Warning: Lots of fangirling and some spoilers ahead!
I want to apologize to Alice in Readerland, because I decided to write a review with Tangled and Star Wars GIFs before remembering she did this as well. But it’s hard to avoid! Hope you don’t mind the similarities, Alice! Now on to the review…
I really enjoyed Cinder and Scarlet, but they were both 4 star books for me ultimately. I preferred Cinder to Scarlet because I connected with the characters and romance more, but knocked off a star for how crazy predictable it was. Well, Marissa Meyer has proven herself to be growing as a writer as she managed to surprise me multiple times throughout Cress. I do most of my reading at work during lunch and sometimes breaks, and I rarely react out loud to my reading, but at lunch one day while reading I actually said, “Oh no…!” out loud in complete shock that Dr. Erland is Cress’ father! What?! Did not see that coming! And that was just one of several surprising twists!
I wanted to focus largely on the characters, because really and truly, this is Meyer’s greatest strength. How in the world can all these characters be so perfectly unique from each other and well-rounded and likable?! OK, maybe it’s not too terribly unbelievable because I have seen it done before, but very rarely to this scale of a cast of characters or this well. Though I was one of the few who didn’t care for Wolf much in Scarlet (because I never fully trusted him), he really redeemed himself for me in Cress.
Scarlet doesn’t get a lot of “screen time” in this book, which I can see would be frustrating for big fans of her, but I feel her part of the story was important and don’t feel any moments with her were wasted. Cinder continues to grow as she comes to accept more responsibilities, and I was always happy to see what Kai thought of his impending marriage and the whole situation. We are also introduced to Jacin, who is a little prickly but has some potential, and Winter, who seems a little whacked-out, but the fact that it’s because she’s not using her powers is very interesting to me.
Now let’s talk about Cress and Thorne.
So I loved Cress as a character. She’s a lot like Rapunzel in Tangled, which of course makes sense, and I loved seeing how her range of emotions was very similar to Rapunzel’s as she discovered the excitement and dangers of life on Earth.
I thought it was so cute how she was quirky and had fantasies about how she and Thorne would fall in love at first sight and go on epic adventures together. She was also quirky enough for someone who had been cooped up in a satellite for so long but not so much that she was completely unrelatable.
And then the interactions with Cress and Thorne. SO CUTE. He really seized the opportunity to be just oh-so-Thorne around her, but he was also very mindful of how naive Cress was. Really, the two really needed each other in the desert and through everything they went through, because they could help each other in different ways. And of course they had some great exchanges.
“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”
Now THORNE. I already loved Thorne from Scarlet, and I was thrilled by just how much of him we got in Cress! And of all the hardships I’ve seen characters go through, something about Meyer making Thorne go blind just really hit me. I just kept thinking, This is essential for his character growth. It’s perfect that he’s dealing with blindness. I think it teaches him to rely on others, as well as his instincts and other strengths. But I’m also really looking forward to his sight (hopefully) being restored so he can look Cress in the eyes again, with a whole new meaning. 🙂 All in all, Thorne is as charming as ever, but he also grows a lot.
Side note: My husband and I just re-watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and I literally laughed out loud while we were watching the catina scene, and explained to my husband it was because Han Solo was SO MUCH LIKE THORNE. Really, Thorne is…
But let us not forget our other couples! Wolf proved to me in this book that he really does love Scarlet, as I alluded to before. And Cinder and Kai, finally! I really only have two complaints about this book, and one of them is why didn’t Cinder tell Kai who she was as soon as she entered his room?! She kept saying, “Trust me, trust me!” and then on the ship he had to drag it out of her. JUST TELL HIM YOU’RE PRINCESS SELENE! He didn’t seem to have a problem believing her, once he decided to believe that she was not using her powers on him, so she should have saved him from being tranquilized! And she really lucked out that Torin was as trusting and accommodating as he was.
My other minor complaint may have been a result of how I read it, though it happened more than once so I’m not sure, but I had a problem following the action sequences at times. I would be confused about what exactly was happening and where everyone was placed. But I do seem to struggle with this, so it might have been entirely my lack of comprehension. I was just reading so fast because I wanted to know what happened next!
Lastly, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Iko, who literally made me laugh out loud, once again in public, more than once. She is fabulous. And Dr. Erland! My heart hurt for him so much!
Meyer managed to craft a third book in a series that flowed seamlessly, never grew boring, and with an amazing cast of characters that I adore so much! I wish I could read Winter now! There’s nothing I could give this book other than…
What was your favorite thing about Cress? Who’s your favorite character of the series so far?