Previous book here:
“You know, when I was a kid, I was tricked into thinking that princesses wore tiaras and hosted tea parties. Now that I’ve met a real princess, I must say, I’m kind of disappointed.” –Carswell Thorne
In the continuing story of the Lunar Chronicles, we're reintroduced to Cress, the imprisoned Lunar shell hacker Cinder talked to back in the first book. She's been trapped on a satellite since the age of nine--with no scissors--and she's been doing things like blocking Lunar ships from Earthen sensors--including the ship that Cinder is on, because Cress (short for Crescent Moon, a common Lunar name) likes her, and she's also a huuuuge fangirl of Carswell Thorne. Naturally, as a girl who's had little to no socialization for the last few years, he's her dream dude.
“He was exactly the kind of hero Cress had been dreaming about her entire life….Because if there was one thing Cress knew about heroes, it was that they could not resist a damsel in distress. And she was nothing if not in distress.”
Cress appeals to the crew of the Rampion to rescue her, and they want to. However, the appearance of her jailer, Thaumaturge Sybil Mira, right before the rescue screws everything up and splits the party. Cress and Carswell end up plummeting to earth in her satellite, and Carswell takes a blow to the head that blinds him. They land in Africa and despite not being able to see, Carswell does a bang-up job of supporting Cress and helping her survive when she doesn't even have shoes and hasn't been on real land. Their hanging out together is a good dose of reality, but also enjoyable since Carswell is good at what he does and Cress plugs right along.
C&C end up finding the village that Dr. Erland is currently working out of, still trying to find a cure for leutmosis. Instead, all he's found out is that the disease is now catchable by Lunars now. When Cress is found out as a Lunar, she's kidnapped and brought to him--but little does she know that Dr. Erland is actually her father, and he thought his daughter had been killed years ago. (This, sadly, doesn't lead to as cool of a reunion as you might think it does.)
Meanwhile back on the Rampion, the remaining crew fall into Mira's trap and Mira brainwashes Scarlet into a getaway with her, trapping Scarlet on Luna. Where terrible things happen to her. Sigh. Though she does get one very weird friend on her side...
The remaining crew end up with a bit of a personnel swap, as Mira's personal guard Jacin isn't too thrilled with her and seems amenable to switching sides, since he's loyal to "the true princess." Cinder assumes he means her, but it turns out he's referring to his childhood pal, the queen's stepdaughter Winter (also known as Scarlet's new pal). They also make their way to Dr. Erland for a reunion and medical assistance, and find out that the village Erland is in is filled with secret Lunar refugees who are delighted to help her out...especially when the cops come.
After that, it's time to bust up a wedding and kidnap the groom!
This was also a very good book--it's very solid on action and adventure and escalating stakes and surprises. I also enjoyed the heck out of Carswell and Cress, who are probably my favorites in the series. Carswell's charming and loyal and not the bad guy he thinks he is, and you root for him and Cress to get together. Also, he has just the best lines of everyone for snark. The balance of reality vs. fantasy in their relationship is done really well, too. (I was slightly unthrilled by the Big Mis moment when Carswell gets an escort-droid for Iko and Cress assumes he wanted a robot girlfriend, but I guess that's kinda inevitable under the circumstances.) I had a lot of fun reading this and then ran on to the next book. So, four stars.
- Cress staring into Carswell's eyes on screen for the first time: “Though they were separated by two screens and vast amounts of empty space, she could feel the link being forged between them in that look. A bond that couldn’t be broken. Their eyes had met for the first time, and by the look of pure amazement on his face, she knew he felt it too….. “Is that all hair?”
- Kai’s wedding vows suggestion: “Delete anything that has to do with love, respect, or joy, and I’ll sign on the dotted line."
- “You can begin by learning some manners, or no one will ever believe you could be royalty.” –Dr. Erland
“I’m sure that poor etiquette is the number one reason for most failed revolutions.” –Cinder
- “Oh, please. It’d take a lot more than a satellite plummeting to Earth to kill me.” –Thorne
- “I used to believe that you and I were destined to be together, someday, and that we would have this great, epic romance.”
“Wow. No pressure or anything.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I think you might be right, though. Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.” –Cress and Thorne
- “We’re pretending that I cut off her hair and glued it to my head because I wanted to be a candlestick, and she didn’t like that.” –Winter, who’s going mad because she hasn’t used glamour since age 12.
- “Oh yeah, she’s great. I mean, half the people in the world want to kill her and the other half want to chain her to a throne on the moon, which is just what she’s always wanted. So she’s fantastic.” –Cinder on Selene