Review | Winter by Marissa Meyer

Broken isn’t the same as unfixable.

Does that also apply to my heart now that this series is over?

winter-marissa-meyer1

Summary

Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn is known as the most beautiful young woman on Luna. Though no one would ever say it in front of her stepmother, Queen Levana, who forced her to scar her face when she was a child. Levana would rather that people know her for her insanity, a madness brought on by the princess’s refusal to use her Lunar gift. Despite this, she is loved by all, especially her childhood friend and guard, Jacin Clay.

But Levana has bigger problems than her stepdaughter. Her niece, the cyborg and rightful heir to the Lunar throne, Linh Cinder, has kidnapped her fiancé, Emperor Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth, preventing both a union between Earth and the Moon, and Levana’s reign over them all.

But Cinder, with the help of Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, and Iko plan to end Levana’s reign of terror. The crew of the Rampion will go to Luna and begin the greatest revolution on the coldest rock in the sky.

Review

This might be my favourite book of 2015.

Winter is what every finale to a series should be. Epic battles, romance, and the climax that fans of the series have been waiting for.

For one thing, this plot is brilliant. The crew’s plan falls apart almost immediately, and the whole book is their backup plans failing over and over and over again. It keeps you on the edge of your seat.

And that final fight? I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

As always, Meyer’s characters are her stars. Their interactions, their dialogue, their relationships are so well done, I simply read in awe. And yes, while the romantic relationships are spectacular, I have to focus on the friendships here. Iko and Cinder, Scarlet and Winter, Thorne and Kai, Jacin and Cress, Wolf and Cress—they are all bound to one another now. And I adore the way that they care for each other, support each other, and yet can poke fun at each other. Plus, everyone (even Kai) is badass in their own way. They’re like the Fellowship of the Ring.

Hm, the Fellowship of the Rampion?

We’ve got nine leads to juggle through so I won’t discuss all of them here. But I want to focus on three in particular: Winter, Jacin, and Iko. Winter’s voice and character is so well done. Meyer perfectly portrays a young woman who is clever, naive, and just plain insane. Jacin, on the other end of the spectrum, is a young man struggling to keep his emotions in check and his princess safe. He’s very serious and straightforward, and therefore he complements Winter well.

But Iko. Iko and her emotions and her loyalty and her way of blurring the line between human and machine really struck a chord with me. I really find it interesting, especially since it’s hard to say if sacrifice is a law of nature or of Asimov.

Meyer’s writing is much more graphic than it has been in previous novels, and that’s saying a lot considering the endings of Scarlet and Cress. Granted, we are in the middle of a war, but everything felt much more visceral in this book. And I like how sensory that is, it really impresses the brutality of Luna and of war.

Another great thing about Meyer’s writing in Winter is how well balanced the story is. She has to develop two brand new characters, while maintaining and developing previous characters and relationships, and cover a wedding, a coronation, and a revolution in the scope of 800 pages. And I have to say it’s done rather well, as people’s character come out through their actions and reactions.

If I had to nitpick though, I have three small issues with the book. One is that there are a few scenes I wish Meyer had either truncated or expanded. Rarely, a scene would feel like it was going on for too long, or a problem solved just a little too quickly. I forgive this because there are a lot of character point of views to choose from, and my critique stems from a simple desire to have scene from another person’s perspective.

My other critique is that there was (and don’t hurt me) a little too much kissing. And yes, there are four OTPs to get through and so there’s lots of romantic plot to go around. And for the most part, Meyer really balances the romance with the action. But sometimes it’s more awkward than sweet. I can’t really divulge what ticks me off about this without going into spoilerific territory, so I’m going to write an IMR and put the link here once I’ve written it.

Finally, there is the issue with the adaptation of Snow White, which was very good in the first half, too literal in the middle, and then good again in the end. Compared to Scarlet and Cress, the fairy tale adaptation was a little heavy handed.

But other than these three really nitpicky things, I adore this finale a lot. The ending was more than satisfying, and nearly everything on my list was addressed. Between great characters, a stellar plot, and balanced storytelling, I can’t help but love the final book of The Lunar Chronicles.

Recommendation for Winter: Bookmarked for Life. I cannot emphasize how much I loved this book. It’s hard to believe that this is the finale to a series that began with Cinder.

Recommendation for The Lunar Chronicles: Buy. Fans of fairy tale adaptations and sci fi should definitely try The Lunar Chronicles. Between cyborg Cinderella, a Big Bad Wolf/Man hybrid, Rapunzel locked away in a satellite, and a princess as beautiful as she is insane, beloved tales from childhood become an epic adventure.

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