Rapunzel, Rapunzel, extend the docking clamp.
And aces, is that all hair?
Cress is the computer programmer for Sybil, Queen Levana’s thaumaturge. Cress is a shell, isolated in a satellite with only her computer for company. And yet, she knows everything: Cinder’s location, the queen’s plan, and an astounding amount of information on a certain American ex-soldier on the run.
Meanwhile, Cinder, Wolf, Scarlet, and Thorne have just over two weeks to stop the royal wedding between Kai and Levana. Cinder needs to learn to harness her Lunar powers, and with Wolf’s help, she’s improving, but she needs to find Dr. Erland to really learn her powers.
To take Levana down, they need evidence. And who else can provide it than the queen’s computer programmer? But when the rescue goes awry, survival seems just as unlikely as stopping Levana.
I like how this adaptation is less about how Cress escapes the physical isolation, but more how she escapes the mental and emotional repercussions of her isolation, with Thorne to help her. I especially like the transfer of the blinding of the prince. It forces these characters to rely on one another. It’s a more powerful story, and enjoyable to read.
In terms of the overarching plot, Cress is a great continuation of Scarlet, with the return of Dr. Erland and the building of Cinder’s powers. We start to see serious consequences of the war, and how corrupt the world is at this point.
And (because there is always at least one in these books) the twist in the novel was, once again, rather predictable, since Meyer puts all the clues there, so it’s easy to put it together. It also felt a little unnecessary, just to add a little angst to Cress’ story. In fact, there are quite a few scenes in this book that could have been easily avoided: mainly, the whole darn plot. The characters make a lot of stupid mistakes that could have been avoided. (Why the heck would you send Thorne by himself? WHY?)
Cress is such an adorable addition. I love how amazed she is of the world, and I’ve seen some hate on her fragility, but guess what? If you’re world suddenly went from 200 by 200 metres to the planet Earth; from metal and computers to sand and trees and animals and human interaction—wouldn’t you be near catatonic? She’s not strong in the way Cinder and Scarlet are, but she grows to become strong over the course of the story, and I appreciate that. Also, she’s skilled. They need her on their team because she’s a hacker…how awesome is that?
I was waiting throughout Scarlet for the reveal of Thorne’s actual character. Little did I know I had to wait until Cress, where he’s patient, kind, and perservering. He’s smart and thoughtful. And yet he’s still sarcastic and funny. I love his character development so much in this book.
Jacin and Winter get more of a cameo here, but they leave some important clues for the next book. Dr. Erland’s development seemed like it was more for shock value. Iko is pretty much the same, and seeing Wolf without Scarlet is both heartbreaking and kind of disturbing.
But Cinder’s development is key to this novel. As she gets more comfortable with her powers, she begins to empathize with Levana and becomes scared of herself.
My favourite thing about these characters will always be the dynamic between them. They complement each other really well. Between Iko’s eccentricity, Wolf’s brooding, Cinder’s level head, Scarlet’s kindness and ferocity, Cress’s gentleness, and Thorne’s snark, their conversations are always genuine.
Meyer’s writing in Cress is probably some of her best. Because of Cress’s character, Meyer is forced to include some imagery, and its quite good. Meyer also finally addresses a concept which really bugged me in the books (that being the language barrier) however briefly.
But what really impresses me is her ability to balance all of these characters. With each novel the cast only gets bigger, and Meyer manages to make each memorable and distinct. Thorne’s snark isn’t the same as Jacin’s. Cress’ amazement and excitement is different from Iko’s.
Though what I wouldn’t give for some of those chapters in the Sahara in Thorne’s POV. And I do have problems with Iko’s POV. If she’s an android, why is she so emotional? Where does it come from? Did she learn it from Cinder?
Cress’ story is all about perseverance and growth. How we grow out of these fantasies we build for ourselves and instead work on building our own strength. And Cress isn’t the only one who learns this, Thorne does too.
I also like that Cinder begins to understand Levana. I always find that key in novels: understanding why the antagonist is the way they are, especially when they are very similar to the protagonist.
Recommendation: Buy. This instalment of The Lunar Chronicles is another amazing adaptation of a fairy tale with great progression of the overarching plot. Meyer’s balance of the characters and her tale of the political struggle in her futuristic world just gets more entertaining with each book. My only regret is that I marathoned this series way too early this year. I should have waited until Winter was about to come out.