Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress
Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends
I received an ARC at Comic Con from the author and publisher because they are awesome.
Releases February 4, 2014
560 pages
YA / SciFi / Robots / MOON PEOPLE!

Download the first 5 chapters here!

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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.

The short version of this review would just be me, squealing incomprehensibly while jumping around and flailing in the most fangirlish of fangirl excitement. That is what this book did to me.

The long version: It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I’ve babbled about it since before Cinder ever even came out in 2012. It’s cyborgs and twisted faerie tales and spaceships with snarky criminal pilots and MOON PEOPLE. It’s that perfect combination of fantasy and science fiction with sprinkling of romantic moments that turn me a bit into a twelve-year-old girl. Despite all that, I was a little concerned how Meyer was going to stuff another faerie tale into a series that already had two main heroines and a cast of at least four regularly featured males and an android. Would it feel crowded? Would some characters get pushed aside to focus on the new characters?

I shouldn’t have worried. Meyer knows what’s she’s doing and this 560 page book felt too short in all the best possible ways. Even knowing the faerie tales the characters are based off of, there is no way you can predict what’s going to happen. Characters are featured as much or as little as the pilot requires, but everyone has a purpose and a place. It didn’t take many pages before I wanted to crawl inside this book, wrap its pages around me and live in this world forever.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR CINDER & SCARLET AHEAD

With three capable heroines, I was afraid that their voices may start blending together, sounding the same. I really need to stop being afraid of things when it comes to Marissa Meyer because she clearly knows exactly what she’s doing. Cinder is strength and determination against seemingly impossible situations. Scarlet is practical yet skeptical, especially when faced with kindness in a horrible place. And then there’s Cress, the socially awkward hacker with an epic fangirl crush on Captain Thorne, who is a lot stronger than the initial anxiety and occasional squeaks make it seem. These are three fully formed women going against an evil queen and her wolfman army and I want them to be my friends.

Scarlet gets pushed aside for a chunk of the book due to the circumstances of the pilot, but she gets a whole book full of amazingness in just a few chapters and pushes open a lot of the doors that will drive the plot of the final book in the series. Spoiler free as per usual, but I will say that the peaks into the fourth book in the series makes it hurt even more to know that it will be at least another year before it’s published.

The bulk of the story is split between Cinder trying to figure out the next step in her war against the evil Queen Levana, and Cress, who is stranded in a strange land that doesn’t want her kind around. Cinder needs to stop a royal wedding while Cress needs to survive hostile territory. Somehow both their exploits lead into an Ocean’s 11 style caper in the last half of the book that was brilliant and kept me up way past my bedtime because I couldn’t walk away.

I was kind of indifferent to Captain Thorne in Scarlet because he wasn’t Kai and I really liked Kai in Cinder. In this one, he is featured more prominently in all his snarky, rakish glory and now I might have kind of a crush on him. He is a hero of epic romance novels if only romance novels had spaceships, cyborgs, moon people and blindfolded fighting.

Meyer masters creepy nightmare inducing torture scenarios as well as she does her romantic hero. Whatever fear of spiders, snakes and creepy-crawlies I may have had before pales in comparison to the images she has put into my head. Between those images and the amount of action going on in Cress, I was glued to my couch with a racing heartbeat and no intention of getting anything done until I was finished.

Somehow Marissa Meyer keeps getting better and better with each new book in the series. I can only imagine the amount of chaos and action and awesome heroine action scenes and downright amazingness that will await us in Winter. I can’t fathom another book topping this one for best of 2014, which is saying something considering we’re only 16 days in. Captivating writing, engaging characters and action-packed stories make this a phenomenal series.

 

This book was totally worth standing in line for over an hour at Comic Con to get a signed version from Marissa. Opinions are my own. Yes, I'm a fangirl.