Cress - Marissa Meyer This is another fantastic sequel to Cinder.

I still love Cinder. She's my favorite character. She wants so badly to do the right thing, but is terrified that using her Lunar gift, even for good, will turn her into Levana. While I trust Cinder not to let the power corrupt her, I think that she would be less of a person if she didn't have these doubts, cliché though they may be (seriously, I have never read about a character who suddenly acquires great and dangerous powers who doesn't worry they're going to turn into a monster.) Cinder had more character growth then she'd had in Scarlet, coming to the point where she accepts her role as the only person who can save Earth and Luna. Like many other heroic characters before her she continues to suffer severe guilt when the villain kills innocent people to get at her. Again, cliché though it may be I would have issues if she didn't feel guilty about it. It's not her fault that Levana is evil, but she unintentionally put into motion the events that led to Levana murdering the villagers in Africa. It really isn't her fault because the only other choice she had was to go willingly and be murdered, loosing both Earth and Luna their best chances to free themselves from an evil ruler. Yet, her guilt about these people's murder only makes it more apparent that she could never be Levana, who would never hesitate to use others as a shield intentionally, never mind by accident. I can't wait to see Cinder's character continue to develop in the series.

We didn't see a terrible amount of Kai. We saw that he still has feelings for Cinder and that he hated going through with the wedding, but felt he had no choice. I felt like Torin was, if not necessarily a fatherly character, at least an uncle-ish one. He certainly does seem to care for Kai, and I liked seeing their roles together with the almost-family dynamic.As someone who actually finds Torin an interesting and likeable character, I am really hoping that his 'temporary' control of the Eastern Commonwealth doesn't turn into something more sinister, like a takeover or him working with Levana. It took long enough, but it was nice to see Kai and Cinder meet again. I'm looking foreword to seeing how their relationship develops in the next book.

We didn't see much of Scarlet in this book, but what we did see of her was enough to make me think I may have been wrong in my opinion of her in my review of the last book when I said that she; "didn't quite live up to my first impression of her; a gun-toting, smart-aleck badass who was quickly disarmed by Wolf's charms." She actually did seem more like my first impression of her in Cress then she did in most of Scarlet. She still cared very deeply about Wolf, but I don't have a problem with her having romance, just with her being completely blinded by it. It seems as though she'll be a key player in Winter, and I hope that she continues to keep the toughness that she found in this book.

I feel so bad for Wolf. He cares about Scarlet more than anything else in the world, and is unable to focus when he is worried about her. Sadly, do to his apathy because of Scarlet's absence, he didn't really have much character development in this book.

Thorne is something else. I really like him as a character, but I feel like we wouldn't get along very well at all if we met in real life. I think that his having to rely on other people (and Cress in particular) helped to give him a great deal of character development. Oh don't get me wrong, he's still an arrogant jerk who thinks too much of his own charm, but at least he was forced to see his vulnerability and realize that sometimes he will have to rely on others. Hopefully he doesn't loose that when he regains his sight. (I assume that he will regain his sight since the Prince did in the original story of Rapunzel.) I liked that he tried to be honest with Cress, though I'm not sure how I feel about their relationship just yet.

Cress was an interesting addition to our main characters. She's sweet, naïve, and hopelessly infatuated with Thorne. I tend to be cautious of any relationship that starts with infatuation, especially as deep an infatuation as Cress has for Thorne. I think that before Cress can develop real love for Thorne she will have to be have her infatuation disillusioned (if that sentence makes any sense.) She almost did when she saw Thorne and the escort droid who's body became Iko, but even after that she was willing to follow him blindly again. For all that I loathe infatuation relationships I do think that Cress and Thorne could be good for each other. I think That Thorne, despite his denials Thorne may have been falling in love with Cress already, which just leaves Cress to have her infatuation stripped so that she can be open to real love.

I was quite disappointed with Doctor Erland's story arc. I was not surprised at all with Cress being his daughter. I'd already guessed that. But I love family reunions, and I don't appreciate when they are cut short by a member of the family dying. Since Cress didn't immediately experience joy at having found her father, and the fact that they would probably would have had to work through some issues before they were able to have a strong father-daughter relationship is what, more than anything, is what I didn't like about his abrupt death, though I expect that if Cress had accepted and returned Erland's love I still wouldn't have been happy with his almost immediate dying. And after all the time Cress spent imagining her family, she couldn't say anything except goodbye to Erland. Not 'I love you.' Not 'I've missed you.' Not 'I'm surprised and somewhat glad that I was taken from you by force and you didn't just hand me over to be killed like I had thought you had.' Just 'goodbye.' And then he died. It's sad, because he was an interesting character, and the only loving father that any of the characters had (at least that we've met. Kai seemed to be close to his dad but he was already dying the only time we met him, the short story about Wolf's short story implies that his father was loving, but we only saw him for two seconds in a short story and Wolf was being forcibly taken away from his family, and while it's possible that Thorne had loving parents, his early law-breaking would suggest not,) and it would have been nice to see just one loving parent in the story. Dr. Erland is a very complex character with weird motivations and justifications, and I guess I just wish that he would have lived a little longer. Maybe been able to make up for some of the human-rights violations he participated in? He certainly seems to have good intentions, but that does not mean that the evils he sanctioned.

We meet two new characters, Winter and Jacin, both of whom seem very interesting, and I think we're pretty much guaranteed to see more of them in Winter, which I am looking foreword to reading.