(Of necessity, this review will contain spoilers for Cinder and Scarlet, but I will attempt to refrain from giving spoilers for Cress itself.)
I so, so enjoyed Cress. I’ve tried to write a cohesive review, but it’s turning out to be just a list of things I enjoyed. So here we go! This book is the third in the Lunar Chronicles series (you can see my review of the previous books here), and the emotional stakes and moral dilemmas are much higher in this book than any of the previous books: Cinder and her friends have to make decisions about sacrificing friends, the cyborg draft, and what Cinder can do to stop Levana without turning into her.
Cress is a Lunar shell, who was taken by one of Levana’s thaumaturges and forced to become a hacker, living alone in a satellite for several years and spying on Earth’s doings. When she is finally able to escape and lands on Earth, she is understandably emotional. This brings me to one of the things I loved most about Cress as a heroine: she isn’t stereotypical. My main problem about Scarlet was that she was a stereotype, reckless and headstrong, cynical but loving. Cress is none of those things. She is scared, naive, and sometimes childish. She doesn’t always know the right thing to do–in fact, she hardly ever does. She casts her lot with Cinder and the gang out of sympathy to their cause, sure, but she isn’t able to help them out for the majority of the book and is sometimes even considered a liability. Looooooved this!
I also liked Thorne way better in this book than in Scarlet; he is so much more mature and helpful. Cress (the innocent, inexperienced one) and Thorne (the suave criminal) together are awesome. I found their interactions much more compelling than Scarlet and Wolf’s. Speaking of which, Scarlet is out of the picture for most of the book, but we have to deal with Wolf’s melodramatics throughout most of the story. (I still don’t like him, or Scarlet much.)
Again, there are subtle references to the original fairy tale–in this case, Rapunzel. Cress is short for Crescent, like the moon where she was born, but I thought there might be a connection to the name Rapunzel as well. Rapunzel=a kind of lettuce, so maybe Cress=watercress? Just a thought. More significantly (*slight spoiler alert?*), Thorne is blinded upon their descent to Earth, which parallels the original Rapunzel story, when her prince is blinded by the witch keeping Rapunzel captive.
Ooh! Oooh! And ***spoiler alert*** Cinder and Kai are reunited! So awesome. I love them as a couple and individually, and their reunion was just what I would have hoped–not too sweet, full of mistrust, but still with some sparks flying.
On the whole, Cress is much more powerful than either of the first two books. Marissa Meyer has really hit her stride in this book. It makes me that much more excited to read Winter when it comes out later this year!
Rating: Re-read Worthy