The Lunar Chronicles
by Marissa Meyer
I read this back in March 2016 right after finishing Scarlet. I had been waiting to read Cress since I first read Cinder way back when. In Cress there was a lot of progression in the plot, a lot of moments that made me cringe (Scarlet…), and a lot of tense moments (oh my god, Meyer is really good at building tension).
Unfortunately, a lot of the Rapunzel aspects of the books were a little lackluster to me.
There wasn’t anything wrong, per se, with any of it. I liked how Cress’ hair tangled around her and Thorne. But a lot of their plot felt like it was there because it was in the fairy tale. Her hair gets cut, so bang, Thorne cuts it so they can get out. The prince goes blind, so bang, Thorne hits his head and goes blind.
Worse, when Cress is kidnapped and sold to Erland as a test subject, it was hard to feel concern for her since that’s exactly where she needed to go. Also, I knew Erland was her father. Although when he was finishing up his science for Thorne’s new stem cells for his eyes, I was actually relieved that he was the one with Lumeitos instead of Thorne. (Though I secretly thought Thorne might get it and that Cress, being a shell and the main source of the immunity to Leimotois) would heal him.
And that’s another thing that underwhelmed me. In Scarlet (and Cinder, too) Meyer was able to take the fairy tale at a pretty straightforward approach and reinterpret it in a sci-fi way. Here, Cress cries on Thorne because Rapunzel cries. And that’s it. She just has to get her feelings out. In contrast, in Scarlet, her grandmother is still eaten by a wolf. But a bio-engenieered Lunar wolf-man hybrid, but the idea is still there.
All that aside, I like Cress as a character. I love her sense of imagination and her anxiety about open spaces and large groups of people make a lot of sense. Her naivety works and I just love the imagery of Cress and Thorne together. I just wish the way their relationship had developed had been a little more nuanced. Like how Thorne realized he cared and tried to be more heroic and how Cress realized that Thorne wasn’t her fantasy man but still saw good in him.
I think the reason it felt lackluster was really because the part when Thorne finally realizes how valuable Cress is to him is when she’s gets captured and taken where they need to go, i.e. to where Cinder and everyone else is.
Finally – I have to give a shout out to Scarlet. Oh. My. God. What she went through with that Lunar family, especially that horrible little boy makes me shudder. And then having her pinky cut off…
But Winter fascinates me. I suspected when she started talking about the walls bleeding that she had stopped using her gift. I am intrigued to see where the story goes.