Cress introduces an (almost) new character to the world of The Lunar Chronicles: Cresent Moon. Cress is a programmer, exiled from Luna for the crime of being born without powers and imprisoned in a satellite to do Levana’s dirty work. But she has no reason besides fear to obey the Queen’s commands, so when a chance to escape presents itself, she immediately decides to flee her modern-day tower.
At first, it took me a little while to warm to Cress. Her tendency to hide under things and cry, while understandable given her years of imprisonment and minimal social interaction, got irritating quickly. This wasn’t helped by her gooeyness over Thorne, a man she’d never actually met. However, I began to realise that while she appears weak, Cress is principled and very intelligent, and does what she thinks is right despite being scared. In short, Meyer proves here that she can write a strong female character who isn’t a tomboy, and that’s a rare thing in YA.
This is a retelling of Rapunzel (if you didn’t gather that from the cover), and it stays about as close to the source material as Cinder, and definitely more so than Scarlet. To a certain extent, this gives an indication of the direction the plot is headed, but since this is the third book in the series, the wider story arc is prominent and at least a third of this book doesn’t concern Cress at all.
I really appreciate the way that Meyer is building up her cast of characters over these books. In Cinder there were perhaps seven or eight people the reader needed to remember, and only two points of view, but at this point there are a couple of dozen recurring names, and I think I counted eight perspectives. I did lose track of who people were a little bit, but in general it wasn’t hard to manage, because the introductions have been spread over the series.
Meyer’s writing is consistently strong, generally favouring action and speech over long descriptions, but still painting a clear picture of the environment and characters. I had some trouble picking out quotes which didn’t spoil anything, since the plot moves quickly and several twists occurred fairly early on. My to-do list from the last couple of days is barely touched because things just kept happening and I had to know everyone was going to be okay.
I think this is the strongest book of the series so far, and I want Winter. Now, please.
Encircling the planet flickered thousands of tiny dots that indicated every ship and satellite from here to Mars. A glance told Cress that she could look out her Earth-side window right then and spot an unsuspecting Commonwealth scouting ship passing by her nondescript satellite. There was a time when she would have been tempted to hail them, but what would be the point?
“I’ll be nice to her!” said Iko. “I can take her net-shopping and she can help me pick out my future designerwardrobe. Look, I found this custom escort shop that has the best accessories, and some discounted models. What would you think of me with orange hair?” The netscreen on the wall switched to an escort-droid sale listing. The image of a model was slowly rotating, showing off the android’s perfect proportions, peachy skin, and royalty-approved posture. She had purple irises and cropped tangerine hair and a tattoo of an old-fashioned carousel that rotated around her ankle.
Cinder squeezed an eye shut. “Iko, what does this have to do with the satellite girl?”
“I was getting to that.” The screen scrolled through a menu, landing on hair accessories, and dozens of icons clustered together showing everything from dreadlocked wigs to cat-ear headbands to rhinestone-encrusted barrettes. “Just think how much potential she has with hair like that!”
All at once, it dawned on her. She was on Earth. On Earth.
She’d seen pictures, of course. Thousands and thousands of photographs and vids—cities and lakes and forests and mountains, every landscape imaginable. But she had never thought the sky could be so impossibly blue, or that the land could hold so many hues of gold, or could glitter like a sea of diamonds, or could roll and swell like a breathing creature.
For one moment, the reality of it all poured into her body and overflowed.