by Marissa Meyer
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Format Read: Paperback
Published by Penguin Australia on November 12th 2015
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?
I’ve waited an unbelievably long time for the release of Winter, the final book in The Lunar Chronicles series, and having been in a tiny reading slump for the past few weeks, what a novel to lift me out of that slump! It felt so wonderful and bittersweet to step back into the world of The Lunar Chronicles, especially knowing that it was the last one. But it felt so good to be back with the characters.
At a whopping 800+ pages, Winter is the epic and fitting conclusion for one of the most unique and brilliantly written series I’ve read to date.
While all the characters introduced in the previous three novels were all reunited (at some point), this novel focused heavily on Winter, Queen Levana’s stepdaughter (Cinder’s cousin) and her relationship with her childhood best friend and royal guard, Jacin Clay, who we previously met in Scarlet. Winter is a complex and incredibly intriguing character, and my favourite out of all of them. Astoundingly beautiful despite her scars and beloved by the people of Lunar, she despises her step-mother for her cruelty and refuses to use her own powers to manipulate her people, to the detriment of her own sanity. Yet Winter is not as insane as everyone thinks, and when she is made aware of Cinder’s intentions to overthrow Queen Levana once and for all, Winter will stop at nothing to help them… even if it means putting herself in the firing line.
Like all the relationships within the series, Jacin and Winter’s was just as well-written. Dare I say it…these two were my favourite relationship overall! Although I still have a soft spot for Cinder and Kai, I’m such a sucker for relationships that form from friendship. (It’s my achilles heel!)
I did wonder as to how Meyer would successfully hold the story for 800ish pages when her other novels were considerably smaller, but as soon as you start reading it becomes clear. There are so many twists and turns, character plot lines intertwining and different point of views (because there are just so many characters!) that you can’t imagine how it could possibly be any smaller. In fact, after I was done, I wished it was longer so we could see more of the character’s lives. I don’t think I’ve accepted it’s over yet…let me live in my denial for a little bit longer.
Meyer certainly has a knack for keeping you on the edge of your seat. For the entire novel, I felt like I was on a constant cliffhanger, a feeling I hadn’t really felt since reading the last Harry Potter for the first time. Wonderful for a fast-paced and thrilling read…not so wonderful for my anxiety levels. Hats off to Meyer for successfully keeping me hooked the entire time.
I will say that as I was reading I felt very much overwhelmed by the story. I did think there were times where almost too much was going on and I did find myself missing the point of things, or missing a reference to something that had happened earlier in the book that I clearly had not paid attention to. Having now finished, I feel like I need to go back and re-read so as to soak in the bits that went over my head. Perhaps my own fault for devouring the novel so quickly and not taking my time!
I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t yet read it, but I can say I was definitely left satisfied! There were a few loose ends that perhaps could have been tied up better, but I feel like that’s just the inner child in me wanting to be shown a fairytale happy ending for everyone. Perhaps Meyer chose not to give the atypical fairytale ending to instead show that moving forward and moving on is a happy ending in itself (or maybe I’m just reading too much into it).
I feel sad seeing these characters go and never being a part of their world again, and I can’t imagine how Meyer feels saying goodbye to them, but I’m incredibly glad I was able to go along for the ride. Meyer has an innate way of storytelling and a gift for seamlessly interweaving multiple characters and points of view in a way that is is incredibly rare. I can’t wait to see what she brings us next!
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