Review: “Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)” by Marissa Meyer

13206828Title: “Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)”

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy, YA, PNR, AWESOME, Space Opera, Retellings

Publication Date:  February 4, 2014 (Macmillan – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

☆: 5/5 stars – Another great installment in this quartet!

Review: You know, guys, I’m starting to see the greater parallels with Sailor Moon (of which Meyer is a great fan) as this quartet progresses. But you know what? I’m entirely okay with that. That little observation aside, I think that the way that “Cress” is put together is going to throw some of the fans of this series off – I know I was at first – but I encourage everyone to hang in there. “Cress” is just as enchanting and amazing as the other books – if anything, more so, and it was fun to see Meyer playing with how she was structuring her storytelling. Just like “Scarlet” doesn’t immediately delve back into the lives of Cinder and co., “Cress” does the same, except with a more extended timeframe. Regardless, “Cress” is AWESOME, and definitely one of my favorites for this year. Definitely on my top ten list for 2014 so far.

Because, once again, all technical areas of this book were more or less perfect, I’m going to skip examining those and go for themes I thought were interesting that popped up instead. The only technical area where I felt things improved quite a bit were the pacing and structure, which I talked about in my intro. It all aligned a lot better than “Scarlet”, and “Scarlet” was pretty well done.

I think what I loved most about this book was its presentation of expectations versus reality, especially with using Cress as that vehicle for that presentation. All fairy retellings, especially those set in the present (or future), all need or have a reality check built in. While we were getting a lot of that fairy tale-like atmosphere to the first two books (and novellas), I felt like we needed more of the whole expectations versus reality in this series. We got some of it in “Scarlet” – especially when the loss of Scarlet’s grandmother really hits her. But for some reason, dreamer Cress and her expectations of what might finally happen to her once she’d be able to get out of that satellite really stayed with me. Why? Because, I suppose, I feel like I know what being in that kind of solitude feels like. Maybe not completely – I’ve never been trapped in space – but I have some kind of notion of how it feels. And even though she does have some of her wishes come true, they definitely don’t quite live up to what her expectations of those possible realities were.

There’s also a lot of this going on with Cinder – now that she’s being expected to lead a rebellion. Note: this is not a spoiler, as it’s made pretty clear within the first few chapters of the book. Because she’s so publicly against Levana, because she’s on the run with some of the now most wanted people between Earth and Luna, and so forth. The expectations of the people versus the reality of what those expectations entail are really pounded through our heads as the audience in this book, and for that, I have to give Meyer props. A lot of authors go with the whole “it’s a tough choice, but our heroine is strong enough to do it!” sort of thing, but here, Meyer really makes us wonder whether or not Cinder has the stones to really go through with being the leader of a planet-wide rebellion (or, if you count the Shells, a one and a half planet-wide rebellion). It’s really quite a brilliant way of writing the ups and downs of being a fairy cyborg, but you know, whatever works. And this worked really well.

Like Steph from Cuddlebuggery, the one small plot issue I did have was the ‘why does everyone have to be paired up?’ question. I know, it made for good timing and good plot/character development, but aside from that, it was starting to annoy me just a taste. I’m kind of hoping that trend doesn’t continue in “Winter”.  I guess that’s my only one teeny issue with how the series has progressed. However, I do like how Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship is called into question repeatedly, and how it may really not be real love. Is it Levana’s mind control? Magic? Or is it real love? We see that question pop up repeatedly in this installment, and I found that quite refreshing. Same with Kai and Cinder – though with Cinder, it’s kind of made clear that on both sides, it’s definitely a crush/infatuation.

Overall? A wonderful new bit to this series, and it’s so nice to see Meyer grow over the course of her books. Definitely one of my faves of 2014, and one of my fave series within the last five years. I’m going to be sad to see the end of things with “Winter”, but I’m hoping we’ll get a novella or two in between, and hopefully a print copy of all of the e-novellas so far at the end. “Cress” is out now from Macmillan Children’s in North America – RUN, don’t walk, to your closest store (or e-store) and check it out. Seriously, guys, it’s that good.

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