Review of Cress, by Marissa Meyer


The Lunar Chronicles, Book Three

by Marissa Meyer

Feiwel and Friends, New York, 2014. 552 pages.
Starred Review

Cress continues the Lunar Chronicles, begun in Cinder, and continued in Scarlet. All of the books play off a fairy tale, in a science fiction setting, but the story they tell is something wholly new. All of the books do feature a romance for our heroine, and each of those romances is totally different from the others.

I completely loved Cinder, but wasn’t as enthusiastic about Scarlet. I didn’t really buy the creation of wolf-human hybrids, or if they exist that Scarlet would fall in love with one. Cress gets back to the rest of the story, so I again loved this volume.

In case you don’t get the reference, Cress is a version of “Rapunzel,” since that’s essentially what the German word means. Never mind that in this case, “Cress” is short for “Crescent Moon.” Instead of a tower, Cress is imprisoned in a satellite. She’s good at hacking, so she tracks all the Earthen news feeds for the Lunar Queen, and enables them to hide the Lunar ships.

Cress has been ordered to track down Cinder and Thorne, who now have Scarlet and Wolf along with them. But instead of giving them up to the Lunars, she contacts them and convinces them to rescue her. But then the witch — actually, the mind-controlling thaumaturge — returns unexpectedly, and the rescue doesn’t go as planned, separating the team into different groups.

Cress and Thorne are thrown together, trying to survive in the desert. Meanwhile, Cinder needs to make plans. Above all, she needs to stop the wedding of Queen Levana to Emperor Kai.

Marissa Meyer is skilled at keeping us interested in several different plot threads at the same time. She keeps the sections short, but they’re equally packed with action, so we’re never annoyed with her for what she left behind.

Cress is quite different from our earlier two heroines. She’s na├»ve and given to daydreams, which makes sense for a girl imprisoned in a satellite. Yes, she has long hair. The thaumaturge didn’t allow sharp objects on the satellite. She’s short, and she’s a shell with no mind-control powers, so you might think she wouldn’t help their mission. But her detailed knowledge of Lunar cyberwarfare is exactly what they need.

This book works as a book in a quartet should — it’s got a wonderfully satisfying story on its own, with a beginning, middle, and end. But there’s definitely a bigger story still going on, and Queen Levana still threatens Earth at the end of this book. The next book, Winter, is promised “soon,” and I can hardly wait!

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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