"CRESS: The Lunar Chronicles," by Marissa Meyer, Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 560 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)
Marissa Meyer’s third installment in the Lunar Chronicles series, titled "Cress," is a solid sequel that raises the stakes and introduces several dynamic new characters.
Cinder and Captain Thorne have escaped from the Lunars' prison. While plotting to overthrow the Lunar queen, Levana, they encounter Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite. Cress hasn’t been allowed any contact with the outside world or the opportunity to cut her hair. Cress’ ability as a superhacker allows her to guide Cinder’s team to her satellite. The group is ambushed by the Lunars, leaving Cress and Captain Thorne to find a way to reunite with their friends.
Meyer’s storytelling ability increases with each book in the series. Each story builds on the others, adding new complexity and interest.
In the hands of a less-skilled writer, it’s possible that character details would be forgotten or put to the wayside. But Meyer manages to make each character essential to the story’s progression and to create a narrative that will be sure to set up a fantastic finale.
One of the main strengths in the Lunar Chronicles series is the scope of the world. As the Lunar empire begins to execute its plan for world dominion, Meyer doesn’t limit the problem to one kingdom. Political intrigue and global interests make the story fresh and real.
If the world building isn’t enough to make a reader stay, Meyer again makes a wonderful pairing with Cress and Captain Thorne. Cress’ desperation for acceptance as she latches on to Thorne is painful, but her development as a character is masterful and rewarding in the end.
However, perhaps the most intriguing addition to the series is the Lunar princess, Princess Winter. She, without revealing too much, is a terrifying enigma.
Language and sexual content are very mild, and the violence is appropriate for a fantasy adventure story.
“Cress” is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. The preceding books are “Cinder” and “Scarlet.” The final book, "Winter," is scheduled for release in 2015.
If you go ...
What: Marissa Meyer book signing
When: Saturday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem
Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction. For book reviews, author interviews and more about the latest in young adult fiction, visit her blog at emilysreadingroom.com.