Cress is currently my favorite book of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I say current because the last book, Winter ,was recently released and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It will be pretty hard to top Cress though. Winter has some big shoes to fill. As this series progresses, the books not only get bigger, they also get better. The storylines are increasingly complex, and the character’s lives are entwined and interconnected in a way that inspires awe for Marissa Meyer’s creativity and writing capability. Cress was the latest and therefore largest book in the Lunar Chronicles, and ergo the best. Due to the aforementioned pattern though, Cress’s reign may soon be ended by the concluding book in the series, Winter. Instead of discussing the potential dethroning of Cress, let’s talk about why this book was so amazing.
Cress is Marissa Meyer’s take on the tale of Rapunzel. However, I would say her version more closely mirror’s Disney’s Tangled. The main character is slightly awkward in an endearing way, starry-eyed for her hero, tough as nails, and unendingly optimistic and idealistic. However, instead of being trapped in an ivory-covered tower in an enchanted forest, she is trapped in a small pod ship in space. In the infinite, endless, blackness that is space. This fact only reaffirms my belief that Cress is far stronger than even she believed herself to be. She has been isolated for years, with her only human interaction being with the evil assistant to the Lunar queen, who seems to be the fake mother figure of the story. She hasn’t let it kill her spirit though. She dreams of the Captain Thorne she has been tracking (for her evil overseer) and protecting (from her evil overseer) coming to rescue her. Through the accounts of his shenanigans, she has painted an image of him in her head that is near god-like. However, when he does come to her “rescue”, they both find themselves plummeting towards earth in a pod ship–pretty grim. Obviously, they are smashed to smithereens, and instead begin their (quite hilarious) adventures to be reunited with Cinder and crew.
One of the things that makes this book standout from the rest of the series is Cress. She is so optimistic despite her years in exile from humans. She has to deal with being a lunar among a group of ragtag humans, with the exception of Cinder. Yet despite her status as a lunar, the gang readily accepts her. Why? Because it’s pretty damn near impossible not to like Cress. She’s smart, strong, funny, and a ray of light in an increasingly bleak world.
Captain Thorne is also my favorite hero of all the men in the Lunar Chronicles. His wit and humour had me doubled over laughing more times than I can count. We first meet him in Scarlet, so he has the advantage of being an established character. However, we see even more of him in Cress, and as a result get an even better idea for his character. It’s ironic how he sees himself as a rebel and a failure, and Cress sees him as a hero and an upstanding man. The truth is, he’s a little bit of both views, and that’s what makes him so endearing and real. His antics and commentary don’t exactly hurt his likability either.
One thing that I love so much about the Lunar Chronicles and that really sets it apart from other YA series is the recurring POVs of characters from previous books. We get the POV of Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, and even Iko, while also seeing through Cress and Captain Thorne’s eyes as they take their place center stage. At first, this annoyed me. I loved Cress and Thorne so much that I felt like I wasn’t seeing enough of them, and this frustrated me. I’m not particularly fond of Kai’s POV, and there were a few random POVs scattered throughout the book that I felt were unnecessary. Looking back, the one complaint I have is also one of the things I love about the series as a whole. I wasn’t ready to let go of Cinder, Wolf, and Scarlet as MCs, so to have their POVs continue throughout the series was awesome. I just wish Cress and Thorne had gotten a little more page space in the book. Maybe they’ll fare better in Winter.
Overall, I’m giving this book 5/5 stars. It was funny, well-written, captivating, and another successful installment in the Lunar Chronicles. I can’t wait to begin Winter and watch the rest of the story unfold and conclude. This series really is a gem.