Cress (Lunar Chronicles Series #3)

Cress (Lunar Chronicles Series #3)

4.6 243
by Marissa Meyer

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In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her

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In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she's just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she'd ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Cress is locked away in a floating satellite. She dreams of visiting Earth, the planet she has been forced to spy on, and meeting Carswell Thorne, the handsome ship captain who teamed up with Cinder in Scarlet (Feiwel & Friends, 2013). Her wish comes true after an attempted rescue from Cinder and her crew is intercepted, leaving Cress and Thorne stranded on Earth. At the same time, Scarlet is kidnapped, and Queen Levana, frustrated with Cinder's escape, begins to attack Earth. Cinder has her hands full with finding her missing comrades, dealing with an out-of-control Wolf, preventing Levana and Kai's marriage, and accepting her own royal heritage. At the end of the book, Cinder realizes that she can no longer hide from her destiny and begins preparations to head to Luna for a revolution. Cress fills in more historical details about Earth and Luna's relationship—most of which will be of no surprise to the reader—and Cinder's rebirth as a cyborg. Fans of Scarlet and Wolf may be disappointed that their relationship takes a backseat to the newly introduced pairing. As always, Meyer excels at interweaving new characters that extend beyond the archetypes of their fairy tale into the main story. Readers will eagerly await the final installment of this highly appealing and well-constructed series.—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/09/2013
This third of four books in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles has no shortage of humor, action, or romance, and the author still delivers the clever fairy-tale twists her readers expect. Cress, a self-proclaimed “damsel in distress,” has been imprisoned in an orbiting satellite for more than seven years, and has never been allowed to cut her hair, which has grown to Rapunzel-like lengths. Though Cress—an expert hacker—is supposed to be tracking down the fugitive Linh Cinder for Lunar Queen Levana, Cress has been secretly aiding her. When Cinder and her crew try to rescue Cress, the plan goes awry, leaving Cinder’s group scattered and fighting for survival. Meyer continues to show off her storytelling prowess, keeping readers engaged in a wide cast of characters while unfolding a layered plot that involves warring governments and a fast-spreading plague. The momentum Meyer built in the first two books continues to accelerate as the stakes grow higher for Cinder and her friends. The next installment cannot come fast enough. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Feb.)

Once again, Meyer offers up a science fiction fantasy page-turner that salutes women's intelligence and empowerment. . . . Old and new romances, unfinished story lines, and the prognostication of wartime horrors all pave the way for Meyer's much anticipated next installment, Winter, expected in 2015.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Susan Hampe
Cress is a skilled hacker who has spent most of her life living on a satellite doing lunar thaumaturge, as Sybil Mira has commanded her—or so Sybil thinks. In secret, Cress has located the Rampion carrying Cinder and crew, including the handsome Carswell Throne, and sits waiting anxiously for them to try to contact her once more. The meeting of the Rampion and the Satellite will scatter the crew into even greater danger while leaving them no time to recover, putting even more pressure on Cinder. Now she must learn to use her abilities, rescue her friends, stop a wedding, prevent a marriage, overthrow a queen, and save the world. The story is told from the perspective of various characters, which allows the reader to watch an elaborate and well-planned plot unfold while creating numerous pulse-pounding moments of suspense. Fans of the series will delight in Cress’s adorableness, and fans of Thorne will have plenty to swoon over. Several satisfying moments lead up to an amazing conclusion that will leave readers desperate for the next book. While they wait for Winter, due out next year, recommend checking out Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series and other dystopian novels. Reviewer: Susan Hampe; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Crescent Moon (Cress) is a Sci-fi Rapunzel locked away in a satellite that orbits earth. She is a “shell” and she spends her days hacking as a spy for the evil Queen Levana. She is trying to locate the cyborg Linh Cinder who is also the lost Princess Selena and heir to the Luna throne. Cinder’s spaceship, the Rampion, is piloted by the handsome and charismatic Captain Thorne Caswell. Also onboard is Wolf, a Lunar special ops and Scarlet Benoit who escaped her home when her Grandmother was killed. Meanwhile, the Lunar Queen is planning her wedding to earth’s Emperor Kaito who is being forced to marry her in order to keep the Commonwealth safe and to receive the antidote to the Letumosis plague that is killing off his people. Cress’s satellite reaches out to the Rampion in hopes that they’ll rescue her from her “tower.” Unfortunately Thaumaturg Sybil (her jailor) makes a surprise visit and the rescuers find themselves in a trap. Our fairytale heroes find themselves separated. Cress and Thorne end up in the satellite, which plummets them to earth and the Sahara Desert. Scarlet is mind controlled by Sybil and forced to pilot her ship back to Lunar. Cinder and the injured Wolf barely make it to Dr. Dmitri Erland who is in another part of Africa with secrets of his own. They are assisted by an unlikely helper in Sybil’s Royal Guard, Jacin Clay. Now Cinder must find a way to stop the royal wedding and reunite herself with the Emperor whom she met at the ball. A wonderful futuristic take on six beloved fairytale characters. This third book is so creative and exciting. It really delivers an imaginative, adventurous, humorous, and romantic tale. Fairytale turns Futuretale. My anticipation is great for book four. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan; Ages 12 up.

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Product Details

Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
Lunar Chronicles Series , #3
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view—vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.

When she was first imprisoned, she had loved nothing more than to stack her pillows on top of the desk that was built into the walls and drape her bed linens over the screens, making a small alcove for herself. She would pretend that she was not on a satellite at all, but in a podship en route to the blue planet. Soon she would land and step out onto real dirt, feel real sunshine, smell real oxygen.

She would stare at the continents for hours and hours, imagining what that must be like.

Her view of Luna, however, was always to be avoided. Some days her satellite passed so close that the moon took up the entire view and she could make out the enormous glinting domes on its surface and the sparkling cities where the Lunars lived. Where she, too, had lived. Years ago. Before she’d been banished.

As a child, Cress had hidden from the moon during those achingly long hours. Sometimes she would escape to the small washroom and distract herself by twisting elaborate braids into her hair. Or she would scramble beneath her desk and sing lullabies until she fell asleep. Or she would dream up a mother and a father, and imagine how they would play make-believe with her and read her adventure stories and brush her hair lovingly off her brow, until finally—finally—the moon would sink again behind the protective Earth, and she was safe.

Even now, Cress used those hours to crawl beneath her bed and nap or read or write songs in her head or work out complicated coding. She still did not like to look at the cities of Luna; she harbored a secret paranoia that if she could see the Lunars, surely they could look up beyond their artificial skies and see her.

For more than seven years, this had been her nightmare.

But now the silver horizon of Luna was creeping into the corner of her window, and Cress paid no attention. This time, her wall of invisi-screens was showing her a brand-new nightmare. Brutal words were splattered across the newsfeeds, photos and videos blurring in her vision as she scrolled from one feed to the next. She couldn’t read fast enough.




The net was littered with horrors. Victims dead in the streets with shredded abdomens and blood leaking into the gutters. Feral men-creatures with gore on their chins and beneath their fingernails and staining the fronts of their shirts. She scrolled through them all with one hand pressed over her mouth. Breathing became increasingly difficult as the truth of it all sank in.

This was her fault.

For months she had been cloaking those Lunar ships from Earthen detection, doing Mistress Sybil’s bidding without question, like the well-trained lackey she was.

Now she knew just what kind of monsters had been aboard those ships. Only now did she understand what Her Majesty had been planning all along, and it was far too late.


Earth had been taken unaware, and all because she hadn’t been brave enough to say no to Mistress’s demands. She had done her job and then turned a blind eye to it all.

She averted her gaze from the pictures of death and carnage, focusing on another news story that suggested more horrors to come.

Emperor Kaito of the Eastern Commonwealth had put an end to the attacks by agreeing to marry Lunar Queen Levana.

Queen Levana was to become the Commonwealth’s new empress.

The shocked journalists of Earth were scrambling to determine their stance on this diplomatic yet controversial arrangement. Some were in outrage, proclaiming that the Commonwealth and the rest of the Earthen Union should be preparing for war, not a wedding. But others were hastily trying to justify the alliance. With a swirl of her fingers on the thin, transparent screen, Cress raised the audio of a man who was going on about the potential benefits. No more attacks or speculations on when an attack might come. Earth would come to understand the Lunar culture better. They would share technological advances. They would be allies.

And besides, Queen Levana only wanted to rule the Eastern Commonwealth. Surely she would leave the rest of the Earthen Union alone.

But Cress knew they would be fools to believe it. Queen Levana was going to become empress, then she would have Emperor Kaito murdered, claim the country for her own, and use it as a launching pad to assemble her army before invading the rest of the Union. She would not stop until the entire planet was under her control. This small attack, these sixteen thousand deaths … they were only the beginning.

Silencing the broadcast, Cress set her elbows on her desk and dug both hands into her hive of blonde hair. She was suddenly cold, despite the consistently maintained temperature inside the satellite. One of the screens behind her was reading aloud in a child’s voice that had been programmed during four months of insanity-inducing boredom when she was ten years old. The voice was too chipper for the material it quoted: a medical blog from the American Republic announcing the results of an autopsy performed on one of the Lunar soldiers.

The bones had been reinforced with calcium-rich biotissue, while the cartilage in major joints was infused with a saline solution for added flexibility and pliability. Orthodontic implants replaced the canine and incisor teeth with those mimicking the teeth of a wolf, and we see the same bone reinforcement around the jaw to allow for the strength to crush material such as bone and other tissue. Remapping of the central nervous system and extensive psychological tampering were responsible for the subject’s unyielding aggression and wolf-like tendencies. Dr. Edelstein has theorized that an advanced manipulation technique of the brain’s bioelectric waves may also have played a role in—

“Mute feed.”

The sweet ten-year-old’s voice was silenced, leaving the satellite humming with the sounds that had long ago been relegated to the back of Cress’s consciousness. The whirring of fans. The thrumming of the life support system. The gurgling of the water recycling tank.

Cress gathered the thick locks of hair at the nape of her neck and pulled the tail over her shoulder—it had a tendency to get caught up in the wheels of her chair when she wasn’t careful. The screens before her flickered and scrolled as more and more information came in from the Earthen feeds. News was coming out from Luna too, on their “brave soldiers” and “hard-fought victory”—crown-sanctioned drivel, naturally. Cress had stopped paying attention to Lunar news when she was twelve.

She mindlessly wrapped her ponytail around her left arm, spiraling it from elbow to wrist, unaware of the tangles clumping in her lap.

“Oh, Cress,” she murmured. “What are we going to do?”

Her ten-year-old self piped back, “Please clarify your instructions, Big Sister.”

Cress shut her eyes against the screen’s glare. “I understand that Emperor Kai is only trying to stop a war, but he must know this won’t stop Her Majesty. She’s going to kill him if he goes through with this, and then where will Earth be?” A headache pounded at her temples. “I thought for certain Linh Cinder had told him at the ball, but what if I’m wrong? What if he still has no idea of the danger he’s in?”

Spinning in her chair, she swiped her fingers across a muted newsfeed, punched in a code, and called up the hidden window that she checked a hundred times a day. The D-COMM window opened like a black hole, abandoned and silent, on top of her desk. Linh Cinder still had not tried to contact her. Perhaps her chip had been confiscated or destroyed. Perhaps Linh Cinder didn’t even have it anymore.

Huffing, Cress dismissed the link and, with a few hasty taps of her fingertips, cascaded a dozen different windows in its place. They were linked to a spider alert service that was constantly patrolling the net for any information related to the Lunar cyborg who had been taken into custody a week earlier. Linh Cinder. The girl who had escaped from New Beijing Prison. The girl who had been Cress’s only chance of telling Emperor Kaito the truth about Queen Levana’s intentions should he agree to the marriage alliance.

The major feed hadn’t been updated in eleven hours. In the hysteria of the Lunar invasion, Earth seemed to have forgotten about their most-wanted fugitive.

“Big Sister?”

Pulse hiccupping, Cress grasped the arms of her chair. “Yes, Little Cress?”

“Mistress’s ship detected. Expected arrival in twenty-two seconds.”

Cress catapulted from her chair at the word mistress, spoken even all those years ago with a tinge of dread.

Her movements were a precisely choreographed dance, one she had mastered after years of practice. In her mind, she became a second-era ballerina, skimming across a shadowy stage as Little Cress counted down the seconds.

00:21. Cress pressed her palm onto the mattress-deploy button.

00:20. She swiveled back to the screen, sending all feeds of Linh Cinder beneath a layer of Lunar crown propaganda.

00:19. The mattress landed with a thunk on the floor, the pillows and blankets wadded up just as she’d left them.

00:18. 17. 16. Her fingers danced across the screens, hiding Earthen newsfeeds and netgroups.

00:15. A turn, a quick search for two corners of her blanket.

00:14. A flick of her wrists, casting the blanket up like a wind-caught sail.

00:13. 12. 11. She smoothed and tugged her way to the opposite side of the bed, pivoting toward the screens on the other side of her living quarters.

00:10. 9. Earthen dramas, music recordings, second-era literature, all dismissed.

00:08. A swivel back toward the bed. A graceful turning down of the blanket.

00:07. Two pillows symmetrically stacked against the headboard. A flourish of her arm to pull out the hair that had gotten caught beneath the blanket.

00:06. 5. A glissade across the floor, dipping and spinning, gathering up every discarded sock and hair tie and sending them into the renewal chute.

00:04. 3. A sweep of the desks, collecting her only bowl, her only spoon, her only glass, and a handful of stylus pens, and depositing them into the pantry cabinet.

00:02. A final pirouette to scan her work.

00:01. A pleased exhalation, culminating in a graceful bow.

“Mistress has arrived,” said Little Cress. “She is requesting an extension of the docking clamp.”

The stage, the shadows, the music, all fell away from Cress’s thoughts, though a practiced smile remained on her lips. “Of course,” she chirped, swanning toward the main boarding ramp. There were two ramps on her satellite, but only one had ever been used. She wasn’t even sure if the opposite entrance functioned. Each wide metal door opened up to a docking hatch and, beyond that, space.

Except for when there was a podship anchored there. Mistress’s podship.

Cress tapped in the command. A diagram on the screen showed the clamp extending, and she heard the thump as the ship attached. The walls jolted around her.

She had the next moments memorized, could have counted the heartbeats between each familiar sound. The whir of the small spacecraft’s engines powering down. The clang of the hatch attaching and sealing around the podship. The vacuum as oxygen was pushed into the space. The beep confirming that travel between the two modules was safe. The opening of the spacecraft. Steps echoing on the walkway. The whoosh of the satellite entrance.

There had been a time when Cress had hoped for warmth and kindness from her mistress. That perhaps Sybil would look at her and say, “My dear, sweet Crescent, you have earned the trust and respect of Her Majesty, the Queen. You are welcome to return with me to Luna and be accepted as one of us.”

That time had long since passed, but Cress’s practiced smile held firm even in the face of Mistress Sybil’s coldness. “Good day, Mistress.”

Sybil sniffed. The embroidered sleeves of her white jacket fluttered around the large case she carried, filled with her usual provisions: food and fresh water for Cress’s confinement and, of course, the medical kit. “So you’ve found her, have you?”

Cress winced around her frozen grin. “Found her, Mistress?”

“If it is a good day, then you must have finally completed the simple task I’ve given you. Is that it, Crescent? Have you found the cyborg?”

Cress lowered her gaze and dug her fingernails into her palms. “No, Mistress. I haven’t found her.”

“I see. So it isn’t a good day after all, is it?”

“I only meant … Your company is always…” She trailed off. Forcing her hands to unclench, she dared to meet Mistress Sybil’s glare. “I was just reading the news, Mistress. I thought perhaps we were pleased about Her Majesty’s engagement.”

Sybil dropped the case onto the crisply made bed. “We will be satisfied once Earth is under Lunar control. Until then, there is work to be done, and you should not be wasting your time reading news and gossip.”

Sybil neared the monitor that held the secret window with the D-COMM feed and the evidence of Cress’s betrayal to the Lunar crown, and Cress stiffened. But Sybil reached past it to a screen displaying a vid of Emperor Kaito speaking in front of the Eastern Commonwealth flag. With a touch, the screen cleared, revealing the metal wall and a tangle of heating tubes behind it.

Cress slowly released her breath.

“I certainly hope you’ve found something.

She stood taller. “Linh Cinder was spotted in the European Federation, in a small town in southern France, at approximately 18:00 local ti—”

“I’m well aware of all that. And then she went to Paris and killed a thaumaturge and some useless special operatives. Anything else, Crescent?”

Cress swallowed and began winding her hair around both wrists in a looping figure eight. “At 17:48, in Rieux, France, the clerk of a ship-and-vehicle parts store updated the store inventory, removing one power cell that would be compatible with a 214 Rampion, Class 11.3, but not notating any sort of payment. I thought perhaps Linh Cinder stole … or maybe glamoured…” She hesitated. Sybil liked to keep up the pretense that the cyborg was a shell, even though they both knew it wasn’t true. Unlike Cress, who was a true shell, Linh Cinder had the Lunar gift. It may have been buried or hidden somehow, but it had certainly made itself known at the Commonwealth’s annual ball.

“A power cell?” Sybil said, passing over Cress’s hesitation.

“It converts compressed hydrogen into energy in order to propel—”

“I know what it is,” Sybil snapped. “You’re telling me that the only progress you’ve made is finding evidence that she’s making repairs to her ship? That it’s going to become even more difficult to track her down, a task that you couldn’t even manage when they were on Earth?”

“I’m sorry, Mistress. I’m trying. It’s just—”

“I’m not interested in your excuses. All these years I’ve persuaded Her Majesty to let you live, under the premise that you had something valuable to offer, something even more valuable than blood. Was I wrong to protect you, Crescent?”

She bit her lip, withholding a reminder of all she’d done for Her Majesty during her imprisonment. Designing countless spy systems for keeping watch on Earth’s leaders, hacking the communication links between diplomats, and jamming satellite signals to allow the queen’s soldiers to invade Earth undetected, so that now the blood of sixteen thousand Earthens was on her hands. It made no difference. Sybil cared only about Cress’s failures, and not finding Linh Cinder was Cress’s biggest failure to date.

“I’m sorry, Mistress. I’ll try harder.”

Sybil’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll be very displeased if you don’t find me that girl, and soon.”

Held by Sybil’s gaze, she felt like a moth pinned to an examination board. “Yes, Mistress.”

“Good.” Reaching forward, Sybil petted her cheek. It felt almost like a mother’s approval, but not quite. Then she turned away and released the locking mechanisms on the case. “Now then,” she said, retrieving a hypodermic needle from the medical kit. “Your arm.”


Copyright © 2014 by Rampion Books, Inc.

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