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Review: Cress - Marissa Meyer

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Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
My rating: {★★★★☆}

YA Fantasy Fairy Tale Retelling
Published February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

Source: Borrowed
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, 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 her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned 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 just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
I buddy read Cress with my Lunar Chronicles buddy reader Alissa!

Di's rating: {★★★★☆}
Alissa's Rating: {★★★★☆}

...this moment, filled with injuries and her destroyed satellite and being separated from his friends, was the most perfect moment of her entire life.
Straight up I'm saying right now that Cress was my favourite in the series. I know this because I'm writing this review long after finishing the series (oops).

The book jumps straight into the action and we both feel like this is the book where Meyer really hit her stride in the story - everything starts coming together and we were catching on to little things we hadn't noticed before - Rampion is the plant that started the entire story of Rapunzel, Cress and Rampion are both types of salad greens (ah-ha!). It was clear that Meyer had thought through the entire plot arc of the series and it was great seeing everything fall into place.

Cress is the re-imagining of Rapunzel in the Lunar Chronicles universe and was really the first book where there was a complete ensemble cast including Cinder and Iko and Thorne and Kai, Wolf and Scarlet and of course Cress (Crescent Moon). There's a really great dynamic between all the characters and the banter is often hilarious.

Cress is the newest addition to the cast of characters, even though we'd seen a hint of her in Cinder. She was so easy to connect with because she was just so realistic and believable. She is naive, trusting and lovable, incredibly sweet, awkward and totally geeky and her reactions to seeing things for the first time in real life on Earth is exactly as you might picture.

“It’s beautiful out there.”
A hesitation, before, “Could you be more specific?”
“The sky is this gorgeous, intense blue color.” She pressed her fingers to the glass and traced the wavy hills on the horizon.
“Oh, good. You’ve really narrowed it down for me.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just…” She tried to stamp down the rush of emotion.
“I think we’re in a desert.”
“Cactuses and tumbleweeds?”
“No. Just a lot of sand. It’s kind of orangish-gold, with hints of pink, and I can see tiny clouds of it floating above the ground, like … like smoke.”
“Piled up in lots of hills?”
“Yes, exactly! And it’s beautiful.
Thorne snorted. “If this is how you feel about a desert, I can’t wait until you see your first real tree. Your mind will explode.”
She beamed out at the world. Trees.
“That explains the heat then,” Thorne said.

This was also the first book in the series where the stakes were raised high enough for us to feel actual fear for the characters: we both found the book unpredictable and were worried that not all our people would make it out! While this was fantastic it was a little unsettling after the first two books left us complacent!

Another standout in this series is Meyer's ability to differentiate between her characters WITHOUT clearly stating their differences. I mean, you know Thorne is that bad boy with a heart of gold without her actually saying that. Cinder, Scarlet and Cress and even Iko (an android!) are all wonderful heroines in their own right and are all completely different from each other and have their own personality traits both good and bad.


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Spoilers Ahead! Proceed at your own Risk!




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As with the other two books we've read, let's draw some comparisons between Cress and Rapunzel:

A: Well obviously Cress was isolated in a satellite and Rapunzel was stuck in a tower.

D: I liked that the 'witch' was Thaumaturge Sybil rather than making Levana the only evil character. I also liked that they kept to the 'prince' being blinded but I love that Meyer lets her characters stand on their own feet - Cress wasn't just a damsel in distress.

D: What did you think of Levana in this one? I loved that she took on some more depth and was not the cut and dried evil Queen character.

A: Absolutely! She made me want to know more about her backstory - how did she get so evil? This book also made me want to know more about the Lunars after seeing a glimpse of them at the end of Cress

D: Yes! I can't wait to read Fairest because I LOVED what Meyer did in Heartless and I need to know if she can make me feel for Levana as she did for The Red Queen. I have to admit though that I just wasn't feeling the relationship between Kai and Cinder through at least the first half of the book. There was nothing for me to root for. I kept thinking like they had only seen each other an actual handful of times and they were still thinking about each other?

A: But it was true to the story of Cinderella and she leaned on the believability of the fairy-tale because we all know the story already.

D: I guess I just wanted something more, especially after reading their story over so many books.

A: Well since we've already read Winter you know that it gets better!!! In Cress though, I loved the one-sidedness of the Cress-Thorne relationship. I can totally believe an isolated teenage girl would be swooning over the scruffy bad-guy she sees stalks on her net screens all day.

D: THAT was a relationship that I loved, and I fully shipped Cress and Thorne. So let's talk about the plot... Because we both found a few plot holes and a few too many co-incidences for our liking.

A: Yes! Marissa Meyer's strength obviously lies in character development

D: This was a very character driven book - but I did like the overall plot arc of the series too. I just would get annoyed with certain things, like Cinder's cyborg brain knowing all the things and yet she didn't pick up on her news feed that a satellite crashed RIGHT BESIDE THEM in the Sahara?

A: That was one of my complaints about Scarlet too - inconsistent use of plot devices. But I'm willing to overlook those things in favour of the bigger picture. This was the debut series for Meyer and her writing matures with every installation of the series.

D: For sure. It was just one of those things that I couldn't help noticing which must mean it was pretty bad... Because I'm just one of those readers that doesn't normally notice stuff like that when I'm lost in a book. I just take it for granted that the author won't make mistakes.

D: Well now I guess we should get on with writing our review of Winter since we've already read it! And maaaybe we could pick up Fairest as another buddy read??

A: Yes please! I just hope it answers some of my questions about Levana!

D: I'm also kind of hoping that we get our hearts broken... But who knows!

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)