Cress: The Lunar Chronicles, #3
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Marissa Meyer
ISBN 9780312642976
Feiwel & Friends/ Macmillan, 2014.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: fairytale-retelling futuristic-fantasy lunar marissa-meyer suspense

Cress: The Lunar Chronicles, #3
by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer continues her brilliant bending of classic fairytales with this riff on Rapunzel.

Cress lives imprisoned in a satellite, rather than in a tower. She is a shell--with none of the powers of most Lunars--but is also a skilled hacker and tech wiz. In Cinder, Cress warned of the intent of Levana, Queen of Luna, to marry Emperor Kai, kill him and, as heir to the Eastern Commonwealth, take over Earth. Thanks to Cress, the Lunars have a complete surveillance system to track the emperor's comings and goings. But that also means Cress knows how to dismantle the system.

As she did with Scarlet, Meyer crafts a self-contained story in this third volume, while building on the overarching tale of Cinder. If it is possible to ramp up the suspense, Meyer does so here, beginning with a failed attempt by Cinder and Captain Thorne to rescue Cress from her satellite. As with Rapunzel, the witch (here Levana's chief thaumaturge, Sybil) lies in wait. Meyer takes the discussion of earth's inhabitants, cyborgs and lunars, to a new level, drawing a parallel to modern society's underlying fears of immigration and the perils of information-gathering, eerily akin to the NSA debate. Meyer once again creates nuanced characters that grow in complexity--as Captain Thorne develops a moral backbone, Cinder discovers a dark side to her potential power.

Readers won't know for sure if Cinder's audacious plan to halt Levana will work until the final installment, slated for February 2015. Readers will be anxiously orbiting until then.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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