Welcome back to Lunarthon! This week we’re starting the third book in the series with chapters 1-20 and we’ve got a new member of Team Cinder to discuss – Cress!
Things aren’t looking good for our protagonists. In the first twenty chapters of Cress alone, Cinder and her friends are separated in a rescue attempt gone wrong, Scarlet is captured by a Lunar thaumaturge, Wolf is shot in the chest, and Cress and Thorne survive their crash to Earth only to find themselves lost (and, in Thorne’s case, blind) in the middle of an unknown desert with no hope of rescue.
But even with Meyer’s characters in such dire straits, this week’s chapters had me giggling out loud over the banter between Cinder, Thorne, Iko, Scarlet and Wolf, and grinning from ear to ear every time new protagonist Cress Darnel made an appearance.
“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.”
Cinder pushed up and swung one leg forward in a half circle. Her ankle collided with the back of Thorne’s calves. He cried out and fell, landing on his backside with a grunt.
Beaming, Cinder glanced up at Wolf for approval, but both he and Scarlet were too busy laughing.
Cinder stood and offered Thorne a hand.
“You can help me pick out a tiara when we’re done saving the world.”
We’re over halfway through the series, but this is the first time that we get to really see Meyer’s ensemble cast interacting with each other during their downtime, and – for a brief moment, anyway – not separated. I think it’s a testament to Meyer’s skill at writing characters and relationships that even though we haven’t really had the chance to see Cinder and Wolf or Scarlet and Thorne bonding before now, the friendship between the five members of Team Cinder aboard the Rampion at the beginning of Cress feels completely easy and natural. And as much as I enjoy the romantic pairings of The Lunar Chronicles, it’s the friendships between each member of this diverse group of characters which make this series special to me.
Of course, that group wouldn’t be complete without newcomer Cress Darnel. Shy, sweet and brilliantly smart, Cress is one of Meyer’s most lovable characters. There’s a lot of amazing Cress moments in these chapters that I could mention – like the reveal that she’s been tracking and hiding the Rampion from the moment Cinder and Thorne left New Beijing, or the way she uses her hacking skills to save Thorne and herself during their fall to Earth. But my favourite part of these chapters is the moment Cress looks out of her window and sees Earth up close for the first time. Cress doesn’t see herself as brave, and she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to cope with this new adventure, but she’s determined to try.
“I am an explorer,” she whispered, “setting courageously off into the wild unknown.” It was not a daydream she’d ever had before, but she felt the familiar comfort of her imagination wrapping around her. She was an archaeologist, a scientist, a treasure hunter. She was a master of land and sea. “My life is an adventure,” she said, growing more confident as she opened her eyes again. “I will not be shackled to this satellite anymore.”
What do you make of the newest member of Team Cinder? Sound off in the comments below – and don’t forget to read chapters 21-40 for next week’s Lunarthon!