Thorne has rescued the hacker locked in her satellite and they’ve crashlanded to Earth. While they’re making they’re way through the dessert, fighting for survival, Cinder is flying Wolf to Africa to find Dr. Erland and save Wolf’s life. Along the way they’ve gathered a guard who says his loyalty lies with his Princess, and they’ve lost Scarlet who was taken by Thaumaturge Sybil Mira. In the middle of all this, they’re still struggling to come up with a plan to stop the royal wedding, overthrow Levana, and put Cinder on the Lunar throne.
We finally get a glimpse of the brutality of the Lunar Court. Scarlet was taken, given as a toy to be tortured by some terrible Lunar boy, and brutally interrogated by Queen Levana. When the Queen was through with her, she gave Scarlet to her step-daughter who is slowly losing her mind.
Thorne is rightfully struggling with self-esteem. Cress worshipped him when she was on the satellite. One-by-one he debunked all of the heroic ideas she’s had about him, and doing so has really hit his ego. His honesty only seems to make Cress like him more. With his remorse, and his concern for Cress and the other members of his crew, he seems almost swoonworthy (instead of being a giant eyeroll as per usual).
The point of this book is assembling our Avengers. We’re getting all of the necessary pieces in the same place so we can put our big plan into action. We got rid of some dead weight, used knowledge from other characters to advance our cause, and now we’re ready for the big boss battle. Because of that, most of these plot lines are continuations without major development.
Marissa Meyer’s story writing ability continues to improve with every novel she puts out. Cinder’s finally turning into an interesting character. The pace of the novel makes more sense. She’s beginning to show us how important political events of the past are especially relevant to current events in the Earthen Union. Each of these books has continued to improve and I’m excited to read Winter next.
Cinder has fled the Eastern Commonwealth into space. She’s supposed to meet Dr. Erland in Africa and talk about next steps regarding Princess Selene, but they need a new power cell for the ship and Cinder needs answers about her past. Answers that might be with the person who took her in when she escaped from Luna: Michelle Benoit.
But halfway around the world, Michelle Benoit is missing and her granddaughter, Scarlet, is desperately searching for her. The police keep telling Scarlet that her grand-mere is crazy and she’ll find her way home soon, but Scarlet knows something is wrong. She meets Wolf, a mysterious man with a strange tattoo and problematic allegiances, who seems to know more about Michelle’s disappearance than he’s sharing. And when Cinder and Scarlet meet, they must work to stay one step ahead of the Lunars out to kill them both.
I liked Scarlet better than Cinder, probably because I like Scarlet as a character better than I liked Cinder. She’s stronger; she’s got a lot of fire to her. A little Mary-Sue-ish, sure, but she’s angry and she’s ready to act. Cinder just wanted to run. I’m not usually a fan of changing characters between books, but Meyer did it so well. She tied the two storylines together really well. I’m looking forward to seeing how Cress will come into play in the next novel.
I also think the coupling in this novel worked better than in Cinder. In Cinder, Kai was uselessly flirting with Cinder and he invited her to the ball. But Cinder spent the whole book pretending to be someone different. She didn’t want him to know she was cyborg, she didn’t want him to know that Adri couldn’t afford nice things, she didn’t want him to know anything about her, really. Scarlet doesn’t have time for that. She’s on a mission and pretending to be someone she’s not would expend energy she just doesn’t have for that. Her determination gives her a genuineness we didn’t see from Cinder. Plus there was some actual romance involved.
It’s frustrating that Cinder chose not to travel to Africa to meet up with Dr. Erland. He’s obviously got answers to her questions, but she’s afraid that he wants to put her on the Lunar throne. Instead she goes looking for answers on her own and almost gets herself killed because of it. I get it, she’s never been autonomous; Adri was always in charge. Now she’s got some freedom and she’s not ready to throw that away. But there are people dying. For her. The least she can do is indulge Dr. Erland’s request that she see him.
Like I said about Cinder; this isn’t the greatest literary work I’ve ever read, but it’s entertaining and it’s fun. Once you pick it up, you’re not going to want to put it down.