Dishing on CRESS with Marissa Meyer's Beta Readers!

Welcome to A Week of Rapunzel in celebration of our favorite long-haired heroine...
not to mention the launch of Marissa Meyer's CRESS!
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It's always so much fun to go behind-the-scenes and see what makes things tick, don't you think?

Last year, one of Marissa Meyer's SCARLET beta readers, Tamara Felsinger, stopped by to dish on her early reactions to the story, and also about Wolf and Thorne!

The comments got lovely when a second beta reader stepped into the fray, so this year, I invited three of Marissa's beta readers to chat about their experience with CRESS! Listening to their back-and-forth is so much fun, and really shows how CRESS has evolved (sans spoilers)!


Tamara, Jennifer, and Meghan are all beta readers for Marissa Meyer. They are the lucky few able to see early drafts of Marissa's work and suggest changes before the final book is in the hands of readers around the world!

Meghan is also a book blogger at Coffee & Wizards and Tamara runs a writing blog entitled Uncharted Pages.

Dishing on CRESS

Tamara: So I always knew CRESS was going to be my favourite book, even in the preproduction stages. In terms of quartet structures, the third book is usually the most fun. And then finding out Cress was going to be a daydreamer... well. How can you lose? 

Jennifer: I actually went out of my way to not form an opinion about Cress before I read her book. Anyone that has spent any amount of time talking to me about the series KNOWS that Thorne is my favorite character of the series. I fell in love with him from the very start. Most people don't know but Marissa actually submitted about 50 pages of a rough draft of SCARLET to go along with CINDER when her book was being shopped around. I was able to read that and even in those early stages I knew he would steal my heart. 

Knowing that I loved him so much I had high expectations for Cress as a character. I did try my best though to not think very hard about what I wanted for him and just trusted Marissa that she would give him a nice strong female lead that would keep him on his toes and let me just tell you... I read the first couple of chapters of CRESS and I'm pretty sure I just stopped everything and wrote Marissa to tell her how perfect Cress was and how much I adored her. Seriously, she is just so fantastic. 

Meghan: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cress. My expectations were very high after reading SCARLET, and Marissa met all of them. It was very easy for me to relate to Cress right off the bat because I think we’re all a little like Cress at some point in our lives. Cress’s growth as a character, like all of Marissa’s heroines, is fantastic to watch. She’s definitely someone to root for. 

Tamara: I adored Thorne on that initial read too, but I wasn't overly concerned about Cress in terms of being the love interest. I trusted Marissa to deliver a great character, and also to give us believable romantic development. That being said, I was rather harsh on the first round draft! I knew this book had to meet the high expectations of fans for both the series and Thorne, so dang, I made her work for it! I just checked my notes, and I had 154 comments on that draft. Yikes. But oh, when she came back with the next round, she NAILED IT. She took all my suggestions and made everything a million times better than I could ever imagine. Gotta hand it to her, that girl knows how to revise. 

Meghan: By the time we got to the draft, Marissa had worked so hard on everything that the story was already amazing. Some of the early drafts of her work I've read have been better than some published books I've read. Reading the CRESS draft I was blown away yet again. Thorne stole the show for me in SCARLET, so him being the male lead in CRESS was really great. I loved that we get a bigger picture of his character as he goes from secondary to primary character. Still, Marissa manages to balance the cast yet again, and fans of the other characters, like a certain Prince Charming, won't be disappointed either. 

Jennifer: The female leads also continue to be fantastic. As much as I love Thorne I found that Cinder once again took the prize as my favorite character in this book. The fact that she is still such a strong vibrant character after three books is amazing. There are so many different storylines but Marissa does a great job of keeping you interested in all of them. I can honestly say there isn’t a character she leaves behind and I know a lot of people are going to be happy to see certain plotlines get fleshed out more and some resolution start to happen. 

Tamara: Something I really love in the series as a whole is the fact we get to see all these different countries. As someone who’s not from the US, it’s refreshing to see somewhere other than America as the setting. And I’m definitely looking forward to where WINTER is set (no spoilers, but for those of you who don’t know… think big). 

Meghan: I agree, the settings are vibrant. One of the great things about CRESS is we get to explore several settings: some familiar and some not. Marissa does a nice job on building on old things but always bringing something new, which you can also see in the way she reimagines these fairy tales. The way the classic story of Rapunzel is woven into CRESS is fun to see, especially some of the more gory details those who are only familiar with the Disney version may be surprised to discover. 

Jennifer: I like that we were asked to talk about CRESS but this has really just been us talking about how amazing Marissa is as a writer (and may I say as a person as well.) We really do all adore her and it’s been a lot of fun to make silly remarks to her in the drafts to make her laugh. 

Tamara: She’s superb, both as a writer and a friend. And she puts maximum effort into everything she does. You just have to go through all her old LiveJournal blog posts to appreciate how much work she puts into The Lunar Chronicles. Readers are in safe hands. 

Meghan: Marissa is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. Her commitment to the writing craft is a personal inspiration. I can’t wait for everyone to read CRESS so that they can be as blown away as I was!

Thanks so much for stopping by to dish, ladies!
Marissa puts so much heart into writing, and it's great to see that she has such a supportive team behind the scenes helping her make this saga even better!!!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: CRESS
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.


  1. Enjoyed reading it! Cress comes out tomorrow! TOMORROW!!! :D

  2. This was so fun to read! I can't wait to get my hands on Cress!

  3. This has made me more excited for this series, and for Cress especially! I need to read them ASAP!

  4. I saved this post to read after Cress. I loved every part of the book. The only part I was disappointed in was there wasn't enough Scarlet. I felt like she kind of got left out of the book. Otherwise I was in love with Cress as a character and Thorne. Their romance was spectacular also.


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