Sunday, April 3, 2016

Another Random Bullet List of Thoughts... and Stuff: Cress

Cress -- Marissa Meyer

Book 3 of Lunar Chronicles series
**Based on Rapunzel

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

I always have a hard time putting my thoughts together for these Lunar Chronicles books. I barely even put together a review for Cinder; and I took some time before deciding to just slap together a bullet list of thoughts for Scarlet. I guess I’ll probably end up doing the same thing for Cress as well as Winter.

While I love reading them, love the characters, and love the world, I can’t help but feel like there is just something missing that keeps from generating the feels like I keep expecting to have generated. Don’t get me wrong. I love these books.

I feel for the characters (they certainly are going through a lot to merit feels), but I don’t have those FEELS (with all the capitalization, bolded and italicized font, and exclamation points). I wish I knew what was missing, or maybe what I’m holding out for.

One thing is for certain though--there is no lack of love for Cinder (the character) and her continued plight and development throughout the series. If I had FEELS for anything in this entire series, it would be for her even though we have an enormous abundance of characters to choose from.

There is no denying that the world of the Lunar Chronicles series is fascinating, the storyline intriguing, the tone both dark and whimsical at the same time, and the characters all unique and so excellently created that you can’t help loving them.

The only big complaint I have about Cress, really, is that, because of the abundance of characters, the narration comes off extremely scattered and haphazard. But it’s not like it was really a bad thing that there are so many characters and each of their parts in the book were written very well; so well, in fact that I really wanted to know each and every one of their stories, but got cut off just as soon as we were “getting to the good part”, and then switched to another beloved character. It felt like I came across a cliffhanger for each and every chapter, which DID start to get a bit frustrating after a while.

The Story:
Cress is a shell with a gift for programming tech and hacking networks. She has been imprisoned in a satellite orbiting the earth almost her entire life so that she can spy on the Earthens for her queen and her Mistress Sybil as well as keep all Lunar spacecrafts invisible while they float right outside of Earth’s galactic territory without being known.

But over the years of observing the humans of Earth, Cress imagines forming a bond with them, even to the point that someday, some hero from Earth will come rescue her from her satellite prison. She has dreams of going to Earth and living a free live, away from the Lunar Queen Levana’s tyranny and her Mistress Sybil’s evilness.

And so when Cinder and crew contact her in hopes that she will be able to help them on their quest to reclaim the Lunar throne for Princess Selene and bring down Queen Levana and save the world (yada, yada, yada…), Cress jumps at the opportunity and even pleads with them to help her escape. Because, though she wants to help, she also knows that her Mistress Sybil will probably never let her live to see another day if the lunar thaumaturge finds out about her betrayal.

And so another adventure begins when the rescue mission goes awry and Cinder’s entire crew is separated with Wolf injured, Scarlet taken hostage, and Thorne and Cress crash landing in the middle of a desert in Africa.

The Random Bullet List of Thoughts:
There is a lot more that happens in this book that could be worth mentioning. But that would mean that I paraphrase the entire book. And that’s probably something even harder to do without giving away too many details.

Simply, this was an enjoyable read for so many reasons, but this was also a less than satisfactory read, if only because I feel like the book could have been a bit longer and a little bit better handled concerning each of our different parties of characters.

On Carswell Thorne:
  • He’s adorably arrogant and flirtatious and so, so FLAWED. But I can’t help but to be charmed by him in spite of all his many, many flaws. It makes him very REAL and very human, and at the same time, very likable and relatable.
  • I don’t mind that he’s not really a hero, but that his actions can be heroic when he so chooses. His priorities might be a little off-base at the strangest times, but at the same time, he takes charge and gets moving when the occasion calls for it.
    • Because not everyone needs to be a self-sacrificing, noble martyr to be the hero of a story. And I like that he’s not a typical hero.
  • And I like his calm, flippant attitude in the face of danger. He so easily just accepts what’s happening even while it distresses him, and then moves on to the next subject, because things need to be done, decisions need to be made, and lives need to be saved.
  • And his slowly built, reluctant friendship with Cinder... lovely.
  • He is definitely a fun charmer and provides what little humor and comedic flair that might be missing from the Lunar Chronicles. Him and Iko, that is.

On Cress:
  • I don’t really know what to say about her.
  • I like that she’s a genius computer tech who can hack into systems, disable security networks, and redirect satellite and radio signals to hide fleets of ships. That’s kind of cool.
  • And I guess her naivette is kind of endearingly DIFFERENT from our other two heroines.
  • But her priorities sometimes seem a little skewed.
  • And her naivette really also doesn’t help win her any favors and seems a bit extreme and seems to get her into a lot of trouble.
  • And her insta-love for Thorne gives me pause considering the few instances she views from Thorne’s childhood to be “saintly heroic deeds” are what she thinks she’s fallen in love with.
    • Because whether or not Thorne had good intentions for his illegal AND socially and morally NOT okay actions, he still did a lot of terrible things. Sometimes good intentions can’t be used to discount bad actions.
  • However, I DO appreciate that Cress and Thorne get a chance to get to know each other before Cress finally determines that, “Yes, she is in love with him.” And I do appreciate that their romance is quite subtle.
  • But the character of Cress still gives me pause because I haven’t yet figured out what to think of her.
  • She’s different. I’ll give her that. But at the same time, she’s not so different from a lot of the YA female characters I love to hate.

On Cinder:
  • There is no denying it. This girl becomes more and more kickass as the story progresses.
  • Her development is so stellar that I have no words.

I really don’t have words.

On the rest of the Lunar Chronicles cast of characters:
  • Kai... Kai is still the standard, boring male hero with a big plot point conflict, but the personality of a stick. He’s got a lot of scenes; scenes that I just didn’t really care for all that much, but that I knew were crucial to the story’s progression...
  • Wolf... had started off as lovely and adorably boyish as I remember him from Scarlet (the book). And then he withdraws and becomes a comatose shell of the Wolf that I had come to love when Scarlet is taken. And that was kind of disappointing. Though I DO appreciate that when he’s got his wits about him, he’s still protective of his misfit posse and Cinder, and he’s back to the strong fighting machine I had sort of liked.
  • Scarlet... got cheated of any story in this book. She gets cut off from the rest of the crew early on, which doesn’t help her character to stand out much from the rest because she had been the least developed character since the beginning because she’d been the least in need of development since her introduction. She’s already a strong, kickass, no nonsense type who is easily likable; and she continues to be the strong, kickass, non nonsense, likable Scarlet.
    • Which actually causes her to be kind of flat and one-dimensional in comparison to the rest of the Lunar Chronicles characters.
    • Not that I don’t love her all the same, but I wish she’d get more significant happenings on this journey. Maybe in the next book…?
  • Levana... is still as scary and insanely evil as ever.
  • Iko... is the BEST thing about the entire series! I loved her as a squat, pear-shaped android from the first book, I loved her as the voice of the Rampion air/space ship in the second book, and I love her, still, as an almost human-like escort-droid in this latest book!
    • She’s like R2-D2 with a voice, words, and attitude.

On the Story:
  • There was a LOT going on in Cress (the book).
  • There were a lot of interchanging POVs. I can’t help but feel like the haphazard narration could have been smoother. Maybe the book needed to be longer so that each chapter for each character (or set of characters) side of the story could have been longer.
  • The series progression is moving along nicely. I have no complaints about the story or the progression itself. I was very much hooked into the book’s storyline without wanting to stop. There was that definite physical need to keep reading.
    • In a good way.
  • And the book rounds out in a good place to conclude the third book of Lunar Chronicles with war looming on the horizon and some not so surprising secrets revealed.
  • And then Winter and Jacin are introduced...
    • While Winter’s character is fascinating already, I found Jacin to be a bit stock, standard YA male hero… like Kai, but more flippant. But I will keep my thoughts on hold until the last book where we will probably get to see more of Jacin and Winter.

Final Thoughts:
Well... I don’t really have any other thoughts except to say that I am desperately looking forward to the last book of this series. I will also go ahead and read Fairest, Queen Levana’s story, though I have my reserves about reading it since I’m less a fan of Levana than others seem to be. She’s evil, she’s cruel, and she scares the crap out of me.

Otherwise, the series has been smoothly progressing thus far and excellently written and created.


This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in May 2015.

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