I deprived myself of this book for far too long because I didn’t want to read any Rapunzel retellings while I was working on the second draft of my own. But this one was worth the wait. I loved Cress as a character, her social awkwardness and naivete juxtaposed with her coding and technical genius, as well as her deep knowledge of the other characters and obscure minutiae gleaned during lonely years scanning her net screens. Meyer managed to make her a “strong” character without falling into the “strong = feisty” trap, and she is well realized, complex, and fully developed. Getting to know her and following her story was my favorite part of this installment, making me somewhat impatient with the Cinder and especially the Scarlet chapters.
I also really liked Meyer’s “take” on the Rapunzel story, which paid homage to the original in several subtle and overt ways while not being constrained by it. (view spoiler)
The development of Cinder’s story is well done, as well as the mounting tension as Kai prepares to marry Levana and wrestles with his lingering confusion about/attraction toward Cinder. (view spoiler)
Scarlet’s story took the series into particularly dark terrain, darker than we have seen up until this point, which was a little disconcerting to me — this is my “light” reading, Marissa Meyer! Although Scarlet’s story interested me least of all the threads, I did like the glimpses it gave us of what may be to come in Winter, which I will hopefully be reviewing soon!