In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had 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 of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
Published by Puffin in February 2014
Pages - 550
Reviewed by Isabella Samuels
Cress, the third instalment of the Lunar Chronicles, never falters once in the momentum and suspense of the series. Most series’ will understandably have one book that seems to be a lull in the action, the writer might want to develop the characters in preparation for the big finale or maybe pause the tension in order to heighten it again come the climax. Meyer has no need to do either. Introducing new characters, Cress and Jacin, the story becomes intergalactic and she commands our attention, with a vice-like grip, for all 560 pages.
Cress is not like Cinder or Scarlet. She’s not a fighter, she’s incredibly innocent and delicate and she doesn’t know what her emotions mean because she’s never felt most of them before. She has lived alone for so long she doesn’t understand how to communicate properly, but, though we sympathise, we aren’t supposed to pity. Cress is as great a heroine as either Cinder or Scarlet and we respect her as such – she comes into her own with her talents and character traits in the diverse group, becoming fundamental to the series.
There’s no other way to say it but Jacin creeped me out. But then, perhaps it’s a credit to Meyer’s writing: it’s so authentic and believable I have simply become suspicious of all Lunars.
I really enjoyed how the plot progressed, the suspense, the romance and the gift of Carswell Thorne that just keeps on giving. My only disappointment was the absence of Scarlet for a large proportion of the book, as my favourite I disliked her reduction to the periphery.
In the painful wait for the next book, Winter – focussing on Queen Levana’s step-daughter and Jacin’s childhood friend – we can only keep our fingers crossed for what we hope is in store. Not only do some of the characters’ romantic relationships need satisfying conclusions, the cure for letumosis must be globally distributed and Levana has to be fully explained and brought to justice, I’d also like to see some more interaction between the characters. Though I relished it, a lot of the dialogue seemed to be either romantic development or casual banter. Meyer does both exquisitely yet I’d really love to see some interaction between the girls, just them on their own without the constant - but still amusing - interruptions of Thorne. All of them are interesting women in their own right, the interplay between them would be fascinating to see in the run-up to the conclusion.
However, the revelations and cunning character development throughout gather into the spectacular conclusion of Cress, which, I suspect is only just the beginning to the end of Cinder and Kai and Scarlet and Wolf and Cress and Thorne and Iko and Jacin’s epic story.