by Marissa Meyer
Date Read: 2/25/14
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I absolutely love this series. It is such a unique concept. A sci-fi, dystopian, fairy-tale retelling story. I have loved every character that Meyer has introduced us to. I love it! This book is a Rapunzel retelling. I was so excited for this book, as Tangled is one of my favorite movies of all time.
The only criticism I can give this book right now is that the Rapunzel storyline wasn’t as wrapped in to the plot as the other stories have been. Cinderella was very obvious – with the “stepdaughter” being treated like a slave, having a secret friend (not mice though), going to the ball, losing a shoe (or foot). Even Scarlet had a lot of Red Riding Hood undertones that you could see. Sometimes it was a little too obvious in that story – wolves kidnapping her Grandma. But Rapunzel, I felt, wasn’t as strongly represented in this book. I feel like it all happened at the beginning, but the whole book should have focused on it. Though it did focus on her relationship with Thorne, the actual Rapunzel part was over by the end of the first part of the book and I forgot that’s what the story was titled after half way through. There were quotes from the Rapunzel story at each part, but it tended to be more related to other characters in the book than actually Cress.
I enjoyed watching the relationship of Cress with Thorne develop. I’ve always enjoyed him because he’s funny and sarcastic, but deep down he really cares about Cinder. But in this story, we get to see a softer side of him. Thorne also had quite a plot twist thrown at him and it was so interesting to see such a change. [Spoiler: When Thorne loses his eyesight, I expected him to fall apart and completely lose his cool. But he accepted it so easily and ended up getting around really well. I almost feel as if this change in his character is partly why he was able to finally start caring about Cress. He had to depend on her and let his guard down. This was a very interesting character trait that I think is great in his development.]
Dr. Erland has always been someone I’ve been a little unsure of. He seemed like a good guy, but he wasn’t quite involved enough to know. [Spoiler: At the beginning of this book, there is reference to his lost “Crescent Moon” and the reader knows instantly that Cress is his daughter. But I felt like this should have been mentioned in one of the other books, so it wasn’t so obvious. I would have rather it had more of a shock value like when the characters found out. Or at least when he did the paternity test to be sure. And for some reason I never saw him catching the Plague coming. I definitely should have. I should have known one of the characters would die from it (even though Peony was already a casualty to it). And with the whole virus mutating thing so it now was affecting Lunars, I definitely should have seen it coming. But I didn’t. She ended up masking that pretty well. I felt so bad for him. But at the same time, he was an old man, so better Meyer killed him off than one of the younger, more main characters.]
There was a point in time when all the characters split up about a quarter of the way in to the book. It was a little hard to keep up because they were in 3 different places dealing with different things. When most of them finally got back together, the story really started to move.
Almost every character in this book had a POV at some point in the story, even Queen Levana. Most of the time it was pretty easy to tell them apart because they were broken up by chapter. But toward the end of the book, each character had their part to play so it would switch mid-chapter. That was a little jarring the first time it happened, but then it started to make sense.
I really liked watching their plan come together. It was written pretty well, like I was watching it all unfold in a movie. I was beginning to think it was going to go as planned. But obviously it couldn’t. Once it got to this point, I couldn’t put the book down.
I think all of the characters have a love story now. It’s kind of cool that they all have a person, but I think they only truly single person in their group now is Iko, the android. The romantic in me enjoys this. The realist in me thinks it’s a little ridiculous that all the people they happened to group up with have some sort of romantic relationship.
The best part of the book was the first glimpse at Princess Winter. I wasn’t sure what to think of her, but knowing the final book in the series is called Winter, and based on Snow White, I’m assuming she will end up being a good guy and join Cinder and her friends in taking over Levana. But then who will take the throne? Cinder (Princess Selene) or Winter? I’m thinking Winter will take the throne and Cinder will come back to Earth and date Emperor Kai. But then Adri and Pearl will have to get their comeuppance also.
I really enjoyed the end of the book. The scene between Cinder and Kai was amazing. It felt so real. I felt like I was there next to them in the room. And then Levana’s revenge was not quite a shock, but her violence is so over the top, that you can’t imagine they she just did that. The sacrifices of people who’d helped them makes you hate Levana even more. And Cinder resolves to “start a revolution”.
I’m so stoked for the final installment in this book. I hope Meyer doesn’t let me down like Allegiant and Mockingjay. I’m looking forward to an epic battle and I can’t wait to see how she overthrows Levana. I hope the next year goes by quickly so I can finish this amazing series.