Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 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?
This book, you guys… I don’t even know where to begin! There were parts that were beyond epic and there were parts that were meh. It pains me to say that, but sadly, it’s true. The characters were mostly their usual epic selves and Marissa Meyer is forever the most beautiful story-teller I have ever encountered. She pulls you into the story to such a degree, you almost forget you’re reading a fictional book. However, on the flip side, the pacing was off in a major way and it severely impacted my feels.
I still love Cinder. She’s still my favorite of the four heroines. She’s come such a long way since Cinder. She’s grown, matured and embraced her destiny – which she did in Cress, but really did in Winter. She’s fierce, brave, loyal and overall awesome. Sadly, though, my Cinder/Kai Ship crashed and sank. Hard. No, this isn’t a spoiler because I’m not telling you whether or not they ended up together. This is my personal opinion on their relationship. After everything that went down between them, and though I still like Kai as a character, I just don’t ship them anymore.
Scarlet was still my least favorite character, though she definitely grew on me. She played a bigger role in Winter and I liked seeing her separate from Wolf a little bit. I’m still also not completely a Wolf fan, either.
Cress and Thorne were, by far, my favorite couple in this book and this series. I’d even go as far as to say they’re my Lunar Chronicles OTP. Cress was my second favorite of the four heroines and Thorne was my favorite of the guys, way above and beyond the others. I loved their stories, the progression of their relationship and their chemistry. Cress might not be able to hold her own in a fight the way the others can (though she certainly got better with this in Winter), but she’s able to contribute in so many other ways. And I love the way Thorne is her complete opposite. They just work so well together! I’d LOVE a spin-off with Thorne and Cress aboard the Rampion, with all their adventures and traveling.
I was really looking forward to meeting Princess Winter. Though I loved many things about her, I think my expectations were a bit high, so I was a little let down once we met her. But I still completely adored her and she’s my third favorite of the four heroines. Her mind is so warped and she views things so differently. Everyone tries to write her off for being “crazy,” but I think she thinks more clearly than any of the others at times. Aside from Cinder, Winter had the most to lose if they didn’t defeat Levana. Winter was brave and fierce in her ability to stand up to Levana, despite knowing what was at stake should they fail. I also loved Jacin. I had a lot of trouble trusting him, trying to determine who’s side he was actually on (especially after this one thing he did that made me rage… a lot…). But I never doubted his feelings for and loyalty towards Winter. I also loved the weird, crazy friendship that developed between Scarlet and Winter (probably the only times I actually liked Scarlet, period).
I completely and 100% ship Iko and Kinney. That is all. No, but really.. We saw a lot more of Iko in this book than we have in previous books and I just completely adore her. She’s an epic character and I’d so petition for a spin-off with her and Kinney. Or just her in general. I’m not picky!
The scary thing with Levana is, she actually thinks she’s being a kind, fair ruler, loved by her people. Her mind is so twisted, her sense of right and wrong so warped, she doesn’t even realize she’s doing bad things. And that makes her even more insane and dangerous. It also makes her an epic villain – my favorite kind of villain, honestly. I still wanted to smack her a LOT for how evil and twisted she was. But I also kind of felt bad for her. It was a REALLY strange juxtaposition of feelings.
My biggest issue with this book was how long it was. And I’m probably in the minority with this opinion. But.. Man, this book did NOT need to be 800+ pages. So many scenes were unnecessary. So many scenes were dragged out beyond necessity. So many scenes became repetitive. I just ended up getting really bored. I think, if Meyer REALLY felt she needed 827 pages to finish the story, then it should have been divided into two books. That, or they should have found a way to shave at least 300 pages off. Because they could have and the book would have been even better! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind long books – when it’s needed. But with Winter, I just don’t think it was needed. But again, most people LOVED the length and don’t agree with my above opinion, which is okay! I totally understand and respect that. But for me.. It just didn’t work.
I will say, though, the last 200-ish pages REALLY picked up! And once things picked up, they never slowed down! Well.. Not until the last chapter or so. Because at that point, the ending (like, the VERY ending) felt a bit anticlimactic and sort of.. Unfulfilling. Which, guys.. It hurts my heart to say this! I’ve LOVED this series. But… Sigh.
Overall – length, pacing and anti-climatic ending aside – this was still an epic read. I still love these characters. Worry and fear for them kept me on the edge of my seat. Meyer is still a gorgeous story-teller, as well. I was so pulled into this world, sometimes it felt weird when I put the book down and had to adjust back to “real life.” I wish it had been a bit shorter and more streamlined. And I wish the ending had felt more fulfilling. But I’m happy to have gone on this journey with these characters. I’m mostly satisfied with how their stories ended, though I’m eager for Stars Above and hoping it gives us a little bit more closure.
If you loved the first three books in the series, you’re almost guaranteed to love Winter. If you haven’t read Cinder, Scarlet or Cress yet, I highly suggest you do! (Also, WTH are you doing reading this spoilery-ish review?!?!?!)!!! And if you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings, then I, again, definitely recommend this series and this book!