Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cress - Marissa Meyer

[Please note that this is the third book of the Lunar Chronicles, so there may be minor spoilers in this review. If you haven't started this series yet, but you're curious, please check out my reviews for Cinder (Book 1) and Scarlet (Book 2).]

Cress Marissa Meyer book cover
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #3
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you Ksenia!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (modified, from Goodreads)

Cress is my first five star read of 2014, and for good reason! Basically, this book deserves a love letter as I simply loved everything about it - the characters, the stories, the feels. Even though the sheer length of this novel seems intimidating, I tore through it in a couple of days. If you're looking for a series that gets even better with each book, the Lunar Chronicles is one such series and Cress is certainly proof of that.

One of the things I love most about Cress is that the story, as with its predecessors, is full of twists and turns. Every time it looks like things are going to fall into place and work out perfectly, something happens and the s**t hits the fan! Each installment of the Lunar Chronicles has gradually gotten more action-packed as the stakes have risen, and the way it's executed is just so perfect. All the craziness in Cress felt like a roller coaster ride designed to pull me in all different directions, even when I wasn't prepared. It was seriously a thrilling, exhilarating --

Midori: My mistress is currently recovering from the extreme "feels" induced by the memory of her Cress reading experience. She will return once she has managed to regain her composure. For the moment, you will be entertained by me, her android friend. In the meantime, dare I say that my favorite part of this novel is the character Iko? She is the epitome of a solid secondary character.

Now that I've sufficiently recovered from my feels, let's move on to something Midori already mentioned -- the characters in Cress. The characters are honestly what make this book series so special! Since we have quite a number of them, let me make it easy for you and put my thoughts into a comprehensive list.
  • Cinder continues to demonstrate very human qualities, even as her cyborg capabilities come to her aid time and again. She's dealing with the mounting pressure of all these obligations and emotional ties, and it threatens to overwhelm her more than once here. Her bravery, her sense of responsibility and her need to do the right thing are probably my three favorite qualities.
  • Kai, too, is understandably under a lot of pressure as he's the leader of his country and trying to come to terms with his impending marriage to Queen Levana of the Lunars. He's so admirable though, because he works so hard to be steadfast, honorable, good and sacrifices everything for the sake of his beloved country.
  • Scarlet is very much the same person she is in her own book - good, sweet, loyal, fair. She's still fighting for the people she loves, even if she's not as skilled as everyone else. My heart broke over her in this one multiple times, and I just wanted to scoop her up into a hug by the end.
  • Wolf is decidedly different in this book. Oh sure, when he's being controlled or in fighting mode, he's still aggressive and intimidating. But after something that happens early on, he withdraws into himself, turning into a zombie instead of a fighter. While I'm sure that this made others feel like he wasn't as likable, I understood why it was so, and so I still love him lots!
  • Iko, as Midori has mentioned, is a wonderful character! She's still sassy, always ready with a comeback for any discussion. But she also accepts the gravity of a situation when necessary, and is willing to stand by Cinder and the others in the fight against Levana. Her intelligent contributions and her enthusiasm (and not just about fashion) are two of the best things about her.
  • Dr. Erland is a brilliant, calculating character. Readers will note that he was absent for most of Scarlet, but that changes here. He's a complicated character because it's uncertain whether he can be trusted or not for most of this novel. But his story twist just tore at my heart completely when it was finally revealed, and brought tears into my eyes.
  • Queen Levana is a lot scarier, which means she becomes an even more believable villain. Her evil plans become clearer, her inhumane treatment of enemies is downright horrifying and she just makes me want to run screaming whenever she's mentioned. 
  • Jacin and Winter are two new characters introduced her, and they're really interesting. Jacin is one of the Lunar guards, but it's interesting to see he's only loyal to his princess. Winter, on the other hand, is the one I'm more curious about; she seems like a mix of crazy with good intentions, but only time (and her book) will tell.
  • Cress might be naive and inexperienced, having spent seven of her formative years trapped in a satellite. But she's also extremely good at what she does know how to do, which is basically hacking and surveillance. She earned lots of points with me for being brave and strong, even in the face of all the unfamiliar situations she finds herself in. She pushed her boundaries, and it's pretty awesome to watch.
  • Thorne is still very much as he was in Scarlet - cool, sarcastic, and perhaps slightly arrogant. What I loved best about him now was his surprising vulnerability. He has to learn how to rely on other people, which is something that frustrates and irritates him. It's interesting to see that a lot of his emotions are pulled into the open even as he opens himself up to others. That certainly helped me fall even more in love with him! 
While these characters are all great individually, their relationships also add strength to Cress. It was always fun to see the "merry band of rogues", as I've dubbed them, together, whether it's plotting and scheming, or in the thick of a fight. The romances (Kai-Cinder, Wolf-Scarlet, Thorne-Cress) were all slightly on the back burner, but the feels definitely burned strong. There were lots of fleeting little moments that simply meant the world to me and had me grinning like a fool and swooning like a ---

Midori: Mistress has currently started babbling incoherently about her extreme swooning, and will return shortly. I, myself, am particularly enamored with Captain Carswell Thorne, as he has been nothing but heroic in this book. I certainly felt for him as Mistress did, especially when he was --

I hate to interrupt Midori, but she might well have spoiled Cress for you readers. We can't let that happen now, can we? But her last statement is certainly a perfect segue into the "feels" part of this review. 

I feel very fortunate indeed that I had people (Hiiii Judith & Jen!) I could talk to while I was reading [though occasionally Midori had to take over when I was incapable of messaging properly]. I honestly don't know how I could have survived without being able to share all my feels with someone! 

Reading Cress, as I've mentioned, is like a roller coaster ride -- a number of highs, a number of lows, and the craziest of turns. Every so often, I'd need to stop for a breather so that I could regain my composure before I started again. Cress made me laugh, and it made me cry. It basically made me feel so many things, and I loved that aspect of it so, so much.

The last chapter of Cress is the perfect sort of ending -- one that satisfies the reader, but also leaves the reader anticipating what happens next. As I've said in my reviews of the previous books in this series, Marissa Meyer is a brilliant author and I look forward to seeing how she wraps up this story in the next and final installment, Winter

[Look out for my stop on the official Cress blog tour next Thursday! You'll get a chance to win all three books in the Lunar Chronicles.]

14 comments:

  1. I'm just about to start this and I AM SO EXCITED!! Glad to hear it was amazing---and I love the way you did your review with your android friend! :)

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  2. I LOVE this review! I can't wait to read this!! I was supposed to be on the Lit Lush ARC tour but the book got lost in the mail. :( Curse you post office!! But I have it preordered so I will be reading it the day it comes out. Hopefully. Idk. Ignite Me comes out on the same day. It's going to be a tough choice....Great review!

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  3. Wonderful review! I'm dying for my copy. Of course, I'm in the middle of SCARLET now so I'm a bit behind, but I have a feeling I'll have devoured it in a couple days. You really nailed Meyer's best feature: the characters. I was so pleased to see Cinder so involved in book 2. I can't wait to meet Cress! You've double-sold me. (:

    C.J.
    Sarcasm & Lemons

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  4. I only skimmed your review, as I haven't read Scarlet yet, but it's so great to see that the final book didn't let you down! I love your enthusiasm for this series and can't wait to continue it myself sometime later this year. I'm especially looking forward to meeting Wolf and Thorne. Thanks for sharing, Alexa! :)

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  5. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;alsdnf;aoiwenf;an!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (Translation by blogger's android: I can't wait to read this - Cinder and Scarlet are a couple of my FAVORITE books - Marissa Meyer is brilliant - The book is almost here - So excited!)

    And your review just added fuel to the fire. You lucky thing, getting to read it already… ^^

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  6. LOVE Midori and all of your feels. I felt the same way..there wasn't one BIG moment that happened and made me swoon but quite a few things that just all melded together to make a wonderful WONDERFUL book. I want to re-read as soon as possible and I can't wait for Winter.

    Wolf is my love but Thorne...OH THE SWOONS. Also I was texting Britt and Amy while reading this and it made the whole thing even better because I had someone to swoon with! I can't tell you how many pictures I took of different parts of the book :)

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  7. Brilliant review!! Omg! Now I'm more than excited! I can't wait....what do I do with myself till Feb 4?

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  8. I loved the story and it made me so excited to read WINTER!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  9. I love how you've described the romances, fleeting moments that left you grinning; those are my favourite moments to read! I'm still a little nervous about the length of this, but with such a great cast of characters, I shouldn't be!

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  10. It totally deserves a love letter! This book was sooo amazing. So many feels and Marissa Meyer is just too darn brilliant. I LOVE the way these stories come together -- and YES what amazing characters she's created!!

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  11. Oh this was a really fun review to read! When I first started this series, I really didn't think it was going to become a favorite. Fast forward through Scarlet + Cress, and I'm in love! I cannot wait for Winter. I read this a few months ago when someone loaned me their copy, and now I'm so excited about my finished copy arriving (pre-ordered woohoo!) so I can re-read.

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  12. I SERIOUSLY JUST CANNOT WAIT. I am a masochist and keep reading glowing reviews like this AND I JUST WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS FOR MYSELF. (two more days. just two. more. days)

    Marissa Meyer is a rockstar. I can't wait to really meet Cress and get more time with all of these characters. I love this story. This world. The boys. I am just so stoked.

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  13. You already know my thoughts on this book but OH MY GOD IT'S SO GOOD. I love that you made a list of all the characters because as I said in my review, it's the characters that make this series so amazing for me. Cinder is probably still my favorite of the three MCs, though I love Cress a whole lot as well. Iko is absolutely amazing, and I love Thorne and Cress so muuuuch. While I don't like Wolf as much as you do (or Jacin so far, for that matter), I LOVED Winter. She is just completely insane, and I love it. Her book is going to ruin us all. I love Marissa Meyer, because she's a genius.

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  14. I think Cress is the perfect addition to The Lunar Chronicles and an incredible third book! There's plenty of action, intrigue, and romance to easily hold the reader's attention and I easily and quickly read through its many pages.
    Recommended Mike Addiego Fishing Lodge Alaska

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