I’m not going to lie – I’ve been putting off this review. Not because I didn’t like Cress! I just loved it too much. It’s extremely hard to write a sensible review when all I want to do is yell, ‘Read this book! Read it now!’ After weeks of putting it off, though, I think I might as well just write that.
The cover for Cress is much better than Cinder and Scarlet, in my opinion. The background is more blue than black, and leans away from copying the Twilight covers. Technically, Cress’s hair should be even longer than depicted in the image, but that’s real nitpicking. Besides, we can always assume there are miles of it piled up off the left-hand side of the page.
Gone are all the pacing problems from Scarlet: Cress hits the ground at a sprint and barely pauses for breath all the way through. Cress as a character also connects a lot better to the story than Scarlet did at first. She had appeared in Cinder, although we didn’t know who she was at the time, and another character hinted at her identity when he said his daughter, Crescent Moon, was taken away and (he thought) killed. So we know how she links to the other characters, and actually she meets up with them very early in the story.
Cress was a great character as well – I have an admittedly soft spot for female hacker characters after spending an entire summer watching Criminal Minds – she’s unusual enough to be interesting without straying into manically fantastical (dare I use the phrase Mary-Sue?) but still enough of a grounded character that you can sympathise with her.
Penelope Garcia, the nerdy hacker in Criminal Minds.
She wasn’t the only point-of-view character, either! Cinder and her Prince Kai stepped into the forefront for a good amount of the book, and even Scarlet became interesting when she was captured by the evil Lunars.
My only gripe with the book was Wolf. Ugh, Wolf, why must I find you so unlikeable? After Scarlet’s capture, he spents the entire book sulking and moping and being generally extremely unhelpful. In a character like, say, Sansa Stark at the beginning of Game of Thrones, this behaviour is more understandable. It’s still annoying, but hey, she’s a spoiled thirteen-year-old. What do you expect? But when a grown man (supposedly a trained soldier, who’s probably never been spoiled in his life) starts whining inconsolably, it’s nothing short of infuriating. I wished Cinder would give him a good slap with her metal hand and tell him to gut up.
(Sansa from Game of Thrones and Derek from Teen Wolf – pretty much how I imagined Wolf in Cress.)
Despite that irritation, Cress was an excellent book. It was fast-paced, the characters
except Wolf were great, and it contained a decent number of twists I genuinely didn’t see coming while still following the Rapunzel fairy tale from which Meyer clearly took her inspiration. I think this is my favourite in the series so far, and I look forward to the final book, Winter, coming out later this year.