This is my second time reading this series, and somehow it’s only gotten better. I’ve never been a big re-reader of books, but the Lunar Chronicles have managed to make an exception.
Cress, the third book in this series, is a fantastic addition to an already captivating story. We’re now engrossed in the perspectives of three heroines, all of which are extremely different, yet share the same ability to engage us with their varying characteristics and backgrounds.
We have Linh Cinder, our primary viewpoint in the series, who our story focuses around. Her whole life, she has been looked down upon for being a cyborg, and was mistreated greatly by her stepmother, Adri, because of it. She has been revealed to be Princess Selene, the long lost heir to the throne of Luna, and is the only hope of stopping Queen Levana’s reign of terror once and for all.
There’s Scarlet Benoit, who is inserted into the story when she goes searching for her missing grandmother, Michelle Benoit, who assisted in hiding and protecting Princess Selene when she was brought to Earth. Scarlet becomes involved with Wolf, a Lunar whose genes have been mutated for the purpose of being part of Levana’s wolf-hybrid army. The two are saved by Cinder and Thorne, the fugitive with whom Cinder is on the run, when Levana orders an attack on Earth that kills 16,000 people. Scarlet is a fiery and confident character, who will do everything she can to stand up for what’s right and protect those she cares about.
And then that brings us to Cress. Early in the series, she alerted Cinder of Levana’s plans to marry Emperor Kai and murder him afterwards, all in order to gain control of the Commonwealth and eventually the planet. Later, in Cress (the book, not the character!), Cress receives an order from the queen to track down Cinder so she can be brought to Luna and killed, ensuring she won’t be a threat to Levana’s rule. But instead, Cress contacts Cinder and the two come up with a rescue plan, one that will free Cress from her satellite prison for good and finally allow her to step foot on Earth. But events don’t go as planned, and soon Cress finds herself on Earth, yes, but completely stranded, her only company Thorne, who she may or may not have a huge crush on.
I find that Cress’s character really differs from Scarlet’s and Cinder’s in the sense that she’s had such different experiences than them socially. Having spent seven long years of her life imprisoned on a satellite with no company whatsoever, she is a very shy, timid, and slightly socially awkward character, whereas Cinder and Scarlet lean more on the loud and expressive side. This makes her very interesting to read, as most YA heroines, though many of them intriguing as well, are written as feisty, intense, and badass… Not to say Cress isn’t any of those things. As shown in the book, Cress is very intelligent and skilled, but fails to recognize how incredible she is as a result of spending her whole life being degraded by her “Mistress”, Sybil Mira. This gives Cress a very complex character dynamic that really kept me hooked throughout the whole story.
Another thing, regarding characters, that I appreciate about this book is that it introduces Cress, a new main character, to the series, and while she is the primary character in the book, Meyer still spends portions of the book developing other characters too, such as Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne and Wolf. This is something I really love about the Lunar Chronicles, as most YA series that switch point of view every book completely stop the development of one character to move on to the development of another. For instance, not to throw any shade, but in the Caraval series, book one is told in one character’s perspective and only spends time developing said character’s personality and traits. Then, in book two, that character is completely abandoned when the perspective switches to that of another character, and the only character that is developed is her. Do you guys see what I’m getting at? The Lunar Chronicles, Cress in particular, are able to introduce and develop new characters throughout books, while still continuing to develop characters that have been around since earlier in the series.
Beyond characters, I also enjoyed this book simply because it was absolutely gripping. For me, with the exception of Renegades, Marissa Meyer’s books have always been aggressively unputdownable, and Cress is no different. The plot moves quickly, juicy action sequences and dramatic twists and revelations keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The weird thing is, the first time I read the Lunar Chronicles, I actually thought that Cress was the weak link of the series. I liked it, but not nearly as much as its predecessors, Cinder and Scarlet. After reading it a second time, I’m not sure what’s changed, but I’m certain that my opinion of this book has definitely improved.
To wrap this review up, I will confidently say that I think Cress is one of those hyped-up YA novels that actually does deserve the buzz– With incredible character development, stunning imagery, and excellent pacing, it is a book that is well worthy of being apart of this wonderful series.
Have you read any of these books yet? If you have, definitely leave a comment down below, as hearing your thoughts would be great! If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of a Lunar Chronicles fanatic, but if you absolutely hated this series, I promise not to go off on you! 😂 I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!! ❤