Marissa Meyer has done it again with yet another delicately adapted fairy tale. It’s not explicitly obvious from the title as to which fairy tale heroine Cress depicts, but one glance at the book’s cover and it is clear: the long, cascading locks of hair say it all.
Readers actually met Cress way back when in Cinder, though her role is so seemingly trivial in the first book (she is the motivation of Cinder to go to the ball), Meyer’s idea to have her return in her own substantial role was clever.
The novel opens with a sole Cress on private, one-woman satellite outside of Luna. This satellite is a sort of prison set by the Queen and her minions; Cress is charged with finding Cinder or suffering the consequences (Levana ordered the death of every newborn baby who was ungifted, so you can imagine what mercy would be show to Cress were she to fail). Her only companion on the satellite is Little Cress—yes, Cress’s younger self, a computerized, recorded version of her own voice, with whom Cress plays computer games and dances the do-si-do. If you think this makes Cress sound off her rocker, you are correct: Cress is slightly coo-coo, and ever-loveable for it. She has a massive crush on Thorne, Cinder’s bad boy accomplice since Scarlet, and she knows more about his life than Thorne himself does. Thorne, while amused, also acknowledges (to her face) that Cress is a bit loopy. Together, they’re all the more endearing for these quirks.
Back in book one, Cress appeared to warn Cinder about Levana’s plan to rule earth. In her own book, she does much the same thing: while she is supposed to be finding Cinder’s ship and exposing its location to the Lunar government, Cress is actually hiding the Rampion from Levana’s view. Immediately, she is the good, albeit a bit out there (physically and mentally), girl. As a result, Cinder and her pals plan to liberate the loyal Cress from her tower-prison; the plan, however, is foiled, leaving the young patriots separated, damaged, and, in one case, spiraling to their out-of-orbit death. And this is only the first few pages.
The multiple protagonists—Cinder, Thorne, Scarlett, Wolf, Cress, as well as others along the way—embark on a journey, together and separate, through Africa, Asia, and, yes, outer space. It’s whole-heartedly imaginative, and Meyer’s use of old and new characters as main figures is admirable; unlike in the past stories, in which there is a main heroine with various other vantage points when needed, Cress is pretty evenly spilt between a few important parities. All in all, Meyers has set us up for a noteworthy story for book 4, Winter…if we can wait until November 2015 to get our hands on it.