In Marissa Meyer’s Cress, sixteen-year-old Crescent Moon is a computer genius trapped in a satellite orbiting Earth. Her only companion is a computer program modeled on herself at ten years old. Her only visitor is the witch who imprisoned her seven years ago, and even the witch only stops by to deliver food and water and the latest computer hacking assignment from the Lunar Queen.
Cress’s life basically sucks, and things are especially bleak for her, fashion-wise. She owns two dresses, and her favorite is three years old. It has holes in it. She doesn’t have any shoes at all, so when she escapes her heavenly prison she has to make them herself–out of towels and her own braided hair.
I know. Gross. So, so gross. BUT. Cress’s satellite lands in Africa, and she gets to see camels and desert and mountains and trees, and a million other things that she had no access to in her tiny spaceship. More importantly, she has a crush on the super-sexy American outlaw, Thorne. Unfortunately, Thorne is older and more experienced, and he has no interest in Cress and her towel-covered feet.
I’m a stylist, and I used to work as a costume designer, so I thought I’d help our girl out by showing her how she could easily jazz up that truly terrible outfit, using things she might have access to around the Sahara.
Let’s assume she’s stuck with her too-small dress and disgusting hair shoes. Just to give us a base to build on. So the first thing she should do is borrow that cowboy’s bandana. She hasn’t washed her hair in days, and that shit ain’t cute. If she wraps it around and ties it at the top of her forehead, she can at least conceal her disgusting oily roots. I do this all the time with both bandanas and silk scarves.
Next she needs a bag to hold her portscreen in so she doesn’t have to carry it in her hand. I like this vintage tooled leather thing, and it’s technically from Morocco, so let’s say she has could buy it at the market. Ditto this necklace made of vintage African beads. She should buy a bunch of those and layer them. And since she loves animals and everything Earth-related, she absolutely must have a bangle with cute little camels on it.
Et voilà: My crude rendering of what our Cress might look like in her snazzy new duds.
This series gets better and better with each book released. Cress’s story (although our time is split pretty evenly between Cress and Cinder here, with a bit of Scarlet thrown in for good measure) is by far my favorite for the three so far. The romantic stuff, in particular, is very, very strong–between Cress and Thorne, but also with Cinder and Kai and Scarlet and Wolf (holy shit you guys, Wolf is amazing in this one. I love him. I love him really a lot.).
One of my favorite things about the series, though, is its handling of people with disabilities. Cinder is a Cyborg, Wolf is…something weird, and Thorne is View Spoiler » blind « Hide Spoiler, and all three of the characters handle their deficiencies and otherness with such grace and self-respect, and they work hard to function normally in spite of the difficulty. It’s so refreshing to see characters who are just incidentally disabled. I also love that Meyer has yet to do the super upsetting thing where the disability is magically cured at the end. View Spoiler » I don’t count Thorne’s cure because they knew his blindness was temporary from the beginning. « Hide Spoiler
Cress is sweet, loyal, and kind, and she makes an excellent companion for fiery Scarlet and tom boy-ish Cinder. There is a softness about Cress that sets her apart from everyone else within the series, and my heart ached for her whenever things didn’t go her way. She also has some pretty freaking amazing computer skills, and her bond with Thorne made me squee.
And now, just for fun, let’s help Cress out with a sweater for those cold desert nights (I realized she’d need a jacket after it was too late–I’d already painted the clothes onto the above drawing. It’s really a bummer, because sleeves would totally hide the fact that I can’t draw hands. Or armpits.). She has access to blankets, from both her satellite and the lovely villagers she encounters, so I’m giving her two options here: One in a boring ship blanket color, and the other in fun tribal designs.
So here’s the neutral:
And the fun:
Because of my background, descriptions of clothes are among the first things I notice when I pick up a new book. They tell me so much about the characters, and how they interact and are perceived within their worlds. I also love reading reactions other people have to characters’ wardrobes (like this post from Jenny Trout’s 50 Shades of Grey re-cap series–although I disagree with her assertion that Americans don’t wear heels with jeans. Some of us do so frequently.).
Do you find yourself distracted by how particular characters dress? Do you wear heels with jeans? Can you teach me how to draw a hand? Let us know in the comments!
Cress, the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, will be released on February 4, 2014. An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.