YA Review: CRESS by Marissa Meyer

Have you ever read a book where you’re anxious to get to the end and so want to read it as quickly as possible, but at the same time you want to linger? That’s how I felt about CRESS by Marissa Meyer. I think the temptation to linger was enhanced by the knowledge that there is still one book left in the series, so it would definitely be a cliffhanger. And it was :).

If you haven’t read CINDER and SCARLET, you should probably skip the description for CRESS as it includes spoilers for the first two books. And by the way, if you haven’t read those two, why not? Go get them right now!

Cress by Marissa MeyerIn 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.

Here are the five things I loved most about this book.

1. The romance – I love how the romance in each of these books has been unique to the characters involved. CINDER had the beginnings of a fairy tale, SCARLET had the steamy attraction, and CRESS has the sweet crush that might turn into something more. I can’t wait to see how they all end up in WINTER!

2. Cress’s coping – As the description said, Cress has been cooped up in a satellite for seven years, so she doesn’t have much experience interacting with other people. She relies on role-playing to get her through her fear and discomfort. Here’s an example:

“She was not a silly little girl hiding beneath her desk. She was–she was–

“An actress.

“A gorgeous, poised, talented actress. And she was wearing a sequined dress that sparkled like stars, one that would mesmerize anyone who saw her. She was not one to question her own power to charm those around her, any more than a thaumaturge would question her ability to manipulate a crowd. She was breathtaking. She was–

“Still hiding under the desk.”

There are some funny moments when she says her scenarios out loud, but no one gives her a hard time about it.

3. The fairy tale elements – As with the previous two books, all the familiar parts of the story you expect are there–the hair, the isolation, the rescue, even the tears. They just have a sci-fi bent :). Marissa Meyer does such an excellent job weaving in the familiar with the new.

4. The connections – SCARLET was all about taking two distinct stories and working toward bringing them together. In CRESS, the characters are already on the same page, working toward the same goals, even if they’re not all together. That doesn’t mean they all know everything yet. There are still secrets to uncover–one in particular that it’s hard to believe the character involved doesn’t see–but we discover it’s good he didn’t know at the time. I believe every single action the characters take, and with such a big cast of them, that’s quite a feat.

5. The ending – If I hadn’t expected it, I might have been frustrated by the ending, but I learned from the first two books that this one would leave me hanging. And yet, it covered the main part of Cress’s story, just as the first two books covered the main fairy tales for Cinder and Scarlet. I guess the lesson to learn is that the fairy tale doesn’t end with the story you’re used to hearing. As much as I want this crazy winter to end, the book WINTER can’t come soon enough!

Have you read CRESS yet? What did you think? Are you as in love with Thorne as I am?

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