Tuesday, 3 November 2015

'Cress' by Marissa Meyer (2014)

Synopsis: Cress is a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale and is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles. Crescent Moon ("Cress") Darnel is a 16 year old girl who has spent the past seven years of her life imprisoned in a satellite orbiting Earth, forced into hacking the planet's computer systems on the orders of Queen Levana. The only thing that's broken up Cress's isolation have been the monthly visits from Levana's sinister henchwoman Sybil. With nothing but her netscreens for company, Cress has become a considerably talented hacker, has developed a highly romanticised vision of the world, and has formed a massive crush on the fugitive Captain Carswell Thorne. Recently Cress has been given the task of tracking down the Rampion - the spaceship carrying the fugitive Linh Cinder and her fellow team of rebels. Appalled, Cress has instead been doing everything she can to hide their signal from Levana. Meanwhile, the crew on-board the Rampion have been drifting through space trying to avoid getting captured and work out a plan to overthrow Levana. Cinder then decides that their best option is to question the girl who warned her about Levana's plot to assassinate Kai and conquer Earth - Cress. When they then manage to make contact, Cress tells them everything she knows and the group offer to rescue her. Cress is elated at the thought of being finally free but the rescue mission then goes catastrophically wrong when Sybil makes an unexpected visit. Scarlet Benoit is captured, Wolf is shot, and Thorne and Cress crash-land in the Sahara. The pair of them are then forced to trek across the desert so that they can find their way back to Thorne's crew and prevent Levana's wedding to Emperor Kai and her invasion of Earth.

Cress isn't my favourite book out of The Lunar Chronicles so far (which is Scarlet) but I still found it to be a fun and enjoyable book overall. Like the previous two books in the series Cress is a clever and imaginative take on a classic fairytale, the story is full of adventure and suspense, and I really enjoyed the development of some of the characters. Cinder continues to go from strength-to-strength, Dr Erland comes back in this one (with his story being unexpectedly sad and touching), and I loved Iko's expanded role in this book. Kai gets some great character growth in this one as well (his decision to end the Cyborg draft) and I loved the fascinating glimpses that we got of Princess Winter and her love-interest Jacin Clay.

There's also the new heroine called Cress who comes into this story and, on the whole, I quite liked her. Cress is a very different character to Cinder and Scarlet as she's much more shy, naive and socially awkward than those two girls are - which makes a lot of sense given her extreme isolation for so many years. Cress's squeaking did get on my nerves at times (it was annoyingly repetitive and helped to make her come across as even younger than her 16 years), and I had a few reservations about her relationship with Thorne, but I did really like how intelligent and imaginative she was.

As I've already mentioned, Cress isn't my favourite book in The Lunar Chronicles. I enjoyed it slightly more than I did Cinder but definitely not as much as I enjoyed Scarlet. Scarlet and Wolf are by far my favourite couple in the series and neither of them got nearly as much page-time in Cress as I would have liked. The two of them had better have major roles in Winter to make up for it! And the other main reason for my not enjoying this book as much as its predecessor was because Cress's relationship with Thorne just isn't working for me yet. I didn't sense any of the chemistry between them that I sensed between Scarlet and Wolf and, well, I don't like Thorne as much as everyone else seems to. Yes he's dashing, gets some funny lines, and has a daredevil attitude towards life but apparently Marissa Meyer based his character on both Han Solo and Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds - and in those characters I see a level of depth and substance that I simply can't in Thorne. I want Thorne to be more.

The final book in The Lunar Chronicles, Winter, will be a retelling of the Snow White fairytale and will be coming out in less than two weeks. I might not be getting round to that book straight-away though because I want to read Meyer's prequel novel to the series and some of her short stories before then and there are a couple of other books that I want to get through fairly soon as well - but nevertheless I'm still looking forward to finding out how the series will end.

Rating: 3.5/5

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