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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Cress: Lunar Chronicles 3" by Marissa Meyer (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Marissa Meyer's Official Site Here
Read FBC's Review of Cinder Here
Read FBC's Review of Scarlet Here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles. Cinder is the first book and Scarlet is the second book. It is a YA novel that is a unique re-telling of the famous Rapunzel story. There are elements of sci-fi, fantasy, magic, political intrigue, adventure, mystery and romance.

Cress is 550 pages and was published February 4, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends.

ANALYSIS: I admit it. When I read Cinder – Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles – I wasn't impressed. There was an idea there and I felt the need to add all these new technologies and illnesses overshadowed from how great the book could be.

I still kept up with the series and Scarlet was a little bit better and showed just enough improvement that I continued on to Cress. All I can say is I am glad that I kept up with the series, because Cress was the book that did 'it' for me and now has me hooked.

Looking back, I think the Lunar Chronicles is a series that gets better as you read it. Cinder is filled with so many new and interesting things that it is almost overwhelming. Scarlet, keeps those new things, yet focuses more on developing all of the characters. Cress sort of ties up a lot of loose ends and questions that I had and really pushes the main plot – the war – forward.

Cress introduces a handful of new characters to the mix, which takes some time getting used to while reading. Meyer doesn't just throw a character out there and hope readers 'click' with them. She takes a character and really spends time developing them, building up a background/story for them, and really just lets the character grow/change before the reader's eyes.

Just because there are new characters doesn't mean the old ones have gone stale or stalled in terms of development. All of the characters, even loveable Iko, still continue to grow. Cinder still struggles with her new found powers/background, Throne is faced with new challenges, and Kai is slowly coming to terms with the arrangements that he has made and what his future holds.

One of the biggest highlights of Cress – and this entire series – is that Meyer has taken well-loved and very familiar fairy tales and made them her own. While reading these books, you get a familiar sense that you know the story, but it isn't the same old, same old. There is something new and unique added to each and every character. This could be a different background and new personality trait, no matter what it is different.

Another highlight is that Meyer takes readers to new, exciting areas within the same 'universe'. Cress is mostly held within a remote African village. This keeps the series 'fresh' and exciting.

Does Cress have some flaws? Of course. Throne, one of my favorite characters, seems to do a 180 in personality. I found him lacking some of his former 'spark', which was a little disappointing.

I also found that Cress is a typical 'mid'-series book. It is designed to move into the big war between Earth/Lunar, but it doesn't start the war. This means there is a lot of plotting, scheming, and mindless wandering. That isn't to say it isn't good, but it is clear this book is meant to leave readers wanting more.

A few chapters to the end, Cress introduces Winter to readers. Winter is mad as a hatter and probably one of the characters I am most excited to explore in the next novel. She's crazy – or so you might think. Giving readers just a small taste of this character was brilliant. It made you want more of her, yet you'll have to wait till the next book for more.

Overall, Cress was a good read. In fact, better than I expected. The quirks and questions that I – and many others – raised throughout the series are slowly starting to get answered. Meyer continues to grow as a writer, while keeping her ability to bring new takes on old classics.

If you love this series, Cress certainly won't disappoint. If you haven't tried this series and love fairytale retellings or are just looking for something new, I recommend you try this. If you were like me and found Cinder lacking, I'd say to give it a try again because this series certain gets better as it goes along.



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