I have to admit, the title got me a little. I figured ‘Cress’ was short for something, but I would not have guessed “Crescent”; I was thinking something along the lines of ‘watercress’, which made no sense given that the model fairy tale this time is supposed to be Rapunzel. The other books have heroines whose names have some clear connection to the base story, so why this doesn’t is beyond me.
In terms of enjoyment, Cress falls in between Cinder and Scarlet. 3.5 stars. Cress herself has a lot more personality than her fairy tale analogue, largely because her story retains recognizable elements of the story, but does not rely on the plot. She’s a talented hacker forced by the thaumaturges of Luna to live in a satellite for 7 years to spy on Earth, mostly because she’s a shell (a Lunar without the ability to use glamour). She makes a brief appearance in Cinder as the Lunar spy who wants to help, and now we get the details of who-what she is, and how she finally gets in touch with Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne, et al.
Her “prince” turns out to be Thorne whom she’s researched and developed a long-range crush on before they every meet. Because she’s so isolated in her satellite (tower), Cress has a pretty major fantasy life as well as being big-time naïve about people. As a character she has a certain complexity, because she then has to struggle to adjust to reality once she’s brought into it. Thorne isn’t exactly prince charming, but she’s still drawn to him, and she struggles to work out her feelings.
Thorne is a large part of why I didn’t like this one as much as Scarlet. He’s not an especially well-developed character. He’s your standard dashing rouge with something of a past, who might just be a decent guy beneath it all. Why he’s attracted to Cress beyond her infatuation with him, which to his credit he tries to be nice about, is not really all that clear. Similarly, there’s Jacin a Lunar guard who seems to want to help them out, but has no apparent reason for doing so. Having finished the series, I know he does have one, but it’s not mentioned at all here, and as such, he ends up seeming like a pointless distraction.
Plot-wise the overall story of good versus evil keeps going, with Cinder and friends finding Dr Erland and discovering some important information through him which enables them to really start planning, and even starting to act. I have to admit, I liked some of the twists involved. One of Cinder’s first big moves is to kidnap Kai just before his forced wedding to Levana, which finally allows the two of them to start coming to terms with the feelings and experiences that have been sitting there since the first book. Cinder as a character still irritates me a little since she can’t seem to do anything about her relationships with other people, even though she seems to know why they might feel the way they do. It makes her seem a little selfish and off-putting. At this point, I found myself just hoping she gets over that before the conclusion.