Thursday, 19 May 2016

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter – Marissa Meyer

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin books
First published: 2015
Cover: Paperback
Pages: 823
Blurb:    Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She’s said to be even more breath taking tan her stepmother, Queen Levana.
When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin.
But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter claim their happily-ever-afters by defeating Levana once and for all?

History of my copy: After seeing The Lunar Chronicles all over Bookstagram, I knew I needed to try the series. I don’t regret it at all and as I made my way through each book, I’ve desperately gone out and bought the next.

Sometimes I go into the final book of a series worried that, whilst good, it doesn’t bring the satisfying ending I craved. Winter was no exception here, and I couldn’t help but be kept at the edge of my seat, terrified that one of the main eight (Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Winter and Jacin) wouldn’t get their happy ending. However, my fears were unwarranted as this book was a fantastically amazing end to the series. In fact, it’s one of my favourite books of all time and the series has managed to join others such as Harry Potter by Rowling and The Infernal Devices by Clare as one of my all-time favourite series! Honestly, why did no-one make me read these books before?!

Plot: Winter, the fourth and final instalment in The Lunar Chronicles, follows the gang as they infiltrate Luna with 3 goals in mind: to rescue Scarlet, to stop Levana’s marriage to Kai and to start a revolution, thus placing Cinder aka long-lost Princess Selene rightfully on the throne. As with the three previous novels, Winter is a loose retelling of a fairy-tale, this time Snow White. Whilst we get the main events from the traditional story (beautiful step-daughter, faked murder and being poisoned by an apple), once again the story takes on a whole mind of its own in the epic climax of the series.
         At first, I thought that there would be too many main characters to handle but, as the plot develops, each earns their individual place in the group and helps bring down Levana’s regime both from the inside and out.
         I’m going to keep quiet about the tiny details of the plot, leaving you to discover the story yourself, but I am going to mention possibly my favourite romance scene of all time. THAT MOMENT BETWEEN CRESS AND THORNE WAS SO GODDAMN BEAUTIFUL I WAS LEFT BREATHLESS.
         I need to know what happens after Winter though. I want a catch-up on all the characters (hopefully Stars Above will help with that). And I need to know what happened to Luna after Cinder abdicated and what happened once she became Empress of the Eastern Commonwealth. Ahh I need to know every single thing that happened in each of their lives.

Setting: For the first time in the series, the book takes place on Luna. I actually really love the concept of Luna and how Meyer has created this wonderful world on the moon. One thing I would love is both a map of the sectors on Luna and perhaps a history of its relationship with Earth. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into the designing of Luna from the transport systems through to the different sectors. Artemisia is described beautifully, mainly focussing on the palace and the seemingly never-ending Lake.

Characters: In my reviews for Cinder, Scarlet and Cress, I covered most of the main characters so I’m going to switch things up a bit and perhaps write about the ships throughout The Lunar Chronicles.
               First of all, we are introduced to Cinder and Kai. I really like Cinder and everything she stands for and, whilst I wasn’t so keen on Prince Kai at first, I am now totally in love with the pair of them as they are with each other. The duo complement each other so well and, now that an alliance is needed between Earth and Luna, what better way to do so than to unite the pair!
               Scarlet and Wolf are couple number two. I really love the character of Scarlet and think she also works with Winter really well. However, although I found Wolf intriguing at the start, I think he’s become a bit too forced. Is it bad that I kind of wish he had died protecting Scarlet or something? His life seemed a bit too tortured and difficult to be ‘real’. Maybe I seem a little harsh with this but, if I were to give any of the couples an unhappy ending, it would be Scarlet and Wolf. Besides, Scarlet is strong enough to survive on her own.
               Cress and Thorne! Are there even words to describe my love for these two? From the very start I’ve shipped them so hard and Winter certainly didn’t disappoint in that department. In fact, the scene where Thorne sort of finally declares how he feels about her is one of my favourite scenes ever. It was so breathtakingly beautiful! Wow I so need a Carswell Thorne in my life. Honestly, I’d protect these two precious babies to my death.
               Last but not least, we have Winter and Jacin. I never was a huge fan of Jacin but he earned some respect in this book, especially for protecting Cress. His devotion to Winter was sweet, but a little too over-powering at times. Winter, however, I love! She wears her scars, both physically and mentally, without batting an eyelid, and I do believe that is mainly down to Jacin’s help. One thing I really loved is her refusal to use her Lunar gift and her reasons why. Queen Levana and the thurmatages, especially Aimery, really tortured the poor girl so is it any wonder why she ended up so crazy in her own beautifully unique way? I couldn’t help but grin whenever she howled like a wolf and sang that silly song. I also admire the faith that Jacin and Scarlet had in Winter and how they never purposefully let her down. I have nothing but respect for her courage throughout the book, especially when she finally used her Gift to protect her friends.
               Now, if you’ve read any of my other reviews of The Lunar Chronicles, you will know that I have an undying love for everyone’s favourite android/spaceship/escort droid, Iko! I love how funny she is! Whilst I do miss her as The Rampion, it’s great to see how much help she is now as the beautiful escort droid. And she has an important part as she contains the information regarding the chip that can protect humans and Lunars alike from the Lunar gift! Yes Iko!
               Finally, I feel as if I should talk about the Lunar royalty of the series: Queen Levana and Queen Channary. I so desperately want to know more about these two and cannot wait to get my hands on Fairest which, as far as I’m aware, does contain the pair. I know not much is learnt about Channary, and I’m not sure if I can believe Levana after how horrid and deceitful she is, but I actually think Channary is worse than Levana so I can’t wait to read about her! As for Levana herself, underneath it all I can see a very damaged, confused and bullied character, but that doesn’t excuse her actions. After all, Cinder too had her share of bad upbringing and familial torture, but has become a good person. Yes, I pity Levana, but I also admire Meyer for making a truly terrifying villain who still has emotions underneath all that. It’s a hard job to do, but Meyer successfully created a wonderful villain who creates this vibe of pure evil and manipulability.

To read or not to read: Read. Like right now. Read the whole series and never stop reading it. Winter has it all. Powerful, pure evilness in the Lunars, a bunch of badass heroines and heroes, a super awesome revolution, moments where your heart is in your throat, and you can’t form sentences and you just don’t know how they could all possibly survive. And, of course, it has our favourite android Iko who makes us laugh even when we’re crying.

Needless to say, I’m in a complete book hangover. I rushed out and bought Stars Above (I need more okay!) and will probably be getting Fairest sometime soon too. But then I will be upset because the series truly will be over.

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