*This review does contain spoilers, considering it’s the third book in the series.*
“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Feelings: This is my third week in a row to review a book from the Lunar Chronicles. I really enjoyed Cinder and Scarlet, but I freaking LOVED Cress. This book had a whole different tone than the other two. Cinder was focused on world-building and setting the platform that the rest of the series would jump off from. Scarlet was a little more gritty and intense with a lot of action packed into those pages. Cress, however, had a little more substance. We spent more time with Thorne, who adds that lighter balance to Cinder’s struggle and Wolf’s rage. We met a couple of new characters, Jacin and Cress, who added mystery and innocence, respectively. Cress, herself, is dramatic and naive, adding a sprinkle of wonder to this (now) well rounded troupe.
Characters: Thorne & Cress – Thorne is the best. I liked him in Scarlet, but he was a pretty minor character. In this book, though, he was a beautiful, shining star. His dialogue with Cress was pure gold. He picks on her a little and is almost always sarcastic, but he’s never hateful or mean-spirited. I have to give him props for that, because Cress is like a small child he’s having to drag around. She’s so very naive and innocent, understandably so considering she lived in a satellite for 7 years…talking to a younger, computerized version of herself. I was concerned at first that their pairing would be an annoying insta-love situation, but it wasn’t. Cress had a huge crush on him, yes, but then they journey across the Sahara together, Thorne lost his sight, and he survived meeting her dad. Their partnership is turning into something refreshing and real. I’m all for that.
Wolf & Scarlet – I need more of these two together! When he basically said he loved her, I died. When she was gone and he was sleeping in her bed and hugging canned tomatoes, I died. Scarlet’s hanging out with freaking crazy Princess Winter and I need Wolf to rescue her STAT. I need more character development for Wolf because he’s kind of plateaued. Scarlet cannot catch a break. It wasn’t enough that her grandma was kidnapped and killed, then she got kidnapped and torn away from the only person that makes her feel safe…now she’s had to part ways with a finger and is in a menagerie run by a psycho Lunar princess. No biggie.
Cinder & Kai – Kai continues to grow and develop into a world leader. When he got rid of the cyborg draft, it was like he was standing up and saying, “I’m accepting, now. I may even be willing to forgive Cinder.” That was a big move for him, a game changer. I can totally see why he would think that Scarlet is the missing Princess Selene – all his evidence pointed to her. Now that he knows Cinder is Princess Selene, I want to see what his role will be in all of this. Will he help their rag-tag bunch of misfit toys to make the galaxy safe again? Or will he return to Earth and play ignorant to their antics? Time will tell! I was really happy to see Cinder step into her destiny in this book. It wasn’t until the end of Scarlet when she really decided to accept who she really is. Now, she’s literally fighting for all the people of Earth AND Luna, ready to step into her role as Queen. She has no idea what that’ll entail, but she knows it’s better than Levana being Queen any longer. Rock on, Cinder.
Comparisons: In my opinion, Cress had the most interesting fairytale retelling elements of the bunch. I loved it so much that I’m going to dedicate a huge paragraph to it. Ha! Here we go: The original Rapunzel story is very similar to the one depicted in the musical “Into the Woods”, as opposed to the one in “Tangled.” There’s a young woman who’s obsessed with her neighbor’s Rapunzel leaves from her garden. (Another name for the Rapunzel plant is RAMPION, like Thorne’s ship.) The young woman’s husband jumps the neighboring witch’s fence in order to get the plant for his wife. When the witch catches him, she makes him promise his first born child, a child she names Rapunzel. Classic Rapunzel, she is locked in a tall tower and the witch has to climb the girl’s long hair up to get to her. A prince hears Rapunzel singing and watches how the witch gets up to her, then copies her. (Thorne likes Cress’s singing voice, as she hums and sings a lot.) The witch tricks the prince by cutting off Rapunzel’s hair and tossing it out the window, pulling him up the tower. In Cress, “Mistress” Sybil glamours herself to look like Cress, tricking Thorne into coming aboard the satellite. In the original story, the witch finds out the prince has been visiting Rapunzel and cuts off her hair, but in our book Thorne cuts it himself. Then the prince falls from the tower and is blinded by the thorns at the bottom. (Kind of like how THORNE falls to Earth in the satellite with Cress, hitting his head and becomes blind.) Then in the fairytale, the prince finds Rapunzel and the…twins…she’s given birth to (I mean, he visited her a lot up in that tower) and they live happily ever after, after her tears of joy restore his sight, that is.
Final thoughts: I’m going to reread Fairest before I dive into the new, last book in the series: Winter. That book is just staring at me…waiting to be read. I’m coming for you, Winter! I give Cress all of the stars! I really, really loved this book a lot. It was so funny, action packed, heart warming and it’s all leading up to something wonderful…I can feel it, friends!
Pick this up if you liked:
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Goodreads rating: 4.49/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5
My rating: 5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn