Rating: 5 Stars
Age Recommendation: Young Adult +
Warnings: Violence, Character Death, Potential Triggers (references to torture)
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale-Retelling
Pages: 550 (Puffin paperback)
“She gasped, her eyes landing on the one screen that stood out from the rest, and the single bright green message on a field of black.
FROM USER: MECHANIC. ETA 68 MINUTES.
She heard Sybil’s steps approaching as she launched herself across the room. She shut down the screen just as the satellite door whistled open.
Heart in her throat, Cress spun around and smiled.”
Cress, by Marissa Meyer, is the third installment in the Lunar Chronicles. Focusing this time on the fantasy, sci-fi version of Rapunzel, Meyer tells the story of a girl who has been held captive in a satellite for at least seven years. Understandably, she hasn’t adapted well. As a child born on the moon, she’s now trapped between her home and the earth, where she would much rather be. Although she’s forced to work for the Queen of Luna, Cress has no desire to do so, and would much rather be part of something bigger.
This book, by far, is my favorite of the three I have read so far. I am about to dive into Winter, the fourth book in the series, but I think that Cress might have just topped my favorites list – somewhere up there with The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. It’s funny, it’s heart-wrenching, it has phenomenally developed characters.
As a bonus, this story is also vastly different from the original tale of Rapunzel. While Cinder’s backstory as a character is rather on par with Cinderella, and Scarlet’s is indeed very different, Cress’s story is thrilling. In this book we learn more about all of the characters, from those just mentioned to Wolf, Captain Thorne, Emperor Kai, Iko and more.
I truly dislike being that reader who gets overly-invested in the romantic interest, but in this case I think the development of that particular section of the plot was incredibly well-done. In an attempt at avoiding giving away exactly who I’m talking about, so I don’t give spoilers, let me try and explain. The male romantic interest for Cress is, perhaps, who the reader might expect. He’s funny, daring, and thinks less of himself than he ought to, which all adds up to a surprisingly genuine bond between Cress and the man in question. I can honestly say that I didn’t expect it to work out the way that it did, and that only made me love the match – and the book as a whole – all the more.
There were, admittedly, a few moments where a character’s thought process surprised me. Where they somehow came to conclusions that seemed a bit out of reach, for example. And while I did pause and look at the page a bit funny, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the novel.
Cress imagines her way into and out of situations, and although she is the most naïve and excitable of the cast, she has strengths as much as the others, and it’s clear that each person brought in or out of this series is important and relevant and necessary to the actions taking place. I appreciate that much more than I can say, because I have so much trouble keeping up with stories where characters are thrown in just to have more characters. This series doesn’t need that, and while there is a large cast, it’s almost impossible to get anyone mixed up because each character is so unique and has their own purposes, goals, personality and everything else.
This series, even before its finale, has risen in the ranks to be not only my favorite young adult series, but quite definitely my favorite series of all time. I genuinely hope that anyone who reads this will go pick it up if they haven’t yet, because it is a series that anyone can like, regardless of if young adult fiction is something they typically reach for.