Read a full summary of Cress by Marissa Meyer below. If you can’t remember what happened in Cress and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.
What happened in Cress?
- Cress (Crescent) has been living on a satellite for years, doing Queen Levana’s bidding as commanded to her by Levana’s head thaumaturge, Sybil Mira. Cress hacks into Earthen computer systems, hiding Lunar ships that go down to Earth. Now she feels she’s responsible for the thousands of people who died during the Lunar Operative attack at the end of Book 2. Cress is Lunar, but she’s a shell. She knows that Levana is planning on taking over the entire Earth once she is married to Kai. Sybil comes to visit Cress on the satellite and is mad that Cress hasn’t yet found Cinder. She takes a sample of Cress’s blood and leaves. Cress has been looking up info on Cinder, Kai, and Thorne, and she has a major crush on Thorne, who may not be as selfish as he appears. And Cress does know where Cinder is, but she’s not going to tell Sybil.
- Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne are aboard the Rampion (Thorne’s ship). Iko is plugged into the ship’s central operating system. Wolf is training Cinder to use her Lunar gift against him, in preparation for the day when she has to fight against Levana and all her Lunar guards, but it’s not going too well. They are all planning on crashing Levana’s wedding to Kai, which is in 2 weeks. Iko shares some news with them that some of the countries of Earth are arresting the Lunar Operatives who were involved in the attack. It turns out the Lunar Ops were given ID chips of dead Earthen people, and Cinder realizes why they tried to take Peony’s ID chip after she died in Book 1. That’s how they were able to disguise themselves on Earth.
- Cress is playing games on her satellite when she gets a comm from Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, and Thorne. Cinder wants Cress to send her evidence of Levana spying on Earthens. Cress agrees to send her the evidence, but implies that Sybil will find out and Cress will be killed. Cinder and the others decide to come and rescue Cress.
- Kai is planning his wedding to Levana, but luckily there’s a planner, Tashmi Priya, to organize and plan most of it. Kai is convinced that Levana will kill him once she becomes Empress. His head adviser, Torin, helps him focus on trying to thwart Levana, instead of just dwelling on the negative. Kai’s android Nainsi arrives and tells them the daily reports. Torin leaves and Nainsi tells Kai that she believes Cinder was in Rieux, France, to try to find Princess Selene.
- Dr. Erland is in Africa, waiting impatiently for Cinder. He is still conducting research, and a lot of the townspeople around him are Lunar. We find out (if we didn’t know before) that Erland was a head scientist on Luna and was the one who first put wolf DNA into some of the Lunar soldiers. He feels horrible for this, and also laments the murder of his “Crescent Moon.” A Lunar boy comes to Erland offering to be a part of his research because his brother is sick. His brother is also Lunar, but is a shell, and has Letumosis. Before now, Lunars were immune to Letumosis, and Erland thinks that perhaps the disease is mutating.
- Minutes before Cress is set to be rescued, Sybil shows up on the satellite again, commanding that Cress makes a new recording device for Kai’s office. A comm comes from the Rampion and Sybil realizes that Cress was trying to escape. Cress tries to get away by running to Sybil’s podship, where she runs into its pilot, Jacin. Sybil tells Jacin to fly the podship away from the satellite, while she and Cress wait for the Rampion to arrive. Thorne takes one of the Rampion’s podships and heads to the satellite. Sybil is there, disguised as Cress, and she and Jacin overpower Thorne and tie him up next to Cress. Sybil and Jacin board the Rampion’s podship and head back toward the Rampion, but not before they set the satellite to fall to Earth. Cinder, Scarlet, and Wolf, aboard the Rampion, saw Jacin’s podship dock at the satellite, and know that there might be some foul play at hand. But Cinder doesn’t want to leave without Thorne, so they allow the Rampion’s podship to come back aboard, and Cinder goes to meet it. She finds an injured Thorne who turns out to actually be Jacin, and then Sybil shows up. She threatens to kill Cinder right there, but Wolf runs in and attacks Sybil. Jacin shoots Wolf just as Cinder shoots Jacin. Sybil uses her mind control on Wolf, and Wolf tries to attack Cinder. Scarlet comes in and shoots at Sybil, but Wolf runs in the way of the bullet and gets hit. Jacin shoots Sybil and says that Cinder is controlling him, but she’s not. Sybil releases her hold of Wolf and moves away, with Jacin running after her. Cinder gets Wolf out of the loading dock. She goes back in and gets Scarlet out, and then tells Iko to seal the doors and open the hatch to space. Cinder realizes she didn’t grab Scarlet, but a disguised Jacin. Sybil grabs Scarlet and gets into a podship and flies off.
- Wolf is badly injured and Jacin tells Cinder that Thorne and Cress are dead or will be soon, once the satellite hits the Earth’s atmosphere. He suggests that they go somewhere to save Wolf, because Levana’s fleet will be chasing them soon. He says that he doesn’t serve the queen, “I serve my princess. No one else.” Cinder takes that to mean that he somehow knows she is Princess Selene, and that she can trust Jacin. Cinder decides they should take Wolf to Dr. Erland. They find him in Farafrah, a town somewhere in Africa, and Erland agrees to heal Wolf.
- Thorne and Cress get out of their binds on the satellite and Cress hacks into the system to make sure the parachute will work so that they don’t just crash land on Earth. Thorne gets knocked unconscious but Cress is awake for the entire descent to Earth. Thorne wakes up with a bump on his head and is blind. They’re tangled up in Cress’s hair so Thorne cuts it with his knife. They’ve landed in a desert, and nothing works on the satellite so they decide to leave it and try to find civilization. Cress goes into shock when they get outside, and Thorne snaps her out of it, saying that he needs her, since he can’t see. Cress sees some mountains and they head in that direction. As they trek across the desert, Cress tells Thorne about how Sybil was doing experiments on shells on Luna, and she was one of them. She got really good at hacking into computer systems and Sybil wanted to use those skills. Cress said that there was a lot she could do closer to Earth, and Sybil built the satellite for her.
- Kai is having a conference with the other Earthen leaders and they have found out that there are tons of Lunar ships hovering just out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Some of the leaders want to attack the ships, but Kai says that he’ll talk to Aimery Park, Levana’s thaumaturge who is now at Kai’s palace. Kai then goes to a meeting with Priya, the wedding planner, who suggests that they hire a mix of humans and escort-droids (who look like humans) for the wedding staff, that way they can be alerted if the Lunars try anything, because the escort-droids can see through the Lunar glamour and can’t be brainwashed. She also suggests that the droids record everything.
- Erland performs some kind of surgery on Wolf. He chastises Cinder for not coming to meet him right away, and Cinder says that she had to do some searching before she could just accept the fact that she was Princess Selene. Cinder tells Erland about their plan to crash the wedding, and he thinks it’s a bad plan and that she needs to go to Luna first, and convince the Lunars that she is Selene. Erland tells Cinder his fears that Letumosis is evolving and that Lunars may no longer be immune. He tells her about all the Lunars in Farafrah, and how the Earthens of the town have grown to accept them. He has also told the people of Farafrah that Cinder plans on killing Levana, so now they all love Cinder.
- Thaumaturge Park and Kai finally have a meeting. We find out that when Kai and Levana marry, Levana will be Empress of the Eastern Commonwealth and will hold all the power of that title, while Kai will only be King Consort of Luna, which is a title with little to no power. Kai confronts Park about the Lunar ships surrounding Earth, and Park makes some kind of excuse about them being Lunars on vacation. Kai doesn’t buy it, and tells Park that the ships need to go back to Luna within 24 hours or he can’t guarantee what the other Earthen leaders will do. Park says that the ships technically aren’t in the Earth’s atmosphere so they’re not breaking any laws. Park leaves and Kai tells Torin about the theory that Princess Selene might still be alive and Cinder might have found her. Torin tries to convince Kai that there are more important things to worry about, but gives up once he understands that Kai is not going to stop trying to find Selene. Nainsi tells them that she thinks Scarlet got onto the Rampion before it disappeared, and Kai thinks Scarlet must be Selene. Torin still thinks Cinder is dangerous so he’s not keen on the idea that she might have Selene with her, and he reminds Kai that he really knows nothing about Cinder. Kai decides he’s going to find out all he can about Cinder.
- Cress and Thorne have spent days trekking the desert, and Cress now has a fever. In her dizzy and sick state, she tells Thorne that she’s in love with him, but he just shrugs it off. She thinks she’s dying and is sad that she’ll die without ever being kissed. Thorne promises her that he’ll kiss her when she’s about to die. Cress sees that the dunes are getting smaller and she sees a gazelle-like animal, which is then shot. A man appears, and Thorne makes up a story about them being newlyweds who were on their honeymoon and were robbed. The man leads them to an oasis where a group of traders is camped. The traders give them food and water, and Cress passes out.
- Cinder and Jacin visit a pharmacy in Farafrah, looking for supplies for Erland. We learn more about Jacin, like how he has loved ones on Luna who will probably die since he is now on Cinder’s side. Jacin was actually at the ball in Book 1 and he asks Cinder how she at first seemed completely human and then all of a sudden she had tons of Lunar powers. She tells him about the device that her adoptive father (Linh Garan) created that kept her from using her Lunar gift. It also kept her from going crazy, like most Lunars do when they don’t use their gift for a long time.
- Scarlet is being controlled by Sybil, and is piloting the podship back to Luna. Once they dock on Luna, Scarlet kind of comes out of the trance and remembers the fight that happened back on the Rampion. While Sybil is being treated for her wound, Scarlet tries to escape but fails. Sybil says that Levana will eventually want to question Scarlet, but that in the meantime, Scarlet can be give to a Lunar family.
- Cress wakes up after being unconscious for 2 days. Her feet were infected and that was how she became sick. Thorne, who is now wearing a bandanna over his eyes, tells Cress that he doesn’t want to hurt her, that he’s not the right guy for her, that he’s not the hero she believes him to be. Cress, Thorne, and the traders pack up camp and head for Kufra, a town not too far away. Jina, a woman from the trader group, helps them get a hotel room. Cress takes a bath and Thorne comes in, enticed by her singing. He can’t see her but she’s still freaked out. Thorne tells her he wants to go into town by himself to try to find out more info. Cress tries to go with him, but he leaves without her.
- Cinder and Jacin are painting part of the Rampion, trying to disguise it. Wolf wakes up and Erland thinks he’ll fully recover. Wolf wants to know where Scarlet is, and Cinder expects him to explode when she tells him, but he crumples instead. Then she says that they’ll rescue her and then Wolf explodes. Erland knocks him out with something in a syringe before he can hurt anyone.
- Cress finishes her bath and starts looking for info on where the Rampion might be. She sees on the news that no one knows where Cinder is, but she also sees that people are reporting on her satellite’s crash. She worries that the traders that helped them will see the news and realize that she and Thorne were from the crash. But she’s also hopeful that Cinder will see the news and come find them. Cress goes to find Thorne to tell him and she finds him playing cards in the hotel lobby, and there’s a woman in his lap. She runs back to her room, upset, but is locked out. Jina finds her, comforts her, gives her some new shoes, and invites her to dinner. Cress doesn’t want to be outside her room when Thorne comes back, and she also doesn’t want to cause a scene asking for a new key from the front desk, so she agrees to go with Jina. Jina knows Cress and Thorne aren’t married, and she also knows that Cress is Lunar and that she was on the satellite that crashed. Jina tells Cress that there are Lunars living around Kufra, and she guesses that Cress is a shell. They meet up with a couple of the other traders who are loading up a vehicle to go to Farafrah. Someone grabs Cress and throws her in the back of the vehicle.
- Thorne is still playing cards and losing every hand. The woman who has been sitting in his lap, “helping” him play has actually been working for one of the other men playing cards. She has been telling him he has no hand when he actually does. But Thorne knows what she’s doing and goes all in when she tells him he has no hand, and he ends up winning. The woman who was “helping” him is actually an escort-droid, and Thorne figured that out as well. The man who owns the escort-droid is furious that Thorne won, even though that man was the one who was cheating. Thorne offers to buy the escort-droid off the man and call it even, but the man punches Thorne instead. Jamal, one of the traders who helped Cress and Thorne, helps Thorne escape the fight, and takes him to his hotel room. Thorne confesses that he was buying the escort-droid for Iko (he IS a softie!). Jamal knows that Cress and Thorne came from the crashed satellite. Jamal tries to buy Cress from Thorne, saying she’ll fetch a nice price with some scientist in Farafrah. Thorne realizes that Jamal isn’t really offering to buy Cress, but that he’s just distracting Thorne instead while the other traders have taken Cress to Farafrah. The escort-droid now belongs to Thorne, and he tells her to find them a quick way to get to Farafrah.
- Kai goes to the medical labs in the palace and tells Fateen (the girl who worked with Erland in Book 1) that he needs access to Cinder’s records. Kai and Torin see the records, find out that Cinder is immune to Letumosis, and find out the theory that Lunars were the original carriers of Letumosis and that they brought it to Earth. They also see a note from Erland in Cinder’s file that says “Finally. I’ve found her.” Kai is surprised that the cyborg draft is still going on, and he tells Fateen that Levana has a Letumosis antidote. Torin says that info should remain confidential for now and gets angry at Kai for telling her. Fateen leaves. Kai realizes that Cinder must have taken the antidote (that Levana had given to him and that Kai had given to Erland) to the quarantines (Book 1) to try to save Peony, but that it was too late for her and so Cinder gave it to that other boy instead. Kai wonders why cyborgs are the only ones who are drafted for the Letumosis research, and we learn that ever since there were cyborgs, people were prejudiced against them, and wanted them to be controlled. Kai realizes that this all might be wrong, that it’s wrong to only use cyborgs for the draft. He decides that they have a right to say no, and he decides that the is going to end the draft.
- Cinder visits the Rampion in Farafrah. She still wants to stop the wedding before going to Luna. Iko shows her how Kai has ended the cyborg draft, and also shows her a confidential order form showing that the palace has ordered 60 escort-droids for the wedding day. Cinder starts to concoct a new plan, where Levana will somehow be convinced they should have the wedding on Luna instead of at Kai’s palace. They see that Adri and Pearl have been invited to the wedding. Jacin comes in and he and Cinder get into an argument, and Cinder punches him after he insults her relationship with Kai. Then it all comes out that Jacin’s “princess” is Winter, Levana’s stepdaughter, and he doesn’t know that Cinder is really Princess Selene. Jacin is sworn to protect Winter. Cinder still asks Jacin to help her and she promises she’ll get him back to Luna, but she decides to keep her true identity from him.
- Cress and her captors get to Farafrah and Cress sees the Rampion but because they have painted it, she doesn’t think it’s Thorne’s ship. Jina and Niels (another trader) take Cress to Erland, and Cress feels like she’s seen him before. Jina and Erland haggle for a price and settle on 27,000 univs. Erland takes a blood sample from Cress and Cress can see that he feels conflicted about hurting her. Erland pays Jina and she and Niels leave. Cress doesn’t trust Erland when he tries to explain that he won’t hurt her, and she knocks him out and runs. She hides in a closet down the hall from Erland’s hotel room and waits for him to wake up and go after her. Erland wakes up and we find out his name on Luna was Dr. Sage Darnel, and that he and his wife had a baby who was a shell, and that they were forced to give the baby to Sybil, and Erland believes that baby was killed, that all shells were killed. We also find out that Queen Channary (Levana’s sister and Cinder’s mother) was the one who first ordered the wolf hybrids to be made. Once again we see that Erland’s daughter’s name was Crescent Moon, and we learn that Erland was trying to duplicate the antidote that Levana had given Kai, and he knew that shells’ DNA would help him make that antidote. Erland does a test on Cress’s blood and finds out that she is his daughter. Cress finally gives up on waiting for Erland to leave and she sneaks down the hall to find a netscreen. She finds one in a room and goes in and then realizes that there is a man in the bed, asleep. She turns the netscreen on anyway and sends a comm to the hotel in Kufra to try to contact Thorne, but he’s no longer there. She sees some news about Erland and realizes that the man who just bought her from Jina was also the man who helped Cinder escape prison. The man in the bed (Wolf) wakes up and is still disoriented. He thinks Cress is going to do experiments on him, and that she has something to do with him becoming a wolf hybrid. Jacin comes into the room then, and he recognizes Cress. Wolf holds Cress as a hostage, and Erland comes in and tries to convince Wolf that he, Jacin, and Cress are not Wolf’s enemies. Then Thorne comes down the hotel hall (yay!), yelling for Cress. He finds the room she’s in and pulls out a gun but Wolf recognizes him. Cress realizes she’s safe with these people and that Thorne came to rescue her.
- Cinder is trying to formulate her plan of getting into the palace when Iko sees a newsfeed about how Thorne has been spotted nearby. Cinder goes to find Jacin and Wolf and runs into Darla, Thorne’s escort-droid. Cinder goes up to Wolf’s room and finds all of them there. She tells them they need to leave, and Wolf asks her about Scarlet, thinking that he was dreaming when she told him before. Wolf reacts almost as badly as before, and then runs off. Cinder goes after him and tells the others to load up the ship. Jacin, Cress, Thorne, and Erland head out of the hotel but when they get outside they’re surrounded by members of the Eastern Commonwealth military. They are told to get on the ground and they do so, and then the military officer tells Cinder to come out with her hands up. Cinder uses her Lunar power to control Wolf because he isn’t cooperating, and they go outside. She takes control of one of the soldiers and Erland controls 6 others. Cinder tells the soldiers to let them pass, and then the townspeople show up and use their Lunar gifts to control the rest of the soldiers. The lady from the pharmacy explains to the officer that she and her fellow Lunars came there to escape from being controlled like that, and that if Levana has her way, everyone on Earth would be controlled, and that they should trust that Cinder will try to defeat Levana. The officer is angry but then lets Cinder and the others leave.
- On Luna, Scarlet has been placed with a Lunar family and has become the “pet” of the child of the family, who abuses her by practicing his Lunar powers on her while she is chained to the floor from a collar around her neck. Then she is taken to be questioned by Levana. They want to know where Cinder might be and think Scarlet knows. Scarlet doesn’t know, but she tells everyone there (which includes Levana, Sybil, other thaumaturges, Lunar guards, and other Lunars) who she is and who her grandmother was. She comes just short of saying that Cinder is Princess Selene before Levana silences her with her powers, but it seems like the rest of the people there understood what she was trying to say. They keep questioning Scarlet and use their powers to torture her by making her cut off her own pinkie. A girl sitting next to Levana asks if she can have Scarlet as her pet, and Levana says she can have her after they’re done with her.
- On the Rampion, Erland examines Thorne’s eyes and determines that they can be fixed, but that he needs a proper lab to do so. Cinder switches out Iko and Darla’s personality chips, so now Iko has her very own escort-droid body. Cinder calls everyone together and tells them that she plans on kidnapping Kai. Cress turns out to be crucial to their plan-making, since she knows things like Kai’s tracking number and that there are escape tunnels in the palace. Thorne suggests that he starts a distraction in the medical labs and that Erland can fix his eyes while they’re there. Jacin points out that if their plan succeeds, the cease-fire between the Earthens and the Lunars will be over. Cinder admits that they’ll be starting a war.