Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
Ever since I first read Cinder, almost three years ago, I knew that this series would likely be one of my all-time favorites. Now here we are. The end of the road. And I was not wrong.
At a whopping 824 pages, your first thought upon opening Winter may rightfully be, “Holy crap this book is massive.” That size is daunting to most readers – especially to me. But it’s a testament to Meyer’s skill as a writer that the story never truly drags and no moment ever feels unnecessary. Every book introduces two additional main characters – so by Winter, with Winter and Jacin added to the mix, we’re up to a whopping 8! Obviously they’re not going to be together all the time, each character and romance needs its own development, and there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. But believe me when I say that Meyer manages all that and more.
What really impressed me is that even though Winter and Jacin enter the story so late in the game, their storyline is no less important. In fact, by the end of the book, they rose to number 2 on my ship list because of the heartfelt emotions, the lovely banter, and the genuine bond between the two. I loved finding out about their history and their unique dynamic – and that’s saying a lot, because getting to know all that did mean that the story wasn’t always moving forward to its long-awaited climax. But they were lovely complex characters, and Winter’s voice was just DELIGHTFUL, while Jacin’s dry wit made me giggle for hours.
Fine, fine, I started talking about ships, so I might as well continue on with that train of thought, right? Cress and Throne still dominate my heart. Honestly. There was some drama there but still – their relationship is so real and genuine… I loved that Thorne was now the one whose emotions were more apparent – and when he got all flustered, I got all flustered. And a certain scene in a certain place during a certain revolution ABSOLUTELY SLAYED ME. They are so perf, I can’t even. Cinder and Kai are third on the list – they fit really well together and compliment each other, but I don’t have the intense butterflies that I do with the others. And Scarlet and Wolf come in at a respectable fourth place – because even though I would rank them last, believe me when I tell you that I genuinely like ALL of these ships. And that usually never happens.
I will admit that the pacing is a tiny bit jolted at times because Cinder’s plans seem straight forward but constantly run into roadblocks – so while you think the climax is gonna happen any second, it takes a while to get there. But Meyer uses all that time to work on developing the world, the politics, the characters, and their relationships. Above all, her writing style is so fluid that it’s not hard at all to just get engrossed in the story and lose all track of time. 800 pages have never been digested quite so easily or quickly.
Do you want action? Winter‘s got action. This book is all about finally taking the rebellion to the queen. And with the added world building to show the horrible class divide and abhorrent living conditions for most of the Lunar population, this rebellion feels so much like the absolute best dystopias. The stakes are high as well, and like in Scarlet, there is quite a gore factor. In fact, with the even more suped-up wolfish soldiers, the gore is about ten times worse. But this time I didn’t mind it as much. It all just reinforced the high stakes and made the climax an absolutely heart-stopping read.
But possibly what I love most about Winter is that even though it’s based upon multiple fairy tales, it does not deliver the cookie cutter happy ending. That’s not to say that you should fear SINISTER THINGS, but I just really really love where the story left off. It definitely retained a sense of originality. I would also never say no to more. Because seriously. I love this world and these characters more than you can possibly imagine.