Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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.”
Review: I am happy to say that my prediction made at the conclusion of the Scarlet book review (“… I think Cress may bring back some of the imagination and color that was ample in Cinder but missing in Scarlet.”) turned out to be a true; Cress was a major success and reinstated my faith in the Lunar Chronicles series. I mean, there isn’t much to dislike about a Rapunzel retelling that has the heroine trapped in an isolated, orbiting satellite as opposed to an entrance-free castle. This third Lunar Chronicles installment treks a sweeping path through Meyer’s fantastical world, with the story going from outer space to Saharan Africa, from New Beijing to Luna and back again. Whereas Scarlet and Wolf dominated the previous novel, this third book turned the focus once again onto Cinder and Thorne, with the addition of Cress. Given that “everybody’s favorite cyborg mechanic” is the reason I fell in love with this series to begin with, it was a welcomed shift. As mentioned in the Book Jacket Synopsis, the group does face a split very early on: Scarlet is kidnapped by Queen Levana’s head thaumaturge, Cinder escapes with an injured Wolf and a Lunar guard with questionable loyalties, and Cress and Thorne find themselves stranded in the Saharan desert, with only the wreckage of Cress’ satellite for company. As these three parties attempt to find their ways back to one another, they each face their own obstacles and triumphs. I won’t spoil it any further, but suffice it to say that Cress was filled with lush landscapes, great character development, and a strong sense of adventure that has already become closely associated with Meyer’s name. One of my favorite relationships in the Lunar Chronicles remains that between Cinder and her android, Iko. Iko has been programmed beyond the normal android capacities, and in doing so has developed a personality (complete with sarcasm, daydreams, and humor) of her own. The following exchange occurs when the entire group is attempting to escape from the New Beijing palace. It’s a reminder that, while Iko is more advanced than many of her android counterparts, she still has a long way to go before truly having a grasp on human emotions.
“Iko bent toward her. ‘That dress looks amazing on you,’ she said. ‘Cinder, doesn’t she look amazing?'”
“Cinder sighed as the elevator came to a full stop. ‘Iko, after this we’re going to start working on occasion appropriateness.'”