Cress is the third book of the series, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Like its previous two books, it is also a sci-fi fairy tale retelling. It is the retelling of the long golden-haired lost princess Rapunzel. The protagonist of the book is named Cress short for Crescent Moon, and instead of being hidden in a long tower in a deep forgotten forest, she is kept in an isolated satellite far from both the Earth and the Luna.
Cress being a shell meaning immune to lunar powers was taken away from her parents only a few days old. She has spent all her life till now being a prisoner in a faraway satellite all by herself. Cress has grown up to become a brilliant hacker but was forced to do the bidding of the evil queen Levana for her survival. She is the one responsible for Lunar ships secretly entering Earth without detection, tracking down Emperor Kai, Cinder, and her accomplices; but she is also the one who alerted Cinder before the ball that Levana plans on killing Kai after their marriage. Months after the fiasco at the ball she suddenly gets a comm from Cinder. It is her one chance to get out of her jail and live the life she always dreamt of, but running out with a bunch of fugitives is never a safe idea.
Three storylines of Cress, of Scarlet, and of Cinder merge into this book. The one thing that I love about The Lunar Chronicles is that after each book a whole new plot gets merged into the main story, and thanks to the author at no point it feels forced or out of place. Along with a new storyline comes new characters. There are a lot of characters in this book but all the characters are so distinct and well defined that Marissa Meyer leaves no scope for confusion between any two characters. I enjoyed the equation between Cress and Captain Carswell Thorne which was also a different take on the story of a damsel in distress and a heroic knight. Though the love story between a shy girl and a handsome bad boy has been repeated countless times throughout the history of literature, there is some innocence embodied in both the characters that it feels warm and real. Captain Carswell Thorne gave me the vibe of Eugine from Disney's Rapunzel throughout the book with that charming smile and the "I'm too beautiful to die in a desert" personality of his and I'm all up for it. We get a glimpse of Princess Winter at the ending, whom the fourth book is based upon, which gets us worked up for the next book in the series.
I liked this book better than the previous two. There is a perfect balance of characters' background story, strategic planning, action sequences, and romance in this book. From the very first page, it kept me hooked and at no point, the narration felt tedious. Cress has elevated the whole stand of The Lunar Chronicles and made it grand. This is a must-read book for any fantasy lover.
“You're asking the cyborg fugitive and the wild animal to be the welcoming committee? That's adorable.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cress