Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 550 pages
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.
Characters: In this installment we are formally introduced to Cress, the Rupunzel of this story, who has been held captive in a satellite by Sybil Mira, the queen's head thaumaturge, and is forced to be a hacker for the Lunar queen. Cress is an amazing character, so in love with earth and she reminds me a lot of Iko, so obsessed with earthen pop culture and hopelessly romantic. Her character development in this book really brings her down to earth, both literally and figuratively. As for Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne, well Thorne is tangled (pun intended) in Cress's adventure and goes through his own development in realizing that despite being a roguish criminal, he might have the heart of a hero after all. Cinder starts to realize how being Princess Selene might very realistically affect not only Earth and Luna, but herself as well and begins to fully embrace her Lunar heritage. Unfortunately, we don't get to see too much of Scarlet and Wolf for various slightly spoilery reasons, but it's obviously by the end that they will both play a large part in the final installment. One of the things I love about these characters is how close their bond is. Usually in YA novels, or really any novels for that matter, when a boy and girl are friends there is usually at some point some sort of romantic entanglement that inevitably comes along, but not with these characters. While Cinder cares for Thorne and Wolf, there are no romantic feelings there on either side, which I greatly love and respect.
Romance: As for the romances though, well complicated is too poor a word for what this book has in store. Let's start off easy, the romance between Thorne and Cress. While at first it seems as if this romance might take the insta-love approach, at the pinnacle moment where I'm about to groan and ask "Really?" it shifts and there romance is actually a slow burning one. The romantic tension is there but as they get to know each other their affections for each other evolve and they begin to really understand each other. Then there's Cinder and Kai, while in Scarlet there was no real development in their romance as they never even talked with each other, and were just pining and working out their feelings from afar, this book finally brings them back together, in one way or another, and their romance develops a bit, and it makes for a very great scene. Then there's Wolf and Scarlet, who are apart for most of the book as they get separated in the rescue of Cress, and well Wolf doesn't handle it too well, which is sad, but I'm hoping for some great scenes between the two in the next installment.
World-Building: The world building of this series is absolutely fantastic, I mean first off you have the fairy tale retelling aspect, but then to put this amazing sci-fi spin on it. I still can't get over how well it's done and this book, if anything is such a testament to that. For being such a long book, there were countless shout outs and retold scenes from the Rapunzel story line, minus the whole Rapunzel giving birth to twins in the desert thing. How everything works together seamlessly and how all the characters interconnect is beautiful. We even get a little sneak peek at Princess Winter and her love interest in this book, but like with Cress in the previous books it's nothing really definitive and is more of cameo appearance but I will say that I already love Princess Winter and can't wait to see how she'll fit into the final act of this amazing series.
Predictability: Like the other books in this series this book was actually predictable. There weren't really any moments that completely stunned me, and that actually never bothered me. Even the twists that I called at the first sign of foreshadowing I still found joy or at times fear within when they were revealed and it just made this fast paced Sci-fi fairy tale ride all the more fun to read.
Ending: So the ending is very climactic, bringing everything to a head as we prepare for the final adventure and the final showdown between Levana and Cinder. While I wouldn't exactly say that this book leaves on a cliffhanger as there was nothing really surprising about the ending, it did leave me with this weird need to find out what happens next, which makes me glad I waited so long to finally get around to this book and now I only have to wait less than a year to read the conclusion, though I'm a bit bitter at having Fairest coming when we could have had the final installment so close.
So this installment is FANTASTIC, I'd heard a lot about how great it was and how it was the best in the series so far, and I was a bit anxious to read it because I didn't know if my feelings would be on par with my expectations that formed from hearing all the hype surrounding just this installment, but I have to say this book far exceeded my expectations and I just... I need Winter ASAP. 10 months and counting...