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.
Cress by Marissa Meyer My rating: 4/5 Stars
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #3 Format: Hardcover, 550 pg
Status: Read from March 27 to March 30, 2017
In this young adult series, each novel presents a new telling of old fables. The first book was based on Cinderella while the second introduced a new character who became a futuristic Little Red Riding Hood. In Cress, the new damsel in distress mimics the plight of Rapunzel. But this is a science-fiction series and Rapunzel isn’t locked away in a tower by a wicked witch. No, it’s way more fun. Cress is locked way in an orbiting satellite by an evil alien.
In this futuristic setting, the world is almost at war with Luna, a colony of powerful human-like aliens who possess mind control powers. The Queen wants to rule Earth and enslave the human race, but she promises peace as long as Prince Kai from the Eastern Commonwealth agrees to marry her. Cinder, once a lowly mechanic cyborg, discovered that she was the actual Lunar Princess Selene and the rightful heir to the Lunar throne. Queen Levana had tried to have her assassinated to get control of the throne, and most thought she had succeeded. Still, hope persisted, even among Lunars, that the princess had survived. Together with Scarlet (the daughter of the woman who helped smuggle Cinder to earth), Captain Thorne (an accidental American escort with the fastest ship on the planet), Iko (Cinder’s personal android), and Wolf (a turncoat Lunar special operative and wolf hybrid), they make a plan to stop Prince Kai’s wedding to Queen Levana while evading detection as the most wanted fugitives in the galaxy.
In the first book, Cinder’s first hint of a Lunar conspiracy came from a direct communications chip implanted in the Prince’s personal android. A young girl was on the other end, warning Cinder that Queen Levana would attack as soon as she was married to Prince Kai. Now with her comrades aboard Thorne’s ship, Cinder decides to reach out to that Lunar girl once again with the chip she kept. They reach Cress.
Cress lives in a Lunar satellite orbiting Earth and she’s been there for seven years, exhibited by her freakishly long hair. While most ‘shells’ (Lunars with no mind control ability) are destroyed upon birth, she was saved for some unknown reason. When they realized her talent in hacking, she was ordered to live on a satellite. There she cloaked Lunar ships who entered and surrounded the earth’s atmosphere by hijacking Earthen radar systems.
Cress might be Lunar, but she’s no loyal subject of the queen. She’s in love with Earthlings and finds herself in constant role-play among them. What else is a girl in complete isolation going to do besides play with her imagination? She also knows that Queen Levana is pure evil. So when Cinder contacts her, Cress tells them everything.
In case Cress is suspected as an informant, Cinder and her friends plan a rescue operation. They can’t let her sit in that satellite for another day. They’ll simply dock with her satellite and break Cress free. It should be an easy plan, the easiest step in their long-term plans. But when Cress’ Lunar mistress decides to dock at the exact same time, those plans fall from orbit.
Cress is the new character in this novel and as a reader, I’m thrilled with her depiction. This is a girl who has been completely isolated for seven years with only an occasional visit from her mistress to replenish goods and to be updated on new projects. Besides hacking into radar detection systems, her life consisted of watching Earthen television shows and movies. She constructed a computerized personality based on a ten-year-old version of herself so that she would have someone to talk to. Besides talking to her invisible self-friend, she would talk to herself or imagine herself engaging in different scenarios, especially as a damsel in distress who is finally rescued. Cress is a romantic, and her eyes are set on Captain Thorne. When he actually comes to her rescue, Cress is in lala-land.
Cress is naïve and delicate, and a little bit ‘off’ when it comes to social interactions. But when the time comes for action, Cress can be depended upon for top-notch hacking. She just has to get her head out of the clouds which can be a little difficult with Captain Thorne around. Yet, when Cress tends to find the good in people, Thorne finds himself wanting to live up to the Robin Hood-type perception that she throws his way.
The rest of the characters are scattered to the wind in Cress. Just when our main protagonists look to be on the merge, everything falls to pieces. Cress and Captain Thorne brave the Sahara desert while Cinder, Wolf, and a new Lunar character meet up with Dr. Erland in Africa. Scarlet is on her own, captured and sent to Luna for questioning and torture. Wolf, her companion from book two, is inconsolable.
There are two moments in this book that ‘get ya’ hard: When Wolf wakes up and discovers that his Scarlet is gone; And when Captain Thorne makes his move on Cress, but only because he thinks that death is inevitable. When Cinder’s story doesn’t take a backseat in this story, I found it impressive that two other main storylines could be conveyed in the same novel with a fair amount of emotion.
This is why I love to read young adult series. The imagination, the creativity, the mental escape each book provides — nothing compares!
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