The third book in Marissa Meyer's series which began with Cinder, Cress retells the story of Rapunzel as set in the dystopian world of the future. Cress has been kept on board a satellite of Earth by the Lunar Queen's thaumaturge, Mistress Sybil. Her ability to hack into computers has proven her to be a valuable asset, but it's a lonely existence, broken only by the occasional visits of Sybil over seven long years. Until Cress makes contact with the spaceship Rampion, where Cinder, Scarlett, Wolf, and Captain Thorne are hiding until they can work out how to return to Earth and defeat Lunar Queen Levana. At this point for Cress, it's all or nothing, so she works out an escape plan that somehow becomes a survival journey for she and Thorne. Meanwhile, Cinder tries to figure out how to get to Emperor Kai before he can marry Levana, and somewhere along the line, Scarlett is abducted by Sybil's forces.
You'd think there's a lot of action going on, and there is...at least after the halfway mark. Until that point, there's a good deal of planning, stalling, and events not working out that had me thinking I needed to fast forward. While I was still engaged, I just needed the story lines to converge and get to a point. However, once I read on past the halfway mark, the plot takes a definite upswing and Cinder and Company are in almost constant peril. It was after that point that I truly became vested in the story and had to keep reading to know what would happen next.
The characters are well done, and Thorne is an absolute delight with his cunning and arrogance. I really liked Cress; she's got brains and a human side that is very endearing. I did grow a bit weary of all the glamouring going on but since that's part of the Lunar world, it's understandable. Meyer takes the essence of the fairy tale and while keeping it generally recognizable, entwines it into her universe in such a way that you forget it's actually a fairy tale. I'm eager to see where we're headed next.