Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Review: Winter by Marissa MeyerWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling, Fairy Tales, Adventure
Pages: 824
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

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?

Last night, I returned from Star Wars on an emotional high. Despite the facts that it was 10:30, I had over 300 pages left, and I had to be up for work in the morning, I decided that it was the perfect time to finish Winter. See, hype can make it tough for me to tap into my emotions, and I was already emotional, so really it WAS a great time for me to finish, even if I am really tired now. Worth it.

The Lunar Chronicles has been amazing from start to finish, which I say with extra confidence having just reread the earlier books as well. Going back before I started Winter was very nice, not just because I didn’t remember some important plot things from Cress and also wanted to see if my opinions on certain ships had changed *ahem*, but because I can see the planning that went into the series now in ways that I couldn’t before.

Reading Cinder, I had no idea what the scope of the series would be or how things would turn out, aside from the defeat of the evil queen and happiness of the ship because fairy tale. I never could have imagined the grand scope that Meyer put together. Going back through the series, it was obvious that Meyer had everything planned out, at least the big picture stuff, when she wrote Cinder. I think that’s why this is one of the best series enders I’ve read.

gif best day ever tangled

Given the fact that I was pretty much positive going in that I knew how the series would end, due to fairy tale archetypes, Meyer did manage to surprise me. Winter was more violent and intense than I expected for one thing. View Spoiler » On top of that, I was actually surprised that it didn’t end with View Spoiler »

Shipping has always been somewhat turbulent for me in this series, my ships waxing and waning with each book and even each read of each book. Having finished a full read of the series for the first time, I can tell you that I think I’ve come down with this order on the ships: Kai/Cinder, Cress/Thorne, Wolf/Scarlet, and Winter/Jacin in last place. I don’t know what it is about the steadiness of Kai and Cinder that I adore, but I guess I just really love the strong heroine constantly saving her boyfriend. Kai is the only one in the series who never does anything with physical strength (his own or manipulated), which is really pretty fascinating. He ends up being more useful than I would have thought, and his behavior towards Cinder at the end is so fucking cute. In general, I love that, in each ship, the girl really calls the shots. Even Cress pretty much rules Thorne because he totally forgets how to buckle swashes around her.

gif cinderella dancing

More than the ships, though, I really love the dynamic of the whole group. Meyer shuffles the group around a lot in the last two books, so they basically all get to know each other at least a little bit, and I love the interactions. Cress and Wolf have some good moments together where she learns to stop fearing the sweet puppy who just misses his girlfriend. There are some great Cress/Kai moments in Winter too. Scarlet and Winter have an amazing friendship arc )View Spoiler »). Not to mention Cinder/Iko, who have been strong from the first. I also love that it seems like Iko might get her own bit of hotness in the fullness of time. GET IT, GURL.

There are just two things that could have made this series better in my opinion. Firstly, Everything would have been imbued with so much more tragedy if Meyer had succeeded in making Levana a tragic figure. I think that’s what Fairest was meant to do, and, it almost worked, but View Spoiler » destroyed what sympathy I had for her horrible childhood. She was actually too much of a monster and a villain, making everything really black and white. That does fit fairy tale archetypes, but oh man the pain when you also care just a wee bit about the villains.

gif maleficent well

Secondly, The Lunar Chronicles is depressingly heteronormative. I mean, I could blame fairy tales for that I guess, but, yeah, I’m not going to. Now that publishing is letting LGBT books through much more regularly, I’m so disappointed that there’s not even the slightest hint of anyone not being one hundred percent straight in this whole massive series. Just no. As Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) said when I talked about this with her, Jacin so easily could have been Jacinda. The Snow White story would clearly be there with a lady guard just the same. *sighs*

gif snow white girl kiss

If you’ve not started The Lunar Chronicles, there’s no reason to wait; it’s complete and it’s got a wonderful ending. Though I totally get waiting for the hype to die down. If you’ve not finished, GO FOR IT. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series, and I cannot wait for what Meyer does next (though I hope it embraces all the colors of the rainbow).

Favorite Quote:

“I’m going to make it a law that the correct way to address your sovereign is by giving a high five.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif tangled swoon

4 responses to “Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer”

  1. STAR WARS. And Winter in the same night?! That’s a lot of emotions… One of my favorite things about the series as well is how planned out it is! I haven’t reread them but I remember back reading Scarlet I could already see inklings of connections, which I super adore. And she obviously pulled it off masterfully. The group dynamics were the best! It was such a cool way to showcase each character by having them interact with so many. Yeah there is absolutely nothing redeemable about Levana, so I agree with you there. A little nuance (and taking out that Fairest spoiler plot point) could have helped. I personally loooove Jacin and Winter but I’d be all for Jacinta and Winter! It’s kind of surprising, given the relative racial diversity, that she has next to zero LGBT diversity. A real shame. But I still swooned hardcore at that Jacin/Winter kiss HOLY GODS. Glad you liked Cress/Thorne more this time around, I love them!! Yessss no Jane Austen quadruple wedding hahah though I’m curious who’s getting married in the new short story in Feb! Now you have me wanting to reread this series. Loved your review 🙂

  2. Sisa says:

    Hello! Great review, I loved Winter. I was wondering from which chapter is your favorite quote? I can’t remember it. Thanks!

  3. I had the same feelings towards Levana. You had a pretty messed-up childhood, we get it, but it didn’t gave me enough satisfaction to think ‘Hey, I understand why she is doing these things.’

    Winter was such a delightful character and I think Meyer really handled her mental issues in the right way. Her arc with Scarlet was fantastic and I love how Scarlet started to care for the girl.

    This series would have been completed if Jacin would indeed be a Jacinda. It’s a shame Meyer never went that way.

    I also got more on board with Thorne/Cress. I secretly had a moment where I was rooting for Thorne/Cinder, but I’m not on board with all the ships 🙂 Thorne was the cutest around Cress, haha. I love the dynamic between all the relationships and how different they all are.

    The ending could have used a bit more closure, but that is just personal taste, and overall I’m really satisfied with this conclusion. It would have broken my heart if I had hated it, but now it’s just bittersweet to say goodbye to this world and the characters I have fallen in love with.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Annual end of the year survey | 2015.My Profile

  4. I’ve been working my way through the Winter reviews on the blogosphere recently, having just (finally) started Winter myself. Now I’m wishing I’d have reread the previous books as well. My memory is quite good, so I usually don’t reread series with every new instalment, but your comments on not fully realizing the scope of the series in Cinder gave me pause. I might just reread the entire thing once I finish Winter.

    Like you, I would have liked to feel sympathy for Levana in Fairest but mostly I just wanted to shake her/yell at her for being so blind and selfish. I agree that the series would be better as a whole if we felt for the villain…Anyway, I have to say that Star Wars + Winter sounds like a dream come true AND that being tired afterwards would have been totally worth it for me too. Awesome review^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…2015 End of the Year SurveyMy Profile

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