February 25, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

"[...]Maybe there isn't such a thing as fate. Maybe it's just the opportunities we're given, and what we do with them. I'm beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don't just happen. We have to make them for ourselves."
-from Cress by Marissa Meyer

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**This review contains spoilers for Cinder and Scarlet**

The long anticipated third book in Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles series is finally available! I don't know about you, but I was so excited to finally get my hands on Cress (I was the first on the list at the library!). I even got to talk about this series with Tahereh Mafi last night! Seriously! (More on my wonderful experience meeting Tahereh tomorrow!!) If you haven't started this series, I highly recommend that you stop what you're doing and go get Cinder ASAP. As always, my reviews are spoiler free for the book I'm reviewing, but not for the previous books in a series.

True to form, Cress continues the story begun by Cinder and Scarlet while introducing a new title character. Based on the fairy tale of Rapunzel, Cress is a Lunar shell held captive in an orbiting satellite by thaumaturge Sybil Mira. With her excellent computer hacking skills, Cress' job is to monitor everything going on between Luna and Earth, namely spying on Earthen governments and helping Lady Sybil find Cinder for Queen Levana. But Cress has grown tired of her captivity and has been romanced by Earthen culture, especially enamored by Captain Carswell Thorne. When Cinder and company work to free Cress from her satellite prison, Cress comes face to face with freedom, friendship and her handsome crush. But after all of our favorite characters are split up from each other, they all must figure out how to work together independently to end Queen Levana's evil reign and plans to infiltrate Earth.

So much happens in this book! At first I was overwhelmed by the hefty 550 pages (not that I complained), but I was soon impressed that Meyer was able to condense so much action from so many characters in so few pages. I almost gave this book 4½ stars because it does take some time for the story to gain its footing; but when there are six main protagonists in addition to two separate planetary governments and many other perspectives on top of that, I cannot fault the gradual pacing necessary for a solid foundation. There was also one part where I felt everything clicked together too easily, but I think with a series of this magnitude, I can forgive that. If you feel this way upon beginning this book, have faith that in the end all of your patience pays off as many loose ends begin to come together. 

Each of our title-worthy female protagonists have struggled with feeling isolated and different from others; Cinder as a cyborg and Scarlet as a spitfire. Cress has faced similarly difficult circumstances prohibiting her from finding her identity, literally being cut off from civilization, not belonging to Luna or Earth. Her social awkwardness and coping mechanisms for facing reality reinforce her imperfections, which solidifies this series of fractured fairy tales. The terms "fairy tale" and "princess" often bring about the idea of a perfect female and little adversity faced to reach an easy life. Through this novel, Marissa Meyer continues to challenge the idea of what a fairy tale truly is by reshaping the perspective of a princess and a female heroine. My favorite quote of the book is when Cress tells Thorne that maybe we have to make epic romances for ourselves (quoted above) and I think this is a powerful theme throughout this series.

Another major theme throughout this book is friendship which overpowers even the obvious ideas of romance in these books and the fairy tales from which they are inspired. While there is no shortage of romance, I found that the friendship between everyone is much more prominent and this novel solidified these friendships. Cinder's relationship with Wolf was especially interesting to me because they develop a special level of trust in this book. It was equally fascinating to watch Cress adjust to being surrounded with friends after indefinite isolation. While Meyer's series touches on all the things that make us love fairy tales (romance and adventure, princesses and evil queens), I think it really focuses on the parts of fairy tales we may have overlooked as children, such as the love of friendship and the difficulty of fighting a war alongside your friends. 

As I mentioned, many things come together in this book that make the ending more fulfilling than most novels. While I'm utterly disappointed that I have to wait so long for the final book in the series, Winter, I'm also very satisfied with the end of this part of the series. This book is a non-stop adventure and I found every character equally fascinating to follow. If you're a fan of this series, I'm sure you will enjoy this book and it will only have you more excited for the next! 

Bottom Line: A must read for any fans of fairy tales, retold classics or just plain wonderful adventures! Just make sure you start with Cinder and Scarlet! 5/5 Stars


  1. I really liked the complexity of this book and how she manages to put so many personality in all her characters. The plot is thickening and I agree about how the thinks are coming together!

  2. I haven't read this one yet but I'm so glad you loved it! I need to get to it soon!!


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