Let me set a stage for you. Cinder, a skilled cyborg mechanic and a cyborg herself, is trying to overthrow the Lunar queen, Levana, after finding out that she herself is the Lunar Princess and therefore the rightful heir to the throne. She’s assembled a team of skilled operatives to help her:
Iko, the android best friend who has spent the better part of her life stuck as the personality aboard a stolen spacecraft. Despite being a synthetic being, she’s probably the most cheerful of the group (to the point of being bubbly).
Carswell Thorne, the American soldier who stole the aforementioned spacecraft (before Iko was the personality). Even the author admits that Captain Thorne is rather analogous to Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the legendary Joss Whedon creation Firefly.
Wolf, a former special operative of the lunar queen herself, known for ferocity and a developing affection for vegetables, which he learned from
Scarlet, a French farm girl who’s grandmother is partially responsible for bringing Cinder to Earth when she was a little girl and gets tangled up in all of this because of Wolf.
Their one hope of success is named Cress, an involuntary shut-in on a satellite where she has become a master hacker and programmer who frequently gets tangled in her hair and her only friend is a digital version of her ten year old self who forces her to do bizarre exercises such as country line dancing. If you look closely, you can see vague hints of Tangled’s Rapunzel in there, but not enough that you think she’s using Disney as a template.
Upon reading this, do you feel that this is a recipe for:
D) A pretty good book
If you answered A, then you’re right. On a scale of bunnies to Stephen Moffat, Marissa Meyer is straddling the line and can’t decide which one she likes better, but she captures the teenaged reactions of all involved quite well. She may not be killing everyone you love, but bad things happen that are freak-out worthy.
If you answered B, don’t worry, most of the characters in the book think so as well.
If you answered C, then you’re probably Stephen Moffat and I high five you. I laughed quite a bit as well.
But, D is the answer.
Now, if you’ve picked up a copy of Cress from your library or a bookstore, then you’ve probably read Cinder and Scarlet already. If you haven’t, then you might be able to read Cress as a stand-alone novel, but you’d be missing out on a lot. And both of those books are worth the read. Marissa Meyers has taken classic faerie tales and added so much to it that it has become a wholly new thing. My appreciation as an English major is that she uses elements from the tales that usually get brushed under the rug, such as the prince who comes to rescue Rapunzel losing his eyesight. It makes the faerie tale a bit of a downer, but that’s the point of faerie tales, they’re warnings and definitely not meant to teach little kids that the world is full of animals waiting to clean your house and sing with you.
Back to the book, Queen Levana of Luna and Emporer Kaito of the Eastern Commonwealth are scheduled to be married and thus institute a supposed treaty between the Earthen Union and Luna. Even though everyone already knows that Queen Levana is out to conquer the whole world. Every time something doesn’t go her way, she throws a tantrum, which includes special operatives who have been genetically enhanced to be predators more than soldiers (Wolf is one such operative, but he’s okay now).
Cinder needs to stop the wedding, not only because the fate of the world rests on the few strands of sanity that Queen Levana has left, but because she’s got a bit of a crush on Emporer Kaito (For full details, check out Cinder). However, she’s currently hiding in space from both Luna and Earth because she’s a wanted criminal to both planets. That’s when she comes into contact with Cress, the master programmer who has the skills and the knowledge to make their plans possible succeed in their plans.
I don’t think I can tell much more without giving away spoilers, but I give this one 4.6 out of 5. The characters are deep, wonderful, and flawed, the story is easy on the eyes and brain yet keeps all characters involved. My complaint with it is a small one. We see a girl with long hair on the cover, but Cress loses it all within the first quarter of the book. Kind of breaks the expectation. Plus throw in a character monologuing at a very time-crunched moment, and it loses perfection. Well, and we have to wait for the final book to come out. But otherwise, Cress is definitely worth the read. As well as the other Lunar Chronicles.