The long-awaited Cress by Marissa Meyer finally reached me from the library! And still in time for Once Upon a Time. 🙂 Technically it’s sci fi, not fantasy…but it’s a fairy tale retelling, so I’m saying it counts. Cress is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles (read about the first two here) so spoilers may follow for the earlier books.
Cress picks up right after Scarlet, and continues the story of Cinder and her friends. We also get our new title character, Cress, who we saw only briefly in the earlier books. Cress has spent the past several years trapped in a satellite orbiting the Earth, forced to use her brilliant computer skills to spy on behalf of the Lunar queen. She manages to make contact with Cinder–but a rescue attempt goes horribly wrong, ending with Wolf badly wounded, Scarlet abducted, and Cress and Thorne crash-landing into the Sahara Desert. Meanwhile, Prince Kai’s plans to marry the Lunar queen in a desperate attempt to avert war are moving ahead all too quickly.
There are a lot of plot threads going on here, but Meyer manages to move very adeptly between different characters, giving us time with all of them. I would have liked a little more time with Scarlet (because I love Scarlet!), but completely understand that something had to go in this already-long book.
It’s okay that I didn’t get much Scarlet because I loved Cress too. She is naive and idealistic and a little bit awkward, because after all, she spent years locked away alone in a satellite. She’s so thrilled by everything on Earth, seeing so much beauty in ordinary things. I loved Cress’ growth through the book, gaining more insight and understanding as she interacts with more people.
And Cress and Thorne are just so much fun! I really enjoyed the romance in Scarlet and this one is just as good, while being completely different. Thorne has been putting on this heroic rogue persona, which everyone else sees through…but Cress is isolated and naive and develops a major crush on him. The evolution of Cress’ feelings about Thorne as she gets to know him as a real person is just lovely.
And Thorne…is neither as heroic as Cress thought he was, or as bad as he pretends to be. He’s a lot like Han Solo, circa A New Hope…except possibly a Han Solo who watched Star Wars and knows exactly what image he’s trying to present, without being entirely sure himself that he would come back to help blow up the Death Star (sorry, spoiler…) Anyway–such a great character, and these two may be my favorite romantic couple for this year.
As in the previous two books, there are some nice fairy tale tie-ins. Cress, of course, is Rapunzel, from being trapped in her satellite to having her name be inspired by a variety of lettuce. She also has very long hair that’s cut when she leaves her “tower,” and her “prince” goes blind at the same time. I love how Meyer puts a sci fi twist on fairy tale elements throughout this series!
Cress has a lot of action and a lot of excitement and a lot of movement forward in the brewing revolution against the Lunar queen. But there are very few conclusions, and I find myself more anxious for Book Four than I was for Book Three. Because Cress and Thorne have not really figured their romance out, and the revolution has not come to a boil, and this book left me desperately curious about Book Four’s title character, Princess Winter.
So now I have to sadly wait until next year for the concluding volume. But at least I can be happy that this series has gone through three out of four books without losing steam and, very possibly, getting better with every installment. Making me so very hopeful for the final one!
Author’s Site: http://www.marissameyer.com/
Buy it here: Cress