Title: Winter (the Lunar Chronicles #4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi
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?
Check out this book’s Goodreads page!
Check out my review for Book 3: Cress
This is one of my favorite endings to a series. It had most everything you could want from a finale; it was action-packed, it was fast-paced and exciting. Things were going wrong and our characters were forced to maneuver through the obstacles that were constantly being thrown at them. Our characters were separated and then brought back together, and then separated yet again. There was a perfect balance of the heavy action and the softer lulls, and Meyer did a brilliant job of deciding what to focus on and when.
- The pacing was some of the best I’ve ever come across. This finale is action-packed through and through: you would expect it to since there’s revolutions, schemes, the showdown with Levana. There’s a lot going on, and it had the potential to be overwhelming, but Meyer’s pacing prevented that. There would be big action scenes permeated with softer scenes where the reader got to see character development and the relationships we have come to adore so much. I was never bored, nor was I ever exhausted with the action.
- The characters. Everybody knows I love these characters. I love how distinct they are, and I love their relationships with each other. I appreciate how Meyer made the female characters the leaders in these relationships without taking away their femininity. For example, Cress is timid and physically inept and she craves protection and love, but she’s not a weak character by any means. And I think that’s important. Often female characters are stripped of their femininity and a desire for protection because it’s “anti-feminism” and Meyer counters that perfectly.
- The newer characters were also wonderful. Winter, in all her quirkiness and casual insanity, is a great character and even though we haven’t seen her as much as, let’s say, Cinder – we’re still immediately drawn to her. I grew to care about Winter a lot, and I was completely invested in her. But the one person who stole the show was Jacin. And he’s a minor character! Yes, he plays a pivotal role in some plot points, but his page time is pretty small. I love how complex he is. I’ve come to realize that one of my favorite tropes is a brooding member of the royal guard (*cough* Chaol *cough), and that’s what Jacin was. His loyalty to Winter was heart-warming, and the struggle with his personal feelings and the duties of his job was so brilliantly done. I wish he had gotten more time in this book, but I understand why that might have been impractical. And yes, I absolutely have a crush on him.
“Sandwiching Winter’s face in both hands, Jacin forced her gaze up to his. ‘Hey,’ he said, somehow stern and gentle at the same time. ‘You’re my princess, right? You were always going to be my princess, no matter what you were born, no matter who your dad married.'”
- The relationships were also lovely. Cinder and Kai have a natural, healthy attraction and it was refreshing to see a complicated relationship without the buttloads of angst. Cress and Thorne have some angst going on, and I can’t say I was as invested in their romance as a lot of other people were, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Jacin and Winter have my heart and love and everything. A princess and her royal guard? Beautiful. Unpopular opinion: Scarlet and Wolf are my favorite. Their relationship is so interesting: they both have tough exteriors but they’re both so gooey inside. I love the reversed trope here that Wolf is so emotionally dependent on Scarlet, and that really adds a layer to his character. There wasn’t enough of them in Cress but there was plenty in Winter, and I am so grateful! Personally, I see their story as more Beauty and the Beast, than the Little Red Riding Hood.
- The final showdown. Brilliantly done. Given just the right amount of time and I couldn’t put the book down.
- I only have one point here because other than this, the book was phenomenal. The ending was too clean and too happy. I don’t like clean and happy endings. Does that make me a psychopath? Maybe. An ending can be happy without everything being neat and tidy, and I prefer that. I find it unrealistic that a happy ending, and such a neat one at that, could be achieved with the given circumstances of the series. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but I wish the ending was bittersweet, a little darker.
Overall, I think this series is a triumph in the young-adult genre. It takes a beloved genre i.e. fairytale retellings and gives it a refreshing twist. These characters will stay with me for a very long time, and it’s a series that I see myself returning to in the future. Definitely read this if you haven’t yet, no matter what you are a fan of.