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.
Forget damsels-in-distress, Marissa Meyer and Cress take it one awesome step further: dudes-in-distress (you don’t even understand how long I’ve been waiting to pull this rhyme off ha!). Cress was one of those books that enthrals you and doesn’t let you go until you’ve finished it, and by the end of it, all I wanted to do for the rest of the day was go find some The Lunar Chronicles action figures of Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf and then of course Cress and Thorne, to just smash together until I was over the existential book crisis that came upon me once I realized I had to wait a year, a whole fricking year, to read the series conclusion, Winter. Where to start with Cress, really, after I’ve made my infatuation with Meyer’s fairy tale retellings clear in my reviews for the first two books? Cress is everything that Scarlet was, and then some more. This time around, we’re following so many plotlines, one might think it would get too overwhelming or confusing, but there’s none of that in this book.
After Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf set out to rescue Cress, a Lunar teen held captive in a satellite in space, this is where this third instalment’s adventure starts off from. We get to know Crescent, a lonely and gifted hacker girl who has managed to keep Cinder and her Rampion crew hidden from the Earthen Union and Lunar manhunt, and who now needs some rescuing herself in order to continue her efforts to help the fugitives. When Thorne boards her satellite to bring her on board the Rampion, things take a turn for the worse, and the group members find themselves stumbling through new hardships in the wake of it. While Cress and Thorne journey on together, Cinder and Wolf team up with a new character (who’s going to be the new male lead in Winter by the way and who’s as intriguing and mysterious as it gets) and Scarlet has to rely on her strength to get through the new obstacles laid in her way. And let’s not forget we’re returning to New Beijing for a suicidal kidnapping scenario.
What really made Cress so unique as opposed to its forerunners Cinder and Scarlet was the fact that Holy Mother of God, these girls kick so much more ass! I didn’t think it was even possible, but Meyer’s female characters have turned the old fairy tale preconceptions around once again. Kai, Wolf and Thorne need some serious ass saving, and it’s such a joy to accompany Cinder, Scarlet and Cress in their self-discoveries. None of the characters are ignorant of their weaknesses, they are all aware that they have vulnerabilities that stand in their ways, but they chose to continue and do the right thing anyway, and do so despite their own struggles. The spectrum of action and emotion in Meyer’s work just sucks you right in and has you walk through the story along with her protagonists.
Cress was also such a delight to get to know, because much like Scarlet, she’s not afraid to be human and to be a woman. She’s knows of her shortcomings, but she’s forced to meet them head-on even with Thorne in the picture. They are equal in their relationship, and it shows when Cress becomes the heroine of her own story. Sure, Thorne does his part in saving her, but they save each other, and I think that’s the only way to write a real and great love story. The same goes for Cinder and Kai, whose scenes melted my heart. I didn’t feel too fuzzy towards Kai initially, but damn, the boy knows how to pull you in (or you know, Meyer does with her wonderful writing). He’s a lost boy, but he’s set to do the right thing once more, and his character development was pretty impressive. Kudos to Wolf as a character as well, because he’s facing a lot of his fears and despite his doubts, he lives up to all his potential eventually.
Just like Cinder and Scarlet, Cress ends on an awe-striking finale, and while there’s definitely a lot to be resolved in Winter, I have no qualms about how Meyer will pull this off. Because let’s be honest here, she doesn’t just have a great background to her story, Thorne, Cinder, Iko and co. are also the heart of it, and you can’t go wrong with characters as honest and refreshing as them.