Published: November 12th 2015 by Penguin
Format: Paperback, 823 pages
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Science Fiction
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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?
It’s taken me a long time to gather the courage to read Winter, mostly because I was terrified I wouldn’t enjoy the finale of The Lunar Chronicles (I mean, 4 five-star books in a row? What are the odds?), but also because I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters or the world. But, as usual, Meyer has surpassed my expectations.
Winter stands apart from the other books for a number of reasons. This is the first time all eight central characters are together and the first time they step foot on Lunar. But it wasn’t the first time I’d stepped onto Lunar: I’d read Fairest earlier and was fascinated by the insight it gave into Queen Levana. I liked the dynamic between Princess Winter and Jacin, her guard and best friend. She had a solid and interesting storyline that wasn’t overshadowed by her mental illness, and though Jacin was a bit over-the-top, I think they suited one another well. Unsurprisingly, I loved the way Meyer wove the fairytale elements — the apple, the witch, the hunter, the poisoned apple, etc — into the novel.
No review of The Lunar Chronicles would be complete without me gushing over Cinder and Kai, and they were brilliant in this finale. Cinder really came into her own, and Kai was just this sarcastic ball of bravery, and I loved them so much! Scarlet and Wolf were their adorable, steady selves in this story, but I must admit Cress and Thorne surprised me. It was obvious, from the first few chapters, that something in their dynamic had changed, and I loved the way the author allowed their story to play out. One of my favourite aspects of this series remains that none of the characters are absolutely perfect. The ensemble cast consists of people who strengthen one another and compensate for their weaknesses.
I’m glad I read Fairest before Winter because it helped ground Queen Levana and explained a lot of her seemingly irrational behaviour. I’m pretty sure even Cinder, as empathetic as she is, didn’t quite grasp what Levana had endured. And though the final confrontation was a tad predictable and safe (I never felt any of the characters were in any real danger), I enjoyed the moral and ethical dilemmas the characters faced in the aftermath.
I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful time with Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, and I’m sad to let them go … but I do have the novellas in Stars Above to look forward to! The idea of blending science fiction, fairy tales, and Sailor Moon may sound odd (I was sceptical at first), but I urge readers to give the series a chance. I don’t think you’ll regret it.