A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cress is the third of four books in Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles, a series that features major sci-fi twists on well-known fairy tales. Here Cress is Rapunzel stuck as a hacker in a spy satellite until she's rescued. The rescue goes awry, leading to a main character being shot almost fatally, as well as more main characters nearly killed in a crash and in a march through the desert and then later from gunfights with soldiers and guards. One character is tortured with hallucinations. The backdrop of the series also is tense: Earth and the moon (Luna) are on the verge of war, and many on Earth are dying of a highly contagious disease. There are now three couples in this series, one introduced per book. No one does more than kiss passionately. The only other mature content includes one character drinking and another starting a fight while gambling in a bar with an "escort droid" perched on his lap. The three teen girls at the center of the series -- Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress -- continue to be strong characters. Cress is all about being rescued in the beginning of the book, but her talents as a hacker prove she's a huge asset to her new friends.
What's the story?
Cress considers herself the definition of a damsel in distress. She's been stuck alone in a satellite for years against her will, spying on Earthens for Queen Levana of Luna. If only Carswell Thorne -- handsome spaceship captain and wanted criminal -- would come to her rescue. In exchange, she has a lot of dirt on her dangerous queen that Thorne and Cinder, Lunar cyborg princess-in-hiding, will want to know. First of all, Emperor Kai should not marry Levana, even if she's willing to exchange her hand in marriage for the antidote to Earth's deadliest virus, because Levana wants to rule over all of Earth and Luna herself (cue maniacal laugh). Finally, Thorne's ship responds to Cress's call and docks on her satellite, but the rescue goes down in about as tangled a mess as Cress' crazy-long hair. Between kidnappings and crash-landings in the Sahara, how on Earth and Luna are they supposed to stop Kai and Levana's wedding on time?
Is it any good?
Yes, it's true: In CRESS, it does take almost 500 pages for Cinder and Kai to see each other again; luckily, with the introduction of Cress, the 500 pages is worth the wait. She's the most naive character readers will find themselves rooting for. It must be something about her amazing hacker skills. And somehow Thorne ends up a lot more likable when he meets Cress.
Marissa Meyer's great characters will draw readers in first, and they'll stick around for all the impossible situations: the characters rescuing Cress, saving Wolf from a bullet wound, stopping a royal wedding. What'll be next? Saving the world/worlds? Yup, it looks like that's what's in store for Book 4.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Rapunzel fairy tale. What about Cress is the same? What's different? Did you pick up on why the author named her love interest Thorne?
When did you get into the Lunar Chronicles series? Will you read the fourth book? What do you like most about it? Who's your favorite couple?
Cress daydreams about Thorne in her satellite while spying on him and learning everything she can that's recorded about him. Does she really learn everything about him? Can you learn everything about someone from, say, their Facebook page and a Google search?
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love fairy tales and fantasy
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.