After I finished Scarlet, the previous book in the Lunar Chronicles series, I immediately ran out and bought Cress. It’s not that it ended on a cliffhanger particularly, but I like this series a surprising amount and I just needed to see how it continued. It’s unusual for me to read right through a series with no intervening other books, but that’s what I very nearly did. I really do recommend these books.
This review has spoilers for Scarlet. And probably Cinder too.
Plot summary: In the third installment of the Lunar chronicles, Cress, having risked everything to warn Cinder of Queen Levana’s evil plan, has a slight problem. She’s been imprisoned on a satellite since childhood and has only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress a great hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress involving Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes as a high price. Meanwhile, 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.
WHY IS THERE A FAIRYTALE LINK WITH THESE BOOKS!? It sort of made sense in Cinder, although like I said at the time, it wasn’t actually necessary. But there was a link, of sorts – she had a wicked stepmother, she went to the ball, she left her ‘shoe’ behind… fine. It was less linked in Scarlet, and it felt more forced. Alright, so she wore a red hoodie and her Grandmother was killed by a gang called The Wolves. Definitely less required, but… sort of fine. Cress, though? There is barely a link to Rapunzel, and the one link gets… removed, near the beginning of the book. What’s the point!?
The reason for this rant is because I feel the storyline, world-building and characters in this series are strong enough to carry these books, without needing to resort to cheap fairytale links. They’re good. Over the last three, Marissa Meyer has established a unique concept in a very real-feeling new world. It’s actually quite impressive. Therefore it irritates me when it’s cheapened slightly by a forced fairytale link.
Anyway, let’s move on from that. Cress feels more like a second book than Scarlet did. There’s a lot of walking around, and trying to find each other, and just missing each other. And too much desert. Waaaaay too much desert. That’s not to say it’s a bad book. A new character, Cress, is introduced and I guess we had to spend some time with her to get to know her properly.
In my last review, I whined a little bit about how Scarlet and Cinder were almost indistinguishable from each other. Cress is different, thankfully. She’s an innocent, having been isolated on a space station for the last seven of her sixteen years. Because of this, she seems very young and very naive, and that’s possibly why it jars a little when a love interest develops. I mean, it’s carried out in an okay-ish manner, but it seems just a smidge innappropriate, call me prudish.
I think I’m only picking this book apart because I liked it so much, which makes sense in a weird kind of way. Sometimes when a book is really good, you notice the faults more because you’re very aware that, without them, the book would be perfect. As I’ve said before, I love the over-arching storyline. It’s interesting and unique, and the world-building is perfect. It would probably make a good TV show, now that I think about it.
I did enjoy this book (although maybe not quuuuuiite as much as the others) and I’m really looking forward to reading Winter, when I eventually cave in and buy it. I have a slightly niggle that the story isn’t going to go in the direction I want it to, but I daren’t google the spoilers just in case. In short, I want somebody to talk about these books with, so go read them!