Wednesday, February 26, 2014

REVIEW: "Cress" by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Cress by Marissa Meyer
For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Science Fiction/Dystopian

Feiwel and Friends -- February 4, 2014
Hardcover, 550 pages

THEMES
Fairy Tale Retelling

SUMMARY
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.
 

FIRST LINE
"Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours."

MY THOUGHTS

Warning!  This review contains minor spoilers for earlier books in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet.

This series is getting better and better!  Marissa Meyer has definitely found a niche for herself in the world of YA fiction and I am so glad to have discovered her.  The characters (especially the titular heroines) are all well-developed and given plenty of opportunity to grow as people.  The plot is action-packed and continues to throw twists at readers when they least expect it.  Overall, I found this installment to be just as good as its predecessors and am eagerly anticipating the conclusion of the series next year. 

Cress takes place almost immediately after the end of Scarlet with Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, and Captain Thorne in a spaceship trying to figure out a way to overthrow the evil Levana, Queen of Luna, save the Earth.  They come across Cress, a shell (Lunar without powers) who has been living on a satellite orbiting Earth for seven years and seems to have sympathies for Earth's plight.  Their attempts to meet up with Cress result in a variety of adventures for all the characters including crashing satellites, treks across the Sahara Desert, attempts to stop a wedding, and even a trip to Luna itself.

One of my favorite parts of this series is seeing how the author takes classic fairy tales like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc. and retells them with a science fiction twist.  The concept of Cress (Rapunzel) as a hostage living on a satellite is very original and really works.  I also loved the way that Meyer interpreted the parts of the fairy tale such as when the evil witch tricks the knight in shining armor.  These little tidbits are creatively thrown in with the continuation of the overall series story line: preventing Queen Levana from marrying Emperor Kai and restoring the mysterious Princess Selene to her rightful throne.  I don't want to say much more about the plot to avoid major spoilers, but I have mention some of my favorite aspects like the new discoveries regarding the plague and how the Lunar community is really set up.

Crescent "Cress" is, I guess, the main character of this particular installment though the story does jump around from character to character.  As mentioned above, she has been held captive in a satellite for years with only her screens as company.  This solitude has allowed her to become an expert at technology especially hacking both Earthling and Lunar systems.  I love it when a heroine has such a unique skill and I came away very impressed with all the details that Meyer provided.  Despite her technological skill, Cress is a very socially awkward person who obviously spent a lot of time in her own head which made her seem, at first, naive and idealistic.  Later actions showed that this was an incorrect assumption as Cress showed how strong she really was to have survived such a situation without major mental issues.

And then there's the swoon-worthy and hilarious Captain Thorne who I fell in love with from the moment we met him in Scarlet when he helped Cinder escape prison.  Thorne has been Cress's dream guy since she started tracking Cinder & Co. and I loved getting to see her meet him and realize that his complexity.  Thorne's sense of humor is tested when he is forced into a difficult situation with Cress and I thought it really showed what a decent guy he is underneath all the swagger.  Cress and Thorne's relationship is still in the early stages, but I like the potential. 

Besides Captain Thorne, Marissa Meyer continues to develop and focus on the rest of her Lunar Chronicles cast.  Readers of the series will be excited to see the return of Cinder, Wolf, Scarlet, Iko, and Levana.  I won't spend much time commenting each of these characters, but I love where most of their story lines are going.  Cinder and Kai are moving closer to a reunion while Scarlet and Wolf's relationship is sorely test.  Iko is as delightful as always and even gets some focus of her own.  And Levana continues to be a fascinating and complex villain.  Meyer also increases the size of the cast by introducing readers to characters that I am excited to see more of in the next book.  I am especially interested in Jacin, a Lunar guard whose loyalties seem to change with the weather, and Winter, Levana's stepdaughter, whose sanity is a little suspect.

Another part of Cress that I really enjoyed was the variety of settings that the characters visited.  The satellite and Thorne's Rampion sound so intriguing and work well in a science fiction story line.  A small village in Africa reveals some startling truths about Luna and its relationship to Earth.  Readers also get to return to New Beijing as Kai's wedding to Levana approaches.  And my favorite part was definitely getting to see Luna for the first time and learning more about their society...as scary as that may be.

All in all, I loved almost everything about Cress from the characters to the settings to the plot.  I can tell that things are barreling along towards quite a conclusion and I can't wait until 2015 when we finally get to read it!


5 STARS



STEAM LEVEL
Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.

 FAVORITE QUOTE
“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.”

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Cinder
2. Scarlet
3. Cress
4. Winter (Coming 2015) 

2 comments:

  1. I've also read this book and I loved it! I can't wait to conclude the series with Winter, next year.

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  2. I agree, Meyer's books just keep getting better. Cress is my favorite of the three, but I LOVED Cinder and Scarlet so much. Cress is also my favorite of all the heroines. I related to her so much. And the humor Thorne brought to the story was a favorite. So glad you liked this. Great review!

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