.
I haven’t bought a physical copy of this book yet, but I’m going to get one soon enough! After reading it, I’ve decided I want copies of all the books in the series.
Cress is named after the new character introduced in the book – Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella, Scarlet of Little Red Riding Hood and Cress is Rapunzel. If we take the Disney film version, Captain Thorne is Flynn Rider and one of the Queen’s thaumaturges (Sybil Mira) would be Mother Gothel.
The characters were interesting and had a certain depth I didn’t see in the other books. But Wolf (for example) was badly developed: in Cress he suffers, but all he does is growl and attack people throughout the entirety of the book instead of actually doing something interesting.
Anyway, even though this book is the longest yet, the 560 pages flew by! And not only because I read it in ebook form. The characters get separated, so there are multiple stories going on at once, and this made the book very fast-paced! This made me realize why I didn’t like Cinder that much: there was only her story, and it wasn’t interesting enough to carry a whole book. So this was much better!
Cress and Thorne’s story was funny, and I loved how Cress’s massive crush on him was slightly mocked and didn’t transform into a relationship in a week, like it usually happens in YA books.
There was not a lot of Wolf+Scarlet in this one, but I still ship them and hope to see them safe, sound and happy in Winter!
And even though Cress’s parts were funniest and most entertaining, Cinder and Kai’s were the most interesting. Cinder’s learning to control her Lunar powers and Kai is preparing his wedding, all while a war is about to occur. I didn’t like them OR ship them until now, but I have to admit, it’s pretty hard to finish this book without doing that. Cinder’s incredibly worried of becoming Levana – she’s powerful and can manipulate people just like her – and Kai fights an internal war because of his feelings for her (were they real? Was she manipulating him? What am I going to do about her being cyborg?).
I even cried a little near the end of this book. Maybe I’m still emotional from Crooked Kingdom, but I really did. That’s what pushed me to give it 4.5 stars instead of the 4 I had planned.
I look forward to reading Winter very much! The only thing worrying me is its massive size…