Book Review: Winter

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4.75

Warning: This will have spoilers for all 5 Lunar Chronicles books. Read at your own risk.

Synopsis:

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?

Review:
When I rank this book against other series finales, it is about equal to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a little lower than Clockwork Princess, and a little higher than The Last Olympian. So basically, it was pretty great.

Pro 1: I love that Winter is a) crazy and b) dark skinned. It’s kind of fabulous. Expanding on her insanity, I think that Winter is a fantastically deep character. She reminds me of Luna Lovegood in that she is extremely intelligent and severely underestimated. I really liked learning about her Lunar sickness, and the ways it affected her. It is a great way to subtly show her strength and hatred of all that Levana stands for.

Pro 1.2: I also really love all the other characters, of course. They’re just so great.

Pro 2: The similarities to the original story were absolutely brilliant. The queen glamouring herself as a woman to give Winter her favorite candy (sour apples!!!) which gave her letumosis (deadly poison!!!) was the tie-in I liked best.

Pro 3: The length was great. Yes, it is a beast of a book, but I never felt like a single page was wasted. Every single word was needed to tell the story, and tell the story they did.

Pro 4: I cannot get over the plot. It reminded me a lot of Cassandra Clare’s novels, but only because of the completely unexpected twists and turns. There were several points during the story where I thought, ‘Well, everything is about to be resolved, what is she going to do with the rest of the book?’ (Un)Fortunately (for those of us hoping for a bunch of quiet romance scenes), each time she took the book in new unpredictable directions. Like the device that locks the Lunar gift, hidden in Iko’s personality chip!! Ingenious!!

Pro 5: The cover is gorgeous. I didn’t love it when it was first revealed, and in fact preferred a certain fan cover over it, but now I really really like this cover.

Con 1: I know that I will probably be in the minority here, and it pains me to say it, but I kind of wish that somebody important had died. And Levana doesn’t count. I love that Cinder gets stabbed, but honestly I wasn’t all that into her miraculous recovery. Same with Cress. I mean, yes, I am extremely attached to each and every character but it’s not even slightly realistic that they all survived. Of the characters I think the best candidates for a death are Thorne, Cinder, Cress, and Wolf. I think that at least one, but more likely two, of them should have sacrificed themselves for something or someone. I mean, wouldn’t it have been great if Thorne throws himself in front of Cress to stop an enemy from shooting her, and his dying words are that he loves her, and he hopes that he did enough to repent for his misdeeds? Or if Cinder died but became a martyr and inspired the people of Luna to elect Winter as their leader? I would’ve sobbed my heart out, and for authors that is usually a good thing.

Con 2: I love love stories as much as the next person, but it kind of irks me that they all have one perfect match. They all have practically seamless relationships with their beloved, and I just don’t think that that realistically portrays love! There should be lots of emotional turmoil, and while there was, it didn’t usually have anything to do with the love interest. Also, and this is just kind of a smallish thing, but why were they all straight/non-queer? Why couldn’t Winter be in love with her best friend since childhood, a super tough girl who is the queen’s only female guard? Or, plot twist, maybe Thorne is a transgender woman and has to tell Cress so she doesn’t have a heart attack when she discovers the truth during a heated moment. I don’t know why it bothers me, but it does.

Con 3: I wish the spine was more purple so that it continued with the theme of getting steadily purpler (that is now a word). Fairest is gray, Cinder is black, Scarlet is a super inky purple, Cress is a deep violet, so naturally, Winter should be a nice, royal purple color, right? Wrong. It’s almost black. Also, the sleeves of the jacket on the other 3 main books of the series are red, and on Winter they are black. Is that supposed to symbolize something, or did they forget??? You’ll never unsee this now, so I hope it doesn’t bother you (hehe).

Overall, I really, really, really enjoyed this book. I mean, I read over 800 pages is less than 36 hours. Yes, it wasn’t perfect, but it had far less flaws than The Blood of Olympus and all the other finales that came out last year (2014). My “cons” list is full of personal preferences and small little things that don’t really change my opinion of the book as a whole. This book was truly a stellar conclusion, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a bookworm, it’s that every series needs a great end.

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