Cress by Marissa Meyer science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsCress by Marissa Meyer science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsCress by Marissa Meyer

My teenage daughter and I have been enjoying the audio versions of Marissa Meyer’s LUNAR CHRONICLES. The third one is Cress (2014) and it follows Cinder and Scarlet, which you’ll need to read first. (There are bound to be some spoilers for those novels in this review of Cress.)

Each of the LUNAR CHRONICLES stories is a fresh and loose retelling of a classic fairy tale: Cinder = Cinderella, Scarlet = Red Riding Hood, and Cress = Rapunzel.

Cress begins with a helpful summary of events so far in which we are reminded that Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne, and Wolf are planning to defeat evil Queen Levana so that she can’t marry Emperor Kai and get control of Earth. The wedding is set to take place in 15 days, so they don’t have much time to train and prepare. Their plan is to infiltrate the wedding, reveal Cinder as the lost Princess Selene, and demand that Levana give up her crown. Cinder worries, however, that the Lunar people won’t accept her because she’s a cyborg and didn’t grow up on Luna.

Cress is Queen Levana’s best hacker. (And she has really long hair.) The queen keeps Cress isolated in a satellite orbiting Earth where she hacks in and observes all the drama unfolding on the planet below. She knows her boss has evil plans for Earth, so she can’t help but develop a sympathy for, and a desire to help, Emperor Kai and Cinder. (And she also has a crush on Thorne.) When Levana orders Cress to find Cinder so she can be eliminated, Cress’s loyalty is tested.

Like the previous installments, Cress is full of action, humor, and romance. Our heroes experience kidnappings, imprisonment, torture (not gory, thankfully), treks across inhospitable landscapes, battles, illness, blindness, and near-death experiences. We learn more about their backgrounds, get answers about the lunar sickness, and we meet some new intriguing characters who will feature prominently in the next novel, Winter.

My daughter and I are slightly annoyed that each character has to have a love interest but at this point we’re fully invested in Cinder’s story and we look forward to Levana’s defeat.

Published in 2014. 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.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.