by Marissa Meyer
To be published on February 4, 2014
by Feiwel and Friends
Source: borrowed an ARC through Around the World ARC Tours.
Connect with the author: website | Twitter | Facebook
Summary of the book from author website: Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth. 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 being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.My take: Not only has The Lunar Chronicles become one of my favorite YA series, I also think that these books are some of the most creative fairy tale retellings around, transferring Old World tales to a futuristic new world and pulling off an ambitious multi-story mash-up.
The series started with Cinder-- a sci-fi Cinderella retelling in which a cyborg meets a handsome prince-- and has now incorporated the story of Little Red Riding Hood (in Scarlet, book two) and, most recently, the story of Rapunzel in this latest installment, Cress. As each new fairy tale is integrated, new characters are introduced, each of whom plays a role in the story. However, Cinder remains the main character and her story goal -- to claim her real identity and stop the evil Queen Levana -- is what will seemingly continue to drive the series until its conclusion.
Continuing to follow all these characters -- Cinder and Prince Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, and now Captain Thorne and Cress -- does make for a lot of intersecting plot lines, and a lot of pages. Cress is a long book, at 560 pages, but it was filled with action, drama, and a touch of romance. I've always loved the story of Rapunzel and really admired the way it was re-imagined here, with Rapunzel's tower now a satellite, Rapunzel a computer hacker, and the witch transformed into a creepy minion of the villainous Lunar Queen. In a series that has two tough and feisty heroines in Cinder and Scarlet, I also liked the way that Cress was shy and a little awkward. After all, she's been living alone in space for years.
When Cinder and her gang become aware of Cress and how she might be able to help their cause, they plan a rescue that goes terribly wrong. As a result, the group is split up. Meanwhile, poor Prince Kai is hanging around his palace in New Beijing, feeling an invisible noose tighten around his neck as the date of his wedding to the evil and cruel Queen Levana draws nearer. Kai is growing into his role as a ruler, involving himself in some political maneuvering, and has developed a theory about the identity of the missing Lunar Princess -- and rightful heir to the Lunar crown -- Selene.
Kai's a great guy, but my heart belongs to Captain Thorne. I'm a huge, huge fan of the brash, wisecracking Thorne and was looking forward to him finally meeting his match in the romance department. I must confess that I felt a feeble spark of chemistry between Thorne and Cress, rather than the crackling flames that I was anticipating. Their relationship was sweet, with Cress's feelings for Thorne more like a schoolgirl crush and his feelings for her more protective than passionate. But this could change, right? I hope so.
In any case, don't worry -- there is plenty of action and drama in this installment. In fact, Cress seemed to me like the most action-packed of the three books so far. There are firefights, there's kidnapping, and a peek back into the household of Cinder's evil stepmother. I was also happy to see that Cress returned to the subplot of Dr. Erland and the leutmosis plague, a major plot element in Cinder that takes a sinister turn in Cress.
If that isn't intriguing enough, Cress also gives the reader a glimpse of the couple who will come into play in the next book in the series, which will be reportedly based on Snow White. Let's just say I'm intrigued. No, make that VERY intrigued! And that Queen Levana's stepdaughter is a very … unusual character, one I can't wait to see more of.
I loved the direction that Cress took the overall story and am more excited than ever for the next installment. Political intrigue, action, a royal wedding, an evil stepmother, a secret princess -- what else could you want in a story? If you haven't yet tried out these books, now is the perfect time to get reading!