Book Reviews

[review] Cress – Marissa Meyer

13206828Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 560
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for honest review

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.

Tell Me More: Here’s the thing: I’m not good at the whole staying-up-late business. I get cranky, and migraines pop up every hour, and it just isn’t a very pleasant experience for anyone who has to deal with me. I began reading Cress the day I got it, and managed to get to page 70-something without wanting to glue the book to my face. A conversation with Meghan happened later that night, and when I told her which page I was on, she suggested that I stop there, for my own sake. I did not listen. What commenced after page 104 was a sleepless night spent frantically flipping through pages of one of the most compelling and terrific reads you’ll ever find in a bookstore. Cress is not just the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series–it’s marvelous in its own right.

With an almost-full cast through the entire book, and up to four different plot threads, it’s no wonder that Cress is the longest LC book to date, but Meyer uses each page with care. The addition of a new female lead doesn’t muddy the waters, but clears it–readers are given another perspective through which to view the proceedings of the previous books. Young Cress is captivating from the beginning, and the entire first chapter is engaging while remaining informative, a necessary quality to continue the momentum of the previous novels. The pacing is better than ever in this installment, and readers will zip from scene to scene without noticing how Meyer expertly guides them along, with some of the most intense action scenes I’ve read in YA fiction.

Cress’s character development does not suffer from lack of attention, despite the twists that seem to pop up on every other page. I was told by several people that she would seem very familiar, and that she was–I could easily relate to her daydreaming nature and optimism. (And yes, I understand the Thorne feels quite intimately.) What I enjoyed most about Cress, however, is how she serves as the first real foil to both Cinder and Scarlet. She is idealistic where they have grown cynical, hopeful where they have been beaten down. She stops to wonder at life, because she’s spent so much time just watching it happen to other people. Her innocence conceals a mind that works at top speed, and it is so gratifying to see her use those skills against the abuse of the Lunars.

One of the most noteworthy things about the Lunar Chronicles is the escalation of the conflict in each book. Too often, trilogies or tetralogies feel stretched out, the main conflicts spread too thin to really have an impact. In Cress, the Lunars are more terrifying than ever, and Queen Levana’s true nature is on full display. Prince Kai isn’t just navigating cultural and political differences–he is up against a group that has honed their ruthlessness to a sharp point, and there are more than a few scenes in the story where readers will fear for his life. The existence and treatment of cyborgs and (Lunar) shells is also given more time to develop in Cress, which was something I’d hoped for after reading Cinder. One scene in particular–at Prince Kai’s palace–stands out as both thought-provoking and entertaining, and it might be up there among my top ten favourite scenes from the entire series. Meyer has always had a talent for injecting humour where readers might not expect it, and Cress is a prime example.

But the heart of these stories lies in the connections between its characters, and I am happy to note that I was not disappointed in the development of the romances, such as they stand, in this third novel. Kai and Cinder prove that the pull they’d felt towards each other in the first book was not just a fluke, and it’s easy to feel that they truly are made for each other. Thorne’s interactions with Cress might start off on an uneven step, but they both shine a light on the things they each hide from the world, and I loved how Thorne grows to value her. Sadly, I can’t discuss Wolf and Scarlet in detail for fear of spoiling the book, but I will admit to being torn between swooning and throwing the book across the room because of overwhelming emotions. There is a sincerity to the way love grows in this universe, and none of the ladies in this series are defined by the love they experience. They define it with their actions, and they learn to value themselves above and beyond that.

The Final Say: The third novel in the Lunar Chronicles series is everything but filler–Cress heightens the action, character development and romance with every page. Readers will leave this universe breathless, with a burning need for Winter and more of these fantastic, unforgettable characters.

4684322About Marissa

Marissa Meyer lives near Seattle with her husband and their three cats. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, color-coordinating her bookshelf…) and will take any excuse to put on a costume. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Add Cress on Goodreads | Follow Marissa on Twitter @marissa_meyer | Visit Marissa’s website

Order Cress from Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters

And stop back on January 21 for the Cress blog tour!

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6 replies »

  1. What a lovely review, and I don’t say that lightly. I love your assessment of the pacing and the way that Cress serves as a foil to the other girls. I think she was a great addition and her personality is so vibrantly different from the rest of the crew.

    My only issue at all with the series is that I don’t think I’m really sure where I stand on any of the ships. I was really Wolf/Scarlet, but they didn’t interact much. I was pretty anti- Kai/Cinder in Scarlet, but they were okay here. Cress’ ship I’m not a fan of to be honest. I liked it in the idealistic phase, but I just don’t see them together. I feel like his character changed and he’s less interesting to me now. *pouts*

    I am beyond excited for Winter, because she’s so creepy. Yessssss.

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