By Marissa Meyer


Welcome to the world of Cress by Marissa Meyer! 🌌 This book, a jewel in the crown of the Lunar Chronicles series, transports its readers to a fantastical universe where fairy tales meet science fiction. Published in 2014, Cress weaves together elements of the classic Rapunzel story with a futuristic twist, creating a narrative that’s both familiar and refreshingly original.

Marissa Meyer, an American novelist, is known for her ability to blend fantasy, romance, and adventure into her stories, making them irresistible to a wide audience. With Cress, the third book in the series, she continues the saga of Cinder, a cyborg mechanic with a mysterious past, and her band of rebels as they fight against the evil Lunar Queen Levana.

The genre of Cress can be best described as young adult science fiction with a strong fairy tale foundation. It’s a story that explores themes of freedom, identity, and love, all while taking its readers on an action-packed journey across Earth and beyond. Meyer’s talent for creating a vivid, compelling world is on full display, making Cress a must-read for fans of imaginative, character-driven narratives. So, buckle up for an adventure that promises to be as thrilling as it is enchanting! 🚀✨

Plot Summary

Cress unfolds with dynamic characters, intricate plot lines, and a setting that spans from the vastness of space to the deserts of Earth. Here’s a detailed look at how the story progresses:

Exposition — Our story begins with Cress, a gifted hacker and programmer who has been imprisoned in a satellite by the evil Lunar Queen Levana for years. Her only companions are the netscreens she uses to observe Earth and the occasional visits from her captor, Sybil Mira. Cress dreams of being rescued and experiencing the world beyond her tiny prison.

Rising Action — The tale escalates when Cinder, the cyborg mechanic and escaped fugitive, plans a daring mission to rescue Cress, hoping to use her hacking skills to undermine Levana’s plans for Earth. Joined by Captain Carswell Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf, the team’s attempt to save Cress sets off a chain of events that leads to unexpected consequences.

Climax — The story reaches its peak intensity during a failed rescue attempt that results in Cress and Thorne being stranded in the Sahara Desert. Meanwhile, Cinder’s group faces betrayal and capture, leading to heightened stakes as Levana’s grip tightens around Earth.

Falling Action — In the desert, Cress and Thorne struggle to survive and find their way to safety, developing a deep bond in the process. Simultaneously, Cinder and her allies work to escape captivity and rally support for their cause, leading to a series of daring escapades and revelations about Cinder’s past and Levana’s weaknesses.

Resolution — The narrative threads converge as the group reunites and formulates a plan to thwart Queen Levana’s marriage to Emperor Kai, aiming to prevent her from gaining control over Earth. With newfound allies and a clearer understanding of their strengths, Cinder and her team set the stage for the final confrontation with Levana, promising a showdown that could change the fate of both Earth and Luna.

Through trials and triumphs, Cress explores themes of freedom, love, and identity, setting the stage for the next installment in the Lunar Chronicles series. The characters’ journeys are fraught with challenges that test their resolve, forge unexpected alliances, and hint at the power of unity in the face of tyranny.

Character Analysis

In Cress, Marissa Meyer continues to develop a rich tapestry of characters, each with their own unique backgrounds, motivations, and arcs of growth. Let’s take a closer look at the main characters and how they evolve throughout the story.

  • Cress — Initially portrayed as a damsel in distress, Cress emerges as a strong, resourceful character. Despite years of isolation in a satellite, her optimism and bravery shine through, especially when she’s stranded in the Sahara Desert with Thorne. Her hacking skills are unparalleled, and she dreams of heroism and love, drawing inspiration from the Earth media she’s consumed. Throughout the book, Cress learns to navigate the complexities of the world and her feelings for Thorne, showcasing significant growth in confidence and agency.
  • Captain Carswell Thorne — Thorne continues to be the charming, roguish character with a heart of gold. Stranded with Cress, he reveals layers of depth and vulnerability previously unseen. Thorne’s journey is one of self-discovery; he grapples with his identity as a hero versus a criminal, ultimately leaning into his innate goodness and courage, especially in his efforts to protect and support Cress.
  • Cinder — The lunar cyborg mechanic remains at the heart of the rebellion against Queen Levana. Cinder’s growth is evident in her increasing acceptance of her identity as Princess Selene and her role as a leader. Throughout Cress, she faces numerous challenges that test her resolve, compassion, and leadership skills, forging her into a more decisive and formidable leader, ready to challenge Levana’s tyranny.
  • Scarlet — Although her presence is less pronounced in this installment, Scarlet’s resilience and strength remain evident. Her capture by the Lunars tests her endurance and spirit, but she continues to be an integral part of the team, symbolizing the personal sacrifices made in the fight against oppression.
  • Wolf — Wolf deals with personal turmoil, especially concerning Scarlet’s safety. His loyalty and love for Scarlet are unwavering, and he battles his inner demons and Lunar programming to protect his friends. Wolf’s journey is one of inner conflict, showcasing his struggle to reconcile his Lunar nature with his human emotions.

Character Analysis Summary:

CressOptimistic, resourcefulFreedom, loveGains confidence, becomes more proactive
Carswell ThorneCharming, roguishRedemption, protection of loved onesDiscovers true heroism within himself
CinderDetermined, compassionateOverthrow Levana, protect EarthEmbraces leadership, grows in resolve
ScarletResilient, strongFight against Levana, reunite with WolfMaintains strength despite adversity
WolfLoyal, conflictedProtect Scarlet, defy Lunar programmingStruggles with identity, shows unwavering loyalty

Through their adventures and challenges in Cress, each character undergoes significant growth, contributing to the overarching narrative of rebellion, identity, and love. Their development not only propels the story forward but also adds depth to the rich world Marissa Meyer has created.

Themes and Symbols

Cress by Marissa Meyer weaves a complex narrative that explores a multitude of themes and symbols, each enriching the story and offering deeper insight into the characters and their world. Here are some of the major themes and symbols present in the book:

  • Freedom vs. Control — At the heart of Cress lies the theme of freedom versus control. Cress, confined to her satellite, dreams of freedom, a stark contrast to the control Queen Levana exerts over her subjects and plans for Earth. This theme is echoed in the lives of all main characters as they struggle against the constraints placed upon them by society, their pasts, and themselves, striving for autonomy and the right to make their own choices.
  • Identity and Self-Discovery — Many characters in Cress embark on journeys of self-discovery, questioning who they are and who they want to become. Cress, Thorne, and even Cinder face moments of self-doubt and exploration, ultimately finding strength in their identities and roles within the group. This theme is a crucial part of their development and the narrative’s progression.
  • Love and Sacrifice — The relationships between characters, such as Cress and Thorne, Cinder and Kai, and Scarlet and Wolf, highlight the theme of love and the sacrifices it often requires. These relationships are tested by external conflicts and personal struggles, showcasing that true love involves compromise, risk, and the willingness to act for the good of the other.
  • Technology vs. Humanity — The Lunar Chronicles series, and Cress in particular, explores the relationship between technology and humanity. Cress, a brilliant hacker, uses her skills to fight against the misuse of technology by the Lunars and to aid Cinder’s rebellion. The story questions the ethics of technological advancements and underscores the importance of human connection and morality.


  • Cress’s Satellite — Represents isolation but also growth and creativity. Cress uses her time in the satellite to hone her hacking skills, which become crucial to the rebellion. It’s a symbol of her initial confinement but also her potential to affect change.
  • The Desert — Symbolizes danger, vastness, and the unknown. For Cress and Thorne, the desert is a trial that tests their survival skills and the strength of their bond, signifying their journey from vulnerability to resilience.
  • Mirrors — Frequently appearing in the series, mirrors symbolize truth and perception. They reflect the duality of characters’ identities, especially Lunar’s ability to manipulate appearances, and the struggle to see oneself and others clearly.

Through these themes and symbols, Cress delves into complex questions about freedom, identity, love, and the role of technology in society. Marissa Meyer crafts a narrative that not only entertains but also provokes thought about the real-world implications of these concepts.

Style and Tone

Marissa Meyer’s Cress is distinguished by a writing style and tone that skillfully balance elements of fairy tale romance, science fiction intrigue, and action-packed adventure. This unique blend contributes significantly to the mood and atmosphere of the book, engaging readers and drawing them into its richly imagined world. Here’s how these aspects play out across the narrative:

  • Engaging and Accessible — Meyer’s prose is notably engaging and accessible, making Cress a pleasure to read for both young adults and older fans of the genre. Her writing strikes a balance between simplicity and depth, ensuring that the complex world-building and technological aspects of the story are easy to understand without sacrificing richness or detail.
  • Humorous and Witty — The tone often incorporates humor and wit, especially through the dialogue of characters like Captain Carswell Thorne. This lightness provides relief from the story’s more tense moments and endears the characters to the reader. Meyer’s ability to weave humor into the narrative without undermining the gravity of the characters’ situations is a testament to her skill as a storyteller.
  • Dramatic and Tense — When the story demands it, Meyer’s writing shifts to create scenes filled with drama and tension. These moments are crafted with a keen sense of pacing, building suspense that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The climactic scenes, in particular, showcase her ability to dial up the intensity, making for a gripping reading experience.
  • Romantic and Reflective — The romantic subplots are handled with a tone that is both sweet and reflective, allowing for moments of introspection and character growth. Meyer explores the emotional depth of her characters through their relationships, using a tender tone that highlights their vulnerabilities and desires.
  • Immersive World-Building — Throughout Cress, Meyer employs descriptive language that vividly paints the settings, from the confines of a satellite to the expanses of the Sahara Desert. Her writing style is particularly effective in immersing readers in the novel’s diverse environments, enhancing the sense of adventure and exploration.

Key points in the writing style and tone:

  • The narrative is characterized by its clarity and vividness, making the fantastical elements of the story feel tangible and believable.
  • Humor is seamlessly integrated into the dialogue and situations, providing a counterbalance to the story’s more serious themes.
  • Dramatic tension is skillfully built up, creating a compelling narrative that engages readers emotionally.
  • The romantic elements are approached with a tone that is both heartfelt and contemplative, adding depth to the characters’ relationships.
  • Descriptive world-building enriches the setting, drawing readers deeper into the story’s universe.

Marissa Meyer’s writing in Cress is a crucial element of the book’s charm, blending genres and tones to create a story that is at once thrilling, humorous, and touching. This stylistic approach not only serves to enhance the narrative but also showcases Meyer’s versatility and creativity as an author.

Literary Devices used in Cress

Marissa Meyer’s Cress is a rich tapestry woven with a variety of literary devices that enhance its storytelling, character development, and themes. Here’s a look at the top 10 literary devices used in the book, emphasizing how each contributes to the narrative’s depth and reader engagement.

1. Metaphor — Metaphors are used extensively to draw parallels between characters and themes. For example, Cress’s satellite is often likened to a tower, alluding to her role as a Rapunzel figure, highlighting her isolation and longing for freedom.

2. Simile — Similes enrich the descriptive language of the novel, especially in the portrayal of settings and emotions. Describing the Sahara as “like an ocean of sand” not only paints a vivid picture but also emphasizes the vastness and danger that Cress and Thorne face.

3. Foreshadowing — Meyer uses foreshadowing to hint at future events, building suspense and anticipation. Early mentions of Lunar operatives on Earth foreshadow the climactic confrontations and the extent of Levana’s reach.

4. Irony — There’s a significant use of irony, particularly situational irony, where the outcome of actions is contrary to what was expected. Thorne, who prides himself on being a rogue, ends up playing the role of a hero, illustrating the difference between how he perceives himself and his true nature.

5. Symbolism — Symbols, such as Cress’s netscreens, represent her connection to and disconnection from the world. They are her only window to Earth, symbolizing both her isolation and her expertise, which ultimately becomes pivotal to the rebellion.

6. Imagery — Vivid imagery is used to immerse readers in the novel’s settings and character experiences. Meyer’s descriptions of the lunar surface, Earth’s landscapes, and the technology that permeates the world of the Lunar Chronicles enrich the narrative’s texture and believability.

7. Allusion — The entire novel is an allusion to the fairy tale of Rapunzel, reimagined in a futuristic setting. This not only serves as a structural framework for Cress’s story but also invites readers to explore the themes of captivity and liberation in new contexts.

8. Personification — Meyer occasionally personifies elements within the story to enhance the emotional impact or highlight certain themes, such as describing the satellite as “lonely,” which mirrors Cress’s own feelings of isolation.

9. Hyperbole — Hyperbolic statements are used for emphasis or humor, especially in character dialogues. Thorne’s exaggerated self-descriptions underscore his humorous, self-deprecating nature, adding levity to the narrative.

10. Parallelism — The parallel journeys of Cress and Cinder, both seeking freedom and self-determination, reflect the novel’s broader themes of rebellion against tyranny and the search for identity.

These literary devices are integral to Marissa Meyer’s storytelling, adding layers of meaning, enhancing emotional resonance, and contributing to the immersive quality of Cress. Through their use, Meyer not only tells a compelling story but also invites readers to engage with the narrative on a deeper level.

Literary Devices Examples

For each literary device identified in Cress by Marissa Meyer, let’s provide examples and explanations to illustrate how they are used effectively in the book.


Cress’s satellite being likened to a towerThis metaphor draws a direct parallel to the Rapunzel fairy tale, symbolizing Cress’s isolation and her longing to escape and experience the world below.


The Sahara described as “like an ocean of sand”This simile emphasizes the vastness and desolation of the desert, highlighting the challenges Cress and Thorne face in their survival and journey.


Early mentions of Lunar operatives on EarthThese hints foreshadow the significant role these operatives play in the climax, subtly building suspense about the impending confrontation.


Thorne’s self-perception as a rogue versus his heroic actionsThis situational irony highlights the contrast between Thorne’s self-image and his true nature, adding depth to his character development.


Cress’s netscreens as her connection to the worldThe netscreens symbolize Cress’s isolation but also her window to the world, representing her role in bridging Earth and Luna through her skills.


Descriptions of the lunar surface and Earth’s landscapesSuch vivid imagery immerses readers in the novel’s settings, making the fantastical elements of the story feel tangible and real.


The story’s structure as a reimagining of RapunzelThis allusion serves as a narrative framework, inviting readers to explore themes of captivity and liberation through a familiar yet distinct lens.


The satellite described as “lonely”Personifying the satellite mirrors Cress’s feelings of isolation, enhancing the emotional resonance of her situation.


Thorne’s exaggerated descriptions of himselfThese hyperbolic statements add humor to the narrative, revealing Thorne’s character through self-deprecation and levity.


The parallel journeys of Cress and CinderThis device underscores the novel’s themes of seeking freedom and identity, reflecting the broader narrative of rebellion against tyranny.

These examples highlight Marissa Meyer’s adept use of literary devices in Cress, enriching the story with deeper meaning, emotional impact, and engaging storytelling techniques.

Cress – FAQs

Q: What is the primary setting of Cress?
A: The primary settings of Cress include a satellite orbiting Earth, where Cress has been imprisoned; the Sahara Desert, where Cress and Thorne find themselves stranded; various locations on Earth as Cinder and her team continue their rebellion; and the moon, which is the home of the Lunar people and Queen Levana.

Q: How does Cress incorporate elements of the Rapunzel fairy tale?
A: Cress incorporates elements of the Rapunzel fairy tale through its protagonist, Cress, who is trapped in a satellite (paralleling Rapunzel’s tower) and has long hair. The story involves her longing to be freed and her eventual rescue, which mirrors the themes of captivity and liberation in the Rapunzel story.

Q: Who are the main characters in Cress, and what are their roles?
A: The main characters in Cress include:

  • Cress, a brilliant hacker and the titular character, who has been imprisoned in a satellite.
  • Captain Carswell Thorne, a charming fugitive and ally of Cinder, who becomes Cress’s companion.
  • Cinder, a cyborg mechanic and the lost Lunar princess leading the rebellion against Queen Levana.
  • Scarlet and Wolf, members of Cinder’s team, each with their own unique abilities and backstory.

Q: What themes are explored in Cress?
A: Major themes in Cress include freedom vs. control, the journey of self-discovery, love and sacrifice, and the relationship between technology and humanity. These themes are explored through the characters’ struggles and relationships throughout the novel.

Q: How does Cress contribute to the overall storyline of The Lunar Chronicles?
A: Cress advances the overarching storyline of The Lunar Chronicles by deepening the conflict between Cinder and Queen Levana, introducing new allies, and further developing the characters’ backstories and relationships. It sets the stage for the rebellion’s climax and the series’ conclusion, emphasizing themes of unity and resistance against tyranny.

Q: Can Cress be read as a standalone novel?
A: While Cress can be enjoyed for its individual story, it is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series and builds on the events and character developments from the previous books, Cinder and Scarlet. For the best understanding and enjoyment of the series, it is recommended to read the books in order.

Q: What literary devices are used in Cress?
A: Marissa Meyer employs various literary devices in Cress, including metaphor, simile, foreshadowing, irony, symbolism, imagery, allusion, personification, hyperbole, and parallelism. These devices enhance the narrative’s depth, emotional impact, and connection to the fairy tale elements of the story.


Here’s a quiz designed to test your comprehension of Cress by Marissa Meyer. Each question is followed by multiple-choice answers. Good luck!

Who is Cress’s rescuer who becomes stranded with her in the Sahara?CinderKaiThorneIko
What is Cress’s primary skill that aids Cinder’s team?CombatMedical expertiseHackingDiplomacy
Which character is a reimagined Rapunzel in Cress?ScarletCressWinterLevana
What motivates Queen Levana to pursue Cinder?Revenge for a past insultCinder’s technological skillsCinder’s true lunar heritageThe desire to control Earth
Where does the majority of Cress‘s action take place?In New BeijingOn LunaVarious locations on Earth and in spaceIn a virtual reality simulation
Who is the lunar princess leading the rebellion against Levana?CinderCressScarletWinter
What major theme is explored through the characters’ journeys?The importance of technology in societyIdentity and self-discoveryThe history of Luna and EarthThe dynamics of lunar powers
How does Cress end, setting the stage for the next book in the series?With a peaceful resolution between Earth and LunaWith the team preparing for a final confrontation against LevanaWith Cinder relinquishing her claim to the throneWith Cress returning to her satellite

This quiz covers key aspects of the plot, characters, and themes in Cress, providing a fun way to review the book’s content. Whether you’re a fan brushing up on details or a student preparing for a discussion, these questions highlight important elements of Marissa Meyer’s captivating story.


In this exercise, you’ll practice identifying literary devices used in a paragraph from Cress by Marissa Meyer. Read the paragraph carefully, and then try to spot the different literary devices present. After you’ve made your guesses, check the answers provided below.

Paragraph for Analysis:

“In the quiet of the desert, beneath a blanket of stars, Cress marveled at the world around her. The sand beneath her felt like a soft whisper against her skin, and the moon above seemed to smile down upon her, a silent guardian in the vast, lonely expanse. Every star twinkled like a promise of adventure, a testament to the endless possibilities that lay beyond the horizon. It was in this moment, with the cool night air caressing her face, that Cress felt a profound sense of freedom, as if she had just awakened from a long, confining dream.”

Identify the Literary Devices:

  1. Imagery – Description of the desert, stars, and moon.
  2. Simile – “The sand beneath her felt like a soft whisper against her skin.”
  3. Personification – “The moon above seemed to smile down upon her.”
  4. Metaphor – “Every star twinkled like a promise of adventure.”
  5. Symbolism – Stars represent possibilities and freedom.


  1. Imagery: This device is used to create vivid descriptions that appeal to the senses, making the scene come alive in the reader’s mind.
  2. Simile: Comparing the sand’s touch to a whisper highlights the gentle, soothing nature of the environment.
  3. Personification: Giving the moon human-like qualities enhances the magical, comforting atmosphere of the desert night.
  4. Metaphor: The stars are directly likened to promises of adventure, suggesting hope and future journeys.
  5. Symbolism: The stars symbolize not just the physical exploration but also Cress’s personal growth and the freedom she experiences.

This exercise demonstrates how literary devices enrich the text, adding depth and emotional resonance to the narrative. Identifying these elements can enhance your appreciation and understanding of the story.