Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

CressCress
by Marissa Meyer
Series:
The Lunar Chronicles #3
Publication date: 04 February 2014
Feiwel & Friends, Hardcover, 550 pages
Source: Library

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR CINDER AND SCARLET.

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Rating: ★★★★★

As The Lunar Chronicles continues, the books get progressively fatter and crazier. Crazier being a good thing, of course. My love for Cress really can’t be encompassed in a review. Picking up immediately where Scarlet left off, there wasn’t a single dull moment in Cress and it definitely shines in every aspect. No, I’m not exaggerating at all.

Because Cress is the retelling of Rapunzel, I sort of expected it to be all fun and fluffy, pretty much like the movie, Tangled. Well, there were plenty of cute moments between Cress and Thorne but this novel was about so much more than just the relationship between them two. Honestly, that shocked me a little because back in Scarlet, Wolf and Scarlet did have this epically romantic adventure… But in Cress, you’ll find action, humor, family values, friendships, violence, galactic politics (that sounded so good to my sci-fi loving brain) and in the midst of all that, romance! Despite addressing a bunch of issues, every detail in the story was still impeccably put across and the whole book in general was a bundle of feels.

Cress was also full of surprises; I was completely unprepared for how gory the events in the book got at some points and also how much more we got to know the characters. As we all know, there are a lot of characters in The Lunar Chronicles. Before starting the book, I was a teensy bit worried due to the great number of POVs that would be involved, the story-telling might get slightly messy. However, that was pointless fretting because each individual had such a clear voice and Meyer did a fantastic job in getting readers to sympathize with each of their different perspectives, both the villains and heroes/heroines.

One of my favorite aspect in Cress was Meyer’s incredible ability to juggle four amazing relationships – Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, Winter and the guy I shall not name because not every knows who he is yet (unless you stalk Marissa Meyer’s book news like I do or have already read Cress). While some authors struggle to handle just one fictional relationship, Meyer pulls off four without hindering the main plot at all. In fact, the romance complements the story!

There had been plenty of ways for the whatever-it-is thing going on between Cinder and Kai to go wrong, especially since they’ve only known each other for such a short amount of time. Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship could also have easily become lackluster as compared to how hot it burned in Scarlet. Of course, these two ‘older’ romances continued to play out perfectly and the new romance between Cress and Thorne had been flawlessly weaved into the story too. Excuse me while I go swoon and fan myself in a corner for a moment; I ship everyone in The Lunar Chronicles so, so much.

Now that I’m done obsessing over the romance, lets move on to the plot. I’m not sure what to say about the plot because the only thing I can even think of to describe it is “so darn amazing my brain is still processing the awesomeness I’ve just witnessed“. I loved every single thing that happened (or loved hurting over the painful bits) and a word of caution to those who intend to read Cress soon: be prepared to start severely pining for Winter after finishing Cress.

All in all, Cress is one heck of a novel and fans of The Lunar Chronicles will definitely not be disappointed with it. I’m still pretty hungover and after the monumental way Meyer ended off this third installment, I really cannot wait to get my hands on the final novel, Winter. I know I would probably die from the feels it would bring but well, I’ve died multiple times in the hands of talented authors and I can’t say those deaths were ones I did not want.

Adelena

Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and BeautyOf Beast and Beauty
by Stacey Jay
Published: 23 July 2013
Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Library

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In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Rating: ★★★½

Recently, I’ve made it pretty known that I’m a huge fan of classic and fairytale retellings. So imagine my excitement when I spotted Of Beast and Beauty at the library! I’ve got to admit the stunning cover was what first captured me because apparently, I’ve got a thing for roses and blood on book covers (like Renegade by J.A. Souders).

Moving on to the actual plot, I would say Stacey Jay successfully created a very fairytale-like feel. However, that also means the villains didn’t seem villainous enough and the buildup to the climax was slightly lacking. Despite that, I did love the romance between Isra and Gem. It’s simply wonderful how two people raised to hate each other’s kind can fall in love.

Or maybe star-crossed lovers are just too enchanting.

Isra was a very interesting protagonist. The fact that she was blind really set her apart as when the story was told from her perspective, it was quite fascinating for me to imagine things from a blind girl’s point of view (pun completely unintended). As for Gem, it was pretty adorable witnessing him trying to keep on hating Isra when he obviously was falling for her though I did feel his character needed to be better defined.

One other notable character was Bo. He actually disturbed me from the very beginning and was quite an unpredictable character. His unpredictability actually made the story more mysterious and intriguing, though. Because it makes you wonder whether he’s going to have a violent outburst or do something noble. I’m pretty sure Bo was meant to represent Gaston, one of the villains in the original story. Yet, Stacey Jay’s twist on Gaston’s character in Bo created a more human character whose motives were better understood and realistic.

Overall, Of Beast and Beauty was a magically enchanting adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Although not a stunning young adult novel, I would say it was an unique fairytale retelling that still kept the important areas of the original tale. If you’re looking for a more in depth sci-fi fairytale retelling, I would recommend the Lunar Chronicles by  Marissa Meyer instead, but if you want a simple science fiction and fantasy standalone, you should definitely pick this up.

Adelena