Review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cress
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Publisher/Year:  Feiwel & Friends  2/4/14
Length: 560 Pages
Series: Lunar Chronicles #3

Overview

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, 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 prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped 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 being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Thoughts

I’ve totally drunk the kool-aid with this series, and i have to say that the style that Ms. Meyer writes is among my favorites.  Not only are we really engaged with the story, there are several parallel plots to follow that really make things interesting.

We have picked up in the series when the motley crew of allies have found themselves in an interesting place.  Cinder and Thorne are still wanted, as are Dr Erland.  Cress (the girl that had made the D-comm connection to Cinder) is still living in her satellite under the control of Sybil, and Scarlet and Wolf find themselves in an interesting and complicated relationship.

This story really takes us on a few different roller coasters.  Not only are there branches that are solely supporting the over-arching story of the Lunar attempt to rule not only their own world but Earth as well, but there are budding romances all over the place.  In addition to that, there’s the continued question on who you can trust, if you should be trusting them for the right reason, and well….do we really want to trust them?

So where book 1 centered mostly in New Bejiing, Book 2 in France, Book 3 spends quite a bit of time in Africa.  We begin to learn a lot more about Lunars in the sense that maybe there are more of them on Earth than people knew and not all of them are as bad as rumors have led folks to believe.

We also continue on the journey of discovering what it is that Dr Erland was and is working on and what his motivation is.  There’s definitely something about the doctor that makes me wonder more and more of his ties to various story lines.

All while that is going on, we see relationship change – grow together, get torn apart, and well, there’s actually a bit of humor in it all.

From Scarlet, we saw the development of something with Scarlet and Wolf and we see where that duo goes.  It’s definitely a challenge there given that Wolf is a Lunar special ops agent, so complicated is an understatement.  Not only that – but they both end up under some level of control and influence of the enemy, and this is something that may not be quickly resolved.

We also get to see something develop from Cress’s crush that she set out with for Captain Thorne.  At first it was just based on Netfeeds, but as she finds herself spending more time with him and relying on him for so much more, well that crush evolves.  The issue of course is that no one knows who will survive, and who will be ripped from their closest person, and this is something that Thorne is clear about. He’s also very clear about how he wants Cress to interpret things with him – it’s nothing more than just being on the same side of the fight.

We’ve come to love Iko in the other books and this installment is no different.  She continues to bring a levity to things that is needed at times, and proves to be quite valuable yet again.  There are times that i wonder what would happen without the humor that she brings.

Then there’s the big ‘what if’ between Cinder and Kai, especially since it’s just hours until his wedding to Queen Levana.  I mean, we all know that they have something for the other, even if it’s just a fleeting infatuation, but i think that we’ll get to see a lot more of that in the next installment, at least i hope.

So,  where we’re left off is definitely not closure – so if you were thinking that this may be a trilogy – have no worries here.  There’s no chance of things getting resolved, and quite a few more questions to be answered.  I for one am still curious as to how things will end up, who will still be alive since death keeps following Cinder and her friends.

Honestly, the one thing that’s really bumming me out right now is that #4, Winter isn’t slated to come out until 2015.  I don’t know how I’m going to wait that long for it.  So…anyone listening out there, if you can get me an ARC, i will be forever indebted to you.  For those of you who are new to the series – really give it a chance – i like it for the complexity and for the shear volume of story lines that are interwoven quite seamlessly.  Enjoy – really…..Enjoy.

Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Scarlet
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Publisher/Year:  Square Fish  2/4/14
Length: 512 Pages
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2

Overview

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison—even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does—in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

My Thoughts

Loved it!  I’m really a fan of how Ms. Meyer writes – we get a sequel to a well written first installment of the series, and it’s full of surprises and adds depth to the series.  When we left off in Cinder, book 1, Cinder was imprisoned after the chaos that ensued at the ball when she went to warn Prince Kai of what Queen Levana was planning – if he were to accept the marriage deal.  Of course things went from bad to worse, and Cinder ended up losing her cyborg foot, damaging her hand, and being captured.

We pick up in book 2 when Cinder’s still in jail, Dr Erland comes to her rescue in a sense with a new foot and hand that are much more advanced and equipped to help her in the future, as well as with a plan for escape – as he informs her that he’s going to flee to Africa and she should follow.  He also drops the bomb on her that she’s the long lost (and thought to be dead) Princess Selene and that people had gone to great lengths to ensure that she was hidden and never discovered.

So what we have here is the quest to escape from jail, and discovery of why and how she was hidden as well as figuring out a way to help over come the fear and death that Queen Levana and the Lunars pose.  In her escape, Cinder encounters ‘Captain’ Carswell who helps her by providing his stolen ship and assistance through their travels.

What’s nice to this story is that there’s a parallel story going on – with Michelle Benoit going missing in Rieux France – halfway across the world and her grand-daughter Scarlet is left to pick up the pieces and really figure out what’s happened to her ‘grand-mere’ since she doesn’t believe that Michelle just disappeared from her own reasons.  This is where the story takes a nice twist…and i have to say that it took me a few minutes to follow that book 1 was ‘cinderella’ and book 2 is ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

In this parallel story, Scarlet is reunited in a sense with her father, whom she has no relationship with, after he’s been returned to the family estate, being released from his captors,whom we then learn have Michelle.  This is where the story gets interesting.  Scarlet’s father is firm in the sense that the captors think that Michelle is hiding something, and Scarlet can’t imagine what that could be.

At the same time, Scarlet has crossed paths with a street fighter named Wolf who plays an interesting role in the whole story as well, given that there is a nice twist that we learn about him as the story progresses.

It’s only after about 2/3 of the book that paths fully cross – and it’s interesting to see how it all meshes together.  We’re taken on a journey with all these characters, wondering who can be trusted, who knows what about whom, and really wondering if Queen Levana will succeed in turning the whole planet into an uproar.  We can only assume that she will since she’s just that evil.

The other piece that’s nice about this story is that we still have the underlying story of Kai who has now assumed the role that his father had before his death as Emperor.  Kai is forced to continue the search for Cinder in the hopes of saving the planet, yet his heart’s not in it.  We see that he’s flip flopping a bit about what’s real and what’s not, and what he wants to believe.  It’s pieces like this in a story that keep me engaged since we see him coming of age in a sense, thinking for himself and questioning everything that he knows and is being told.

The question now becomes in book 3 – Cress, who’s going to survive, again who’s on which side, and what will become of those in power.  I can’t help but adore the role that Iko plays in this story – taking on new forms and roles to help, and i love the interactions between Scarlet, Wolf, Cinder, Captain and even Kai.  I also wonder what Levana knows and what she’s capable of.

Well, good news is that i have book 3 ready to go tonight, and i can’t wait for the next phase of this story.

Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cinder
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Publisher/Year:  Square Fish  1/8/13
Length: 448 Pages
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1

Overview

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts

Have you ever had a book that you’ve seen over and over and said you’d read but just keep putting off?  that’s this book for me.  and i honestly don’t know why.  I love the cover art, and i like that it’s dystopian and futuristic in a sense.

We come into this story after World War 4 has destroyed all that Earth knows from the past for survival and civilization.  We meet Cinder at the onset of this story – she’s in her booth at the market where she has a booth to repair things since she’s the ‘best mechanic’ in New Bejiing.  On this particular day, she’s waiting for Iko her android to come back with a new foot for her since hers is too small.  Oh yes, Cinders not a regular girl, she’s a cyborg-  meaning that she’s part human, and part machine.

While she’s waiting for Iko to get back, she has the surprise of a new customer, who turns out to be Prince Kai.  Completely unexpected since he’s the prince and all, and well, Kai also expects Cinder to be a man, so that was a shock for him.  He needs her to repair his personal android for reasons unknown at this point in the story, but we know that it’s important, so Cinder does what she can.

Just when Kai leaves the booth, chaos ensues in the market – a child shows signs of a plague that has been spreading, and is taken away.  Cinder and Iko leave the market quickly, trying to get out of there unnoticed since there’s this taboo on cyborgs already and she doesn’t want to be blamed for the disease.

When she gets home though, things aren’t any better.  This is where i enjoyed the comparison to the Disney element here.  Of course, Cinder is going to be the ‘red headed step child’ of sorts – with the adoptive mother who doesn’t want her and makes her work as a servant or slave all the time.  See, Cinder was found and adopted by Garan, her ‘father’ who rather soon after bringing her home comes down with the plague and dies.  Adri his wife then has the obligation of keeping Cinder and raising her with her other 2 daughters who are all fully human and don’t have the stigma of being a cyborg.  so you can just imagine the struggle that Cinder has to go through.

We have a new take on the Cinderella story in a sense since of course there’s a ball that everyone goes to, where the prince is trying to find a wife, and Cinder’s not allowed to go.  It’s her sisters instead who get to go and that makes things complicated – although Cinder knows that being a cyborg means that she’ll never have that happiness.

The other story along side this family annoyance is that Prince Kai’s father has come down with the plague and is on the verge of dying.  All the while, Earth is trying to work through a treaty with the Lunars – a society that lives on the moon and has these interesting ‘magically’ powers that are unsettling.  They can glamour people to see and think whatever the Lunar wants them to.  Their Queen, Lavena is especially horrible, given that she’s been said to have killed her family so that she’s the leader.

Where this story takes us is on an interesting journey of Cinder trying to come to grips with what she is, deal with her growing feelings of something that she never knew could be a possibility (her crush on Prince Kai), and knowing that she can’t stay in New Bejiing

There’s also an underlying story about the search for the cure of the plague, and Cinder is volunteered for testing by her stepmother in a way to get her out of the house, and for Adri to get more money since volunteers get paid.  In Adri’s mind, all volunteers die from the research so this is a way to get rid of Cinder as well.  What happens though is unexpected – when Cinder is taken in for testing, they learn that she’s immune to the plague and the reason why is very unexpected.

So…the lead up in this story is a bit drawn out, but the premise is really interesting.  I think that there’s something to be said about taking a story that we all know and giving it a dystopian twist – and in this case Marissa Meyer does a decent job.  There’s this side story about the lineage of the Lunar royalty that makes us wonder what’s the true story – knowing that Queen Lavena has had folks killed  yet all the while we’re forced to wonder if they are dead?  We also want to know the story behind Cinder a bit more since she doesn’t remember her life prior to her hover accident before Garan found her – and that makes things even more exciting.

Where this story ends up is a nice cliff hanger – it’s a great way to set up book 2 – Scarlet, since there’s a lot that can happen and a lot htat should happen.  We’re left wondering if Cinder will survive her situation, what choices Kai will make, What Dr Erland is really up to and why?  and well, what the Lunars are preparing for back home.  So much to think about, and i’m sure only some will be answered in book 2.  Enjoy!