My goodness this was a step in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed Scarlet, but it definitely wasn’t as good as Cinder. In large part that was because I didn’t find Scarlet particularly interesting. After reading Cress, I still don’t, but Cress I did like.
Cress is a bit naive, but in an endering way. Naive in this case is not a synonym for overly trusting or foolish. Cress has a good head on her shoulders and is quite smart. Add in the fact that she’s been seeing much of what has been going on and it’s very clear that she’s an adept member of the team. Not to mention the fact that she is skilled in what she does makes her an asset. However, she’s lived in a satellite for a large chunk of her life. She isn’t properly socialized and has to figure out how to deal with people. She gives it her all and comes off as someone I wouldn’t mind hanging out with.
One of the things that I enjoyed most about the book was that it actively moved the plot forward. Unlike Scarlet, which ultimately felt like a large unnecessary detour looking back, Cress kept focus. There was so much that was going on as the war between Earth and Luna were mounting. It was tense and time was running out which forced the characters to act. That meant getting to Africa finally and solving some of their mounting problems. While it started slowly, it took off eventually.
The dynamic between Thorne and Cress was really well done. They are such different characters and throwing them together made for some interesting situations. Thorne was still abslotely completely into himself which provided a number of comic situations. However, it also pushed him to try to act like the better person he was. It challenged him, but also made him admit things about himself. Together they brought out different aspects of their personalities until they came to a new normal. It made each of them feel unique and a more realistic relationship.
Prince Kai is in an awful position. he was suckered into this awful marriage, but there was finally progress on the front of his story. Rather than spinning his wheels and silently hoping that some other solution would arrive, Cinder re-emerged in his life. Most importantly Kai was finally let in on some important information.
This book also stood as the first introductions of Jacin and Winter. Jacin we got to spend more time with. He’s fiercely loyal and a bit brooding. He’s like a more proper version of Wolf. While I found him interesting, it was Winter who stole the show with her appearance. It was brief and part of a section I didn’t care for, but she was fascinating in those moments. Unlike the other characters she seems like she will be a far more chaotic force. She just can’t be trusted. She can’t be relied on and that makes her oh so interesting.
Overall I enjoyed the book because I liked Cress and it felt like the story was actually moving forward this time. I have to admit that Cinder is still my favorite so far.