Reading, Reviews

Cress is apparently a type of lettuce

Look at the Dutch cover by Tara Spruit!

Hi there, it’s Willow kicking off today’s book review. Not only did this once again send me reeling with glee the entire time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as an audiobook, too. Rebecca Soler ticks every one of my boxes – multiple voices, use of pitch and tone, and perfect delivery of sorrow, fear, awe, rage, excitement. This is read by a skilled actress and I could not clap harder.

The central romance of this volume is utterly, wonderfully, adorably warm. Cress (a.k.a. Rapunzel) and Thorne’s relationship will forever ignite me. I think Cress in particular is pretty special. Her need to escape into fantasies – to imagine herself as someone else to cope – I think it’s relatable and sweet. Although she’s defined by naivety, it’s impressive that this is never annoying. Her optimism and romanticism are lovely, happily balanced by her incredible computer skills and shrewd observations. I just like that her innocence compels her friends (Thorne in particular) to be better people.

These strong relationships and characters are, of course, central to an exciting plot. I enjoy how nothing feels rushed about this story and yet nothing is boring. UNF, I love this book. This series.

So, in the original fairytale of Rapunzel, the expectant father stole a type of lettuce from a witch for his pregnant wife. When the witch caught him stealing, she said she would not kill him if he handed over the baby when it was born. The prized lettuce was called rapunzel, and that’s what the witch named the girl. Another name for rapunzel lettuce is also…rampion, which is the name of the spaceship the Lunar Chronicle characters whiz around in. Pretty neat, huh.

Since “Cress” is also short for “Crescent Moon” in this story, I’m just one happy flailing fangirl at how beautifully all these pieces fit together. Not to mention other prominent plot points of the original fairytale are woven into this novel with the grace and symmetry of master storyteller, but you’ll just have to read Cress for yourself to find out what I mean. I will mention that I adore the ‘isolated tower’ of the original has been reimagined as a satellite – no way in or out without a small ship.

Lush artwork of Cress by frostbite-studios

Lauren here, waving around a big florescent ‘agree’ sign!

Satellite instead of a tower? Heh, I see what she did there. And, to be honest, I was perfectly content thinking that this was the only nod to the original fairytale (along with Cress’ long hair). I hadn’t noticed the other clever Rapunzel links until Willow and I had our debrief, and then, my mind was b-l-own. Cress, Thorne, that thing that happens when the thing happens… it’s all just too good. Incidentally, that’s a great reason to start a book club with yer cousin, folks. It is so nice to hear what someone else picked up on (especially when you’re as unobservant as I am).

This was my favourite book so far. I love Cress. And it’s true, she could so easily have been annoying. Instead, she is completely endearing and I couldn’t put the book down. On that front, it has to be said that Marissa Meyer is one clever person. There was one section of the book where two characters were hanging around doing a whole lot of nothing. Meyer conveyed that they were doing this for a long-ass time, and yet at no point was I remotely bored, and neither did the pace of the book suffer.

Now, on to my other favourite character. When Thorne was first introduced in Scarlet, I have to admit, I was a bit perplexed as to why Willow (who has read the Lunar Chronicles before) was quite so excitable. As far as I was concerned, he was just some numpty Cinder needed for her get out of jail free card. Not so! I now share her enthusiasm. Yay, I love them all.

This is the only book in the series where I have finished it and not been upset that the next book isn’t Cinder 2.0 or a nice tome about Scarlet and Wolf’s long and happy retirement. We’ve had a nice tasty peek at what’s to come in Winter, and I can’t possibly write any more of this review, as that’s time spent when I could be busy reading it. Stop distracting me, please.


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