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Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer | #FairyTaleFortnight

I've waited so long to be able to share this review with you guys. SO LONG.
[Almost as long as Cress' hair. ba-dum-tss]

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
Get It | Add It
Sci-Fi / Fairy Tale Retelling, 560 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Okay, so technically I've already talked about this book a good deal, and it has been reviewed (briefly, but numerous times...) via vlog. But this written review is long overdue, but I'll be honest when I say part of why I wanted to save this review for Fairy Tale Fortnight is because I loved it so much that I don't really even know where to begin...

As Cress, the third installment in what is turning out to be a fanfreakingtastic series called The Lunar Chronicles, made its way all the way to #1 on my favorite books of 2013 list, the glowing gah-mazingness of this review probably isn't going to come as a surprise to anyone. Now I get to try to tell you all of the glorious reasons why I loved this book so much, and why I think, if you're not already in love with The Lunar Chronicles, you should be; I've never been much of a squee-er (I pride myself on being all eloquent and shit), but turns out, it's a lot harder to eloquently convey your thoughts on all the book feels without spoilers and/or squeeing than one would think.
But I shall try.

I've made it clear in the past that I'm a fan of Meyer's writing style and her creativity. I adore the clever merging of classic, well-known, well-trod territory like the fairy tales used with the also-known but wholly separate worlds of far-future sci-fi and dashes of dystopia. It's the type of oddball blend that could go disastrously wrong, but in Meyer's skillfull hands, it becomes a really clever, really fun story and world that's greater than the sum of its parts. So my feelings on that are already well-known; each of the 3 books so far has been pushed enthusiastically and placed in my Top of the Year videos every year since Cinder debuted. But with Cress, I realized that it's the tiny little things that tip the balance for me, one way or the other, and make this series something special — unexpected attention to detail, some unobtrusive little thing that makes such perfect sense, but most writers wouldn't even think to include, can make a book a winner. In this case, things like the way Cress reacts to the outside world, right down to the tiniest details, makes perfect sense. Thorne's interactions with Cress are a perfect example of this: her surprise at the feeling of facial hair — this first confrontation with manliness and difference from her own smooth skin — is something most authors would overlook. I love that Meyer didn't. Things like that instantly make a book more real to me, and the more I can believe the characters in the little things, the more I'll believe them in the big things, all those things you want your reader to suspend their disbelief and go with.

...such as a bit of a tendency towards convenience in some of the plotting, in the ways the characters come together all at the same time, in the same far-flung location, etc. Things like that could tip the scale in the opposite direction and get under my skin, but I think it's a balancing act — you can get away with some convenient story telling if there are obstacles and serious moments to balance it out, and Cress had that in spades. It's tightly plotted, full of non-stop action and Big Moments and revelations, but without the confusion of chaos that could drag readers out of the story or bog them down. Meyer juggled many characters very well, and I loved each perspective and thought it added to the story. I want to repeat that and really highlight it for you, as that was my one complaint about book 2, Scarlet — I felt Scarlet was a little all over the place in terms of POV and character-juggling, but Cress is INSANELY impressive in this department. Meyer really did juggle many, many characters very well, and I really, truly loved each character's perspective. I was torn between being sucked into the current POV and wanting to get back to so-and-so's POV to see what was going on — I loved them all, and the back-and-forth, rather than detracting from the story and lessening the impact of each POV with split attention, actually amped up the tension and the fast-paced excitement of the story.

When I read Cinder, I knew it was a series I would love all the way through, but as with most series whose first books are amazing, I figured it'd steadily go downhill just a touch, and never capture the same excitement or love that I was infected with in the first book. It's just the nature of the game, afterall — we like novelty, we like fresh characters and new exciting worlds, and all of the thrill of discovery that comes along with getting to know these characters and worlds. And on a more Lunar Chronicles-specific note, I just loved Cinder so much! Both the book and the character, everything that went on in it, I loved it all and I didn't think anything would top it. I didn't want anything to take me away from Cinder and her story, which very likely added to the issue I had with Scarlet's split POVs. But I kid you not, even though it sort of shocks me to say it, I think Cress topped Cinder for me. I loved it. I loved it

And the wait for Winter is going to be torture.

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  1. OH MY GOD!!!! I'm dying!! I WANT (NEED) to read Cress (Honestly, I don't know why I haven't bought it yet) buuuuuuuuuuuuut, with your marvelous review, I cannot resist it so I'll read it very soon!! <3 I'm so glad you liked it! I think that each book of the series is even better and better!

  2. I absoulutely loved Cress also. My favorite fairy tale is Rapunzel so I was more excited for this novel than I was even for Scarlet. I fell in love with every moment of the novel. It was beautiful in every way. I just wish there was more Scarlet.

  3. Loved your review! I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

  4. Oh- THIS SERIES. Gah- I'm fangirl-ing right there with you. I couldn't believe it when I read a couple reviews saying this book wasn't as good as the others- that they though Cress was wimpy or some-such. I'M thinking that what Meyer did with her character was not only genius, it made perfect sense with her circumstances. Also- these books have a HUGE cast. I love the variations and the vibrancy she puts in their different personalities. AND THE PLOT!- expertly woven indeed. Goodness- WINTER can't come soon enough… ^^

    1. Yes, exactly! Not every character should be the same - some should be wimpy (though I don't know that I'd consider Cress wimpy, rather than just sheltered). It is so much better to have a character who is a clear product of their environment, who suits their surroundings and has a story all their own that makes sense to who they are. Marissa nailed that.

  5. I first read your review on Cinder ooohh so long ago and didn't check out the books until a few months ago and scolded myself for taking so long to get to this wonderful series! But my issue is that I work full time and am a full time doctorate student and my time reading for pleasure is nonexistent. So I was able to listen to Cinder on audiobook in the car and finally Scarlet became available through my library on audio too. But they don't have Cress yet!! I requested that they order it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I'm a bit impatient to know what happens next. But I'm glad to know that you liked the 3rd book as much as the first. And incase anyone asks, and you haven't listened to them for yourself, the narrator of the audiobooks for the Lunar Chronicles does a fantastic job and are definitely worth listening to. It is a huge cast of characters and she does the voices for each main one very well. Thanks for the review.

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  7. I love The Lunar chronicles! Marissa Meyer is utterly brilliant! i loved Cress especially but (no spoilers here!) but some scarlet POV parts made me feel sad, terrified, angry, and sickened!


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