Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cress by Marissa Meyer

At the end of 2015, I challenged myself to read the entire Lunar Chronicles series, according to Marissa Meyer's recommendations. I had hoped to finish the series by the end of the year, but came a little short. I reread Cinder and Scarlet, as well as the novellas in between the books, and managed to finish Cress just after the new year.

You can read my reviews of Cinder and Scarlet through the links. I am somewhat ashamed that it took me so long to read Cress, but that's the way books are: too many titles, too little time.

The Lunar Chronicles is a fairy tale-science fiction mash-up. Cinderella is part cyborg and Red Riding Hood is in love with a genetically modified super soldier. The earth is being decimated by plague and the only salvation is from Lunar (As in from the moon) Queen Levana, who is evil. In the third installment, we meet our Rapunzel, Cress.

Cress is a Lunar, but she doesn't have any powers. (Normally, Lunars can control other people with their minds.) Since Cress can't control or be controlled, she is labelled a shell. Shells are traditionally rounded up and killed, but Cress ended up being sent to live on a satellite. She has all kinds of technological training and hacking skills and she does lots of secret work for her Mistress, Sybil, the head Thaumaturge/bodyguard for Levana.

All Cress thinks about is the world outside her tiny satellite. She watches videos, looks at pictures, and listens to music from earth, dreaming that she might experience earth firsthand. She also develops a huge crush on Carswell Thorne, the cocky criminal who escaped from prison with Cinder. She read about his various crimes through the years and considers him to be misunderstood.

Thorne, Cinder, Scarlet, and Wolf are all traveling on his (stolen) ship the Rampion when they contact Cress to get some hard evidence of Levana's plans (At the end of the first book, Cress had been the girl in the android's file who warned Cinder about Levana's bad intentions towards earth). They decide to rescue the stranded girl, but are interrupted by Sybil. Team Cinder escapes, but Sybil captures Scarlet and takes her back to Luna. They also end up with Jacin Clay, Sybil's pilot. Unfortunately, Sybil sends the satellite plummeting to earth...with Thorne and Cress still on board!

Fortunately, Cress was able to slow their landing, and the pair end up wandering through the desert. Thorne can't see because of the crash, and they have a terrible time between the hunger, thirst, and foot pain. They eventually come across a caravan of helpful people who escort them to a city. Thorne ends up disappointing Cress by gambling and flirting with an android escort, which gives their rescuers the chance to kidnap Cress and sell her to someone buying Lunars.

Meanwhile, the Rampion crew heads to Africa to meet up with Dr. Erland, the secret Lunar. Erland ends up being the guy buying Lunars, and he is also Cress' father. Team Cinder decides to stop the wedding and save earth by kidnapping Kai. There's some minor betrayal, but it all goes off without a hitch otherwise.

I remember the first time that I read Scarlet, it was sometimes hard to follow the story because I had trouble keeping track of whether the narrator was Scarlet or Cinder. It was easier the second read, but I have a bit more trouble with Cinder/Cress here. I am still a fan of Cress and Carswell Thorne is fantastic, so I love this book. We even get a glimpse of Miss Winter towards the end to gear us up for the last book.


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