Friday, January 22, 2016

#Friday Review - Winter by Marissa Meyer (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: The Lunar Chronicles # 4
Format: Hardcover, 824 pages
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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

Winter is the fourth installment in The Lunar Chronicles series by author Marissa Meyer. Winter is probably the largest book that I've ever read, besides the bible, and perhaps Harry Potter. Winter is a story that has plenty of revolving storylines and characters. Everyone from Cinder (Princess Selene), Emperor Kai, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Iko, Jacin Clay, and Queen Levana get their final say in what happens between Lunar and Earth. So, let's say hello to the final character in the series, Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn. Winter is much loved by the people of Lunar. 

How do I know that? Because the author drives the point through our brains almost continually. Winter is a strange, broken, lovable, and bit shit crazy character who we briefly met after Scarlet was captured and given to Winter as a pet. She has an infinity for animals, has some very vivid hallucinations, including blood on walls, and turning into ice, but refuses to use her Lunar magic of mind control and glamouring to manipulate a persons bio-electricity. Winter has some major issues with her villainous step-mother Queen Levana. 

Whether it is because Levana's past (which you will find more about by reading Fairest), or because Winter is much adored by almost everyone on Lunar, any warm feelings between the two are non-existent and intentionally antagonistic on Levana's side. Winter isn't responsible for Levana's hatred of her, nor the fact that she would rather see her dead. I dare say that I would have been happier with more of Winter's story, including Winter and Selene's past, rather than what we have. I totally understand that Meyer needed to move ahead with the revolution or readers would be chopping their own fingers off in disappointment. 

In other news, cyborg/human Cinder (Princess Selene) and the rest of the Rampion crew, now including Kai, have plan to oust Levana from her throne and rescue Scarlet. The plan involves traveling to Luna, and hopefully rallying the less fortunate and others to overthrow the evil queen and her monsters who have chosen to start a war with Earth. Cinder is still the lead character even after four books. It is her revolution against a Queen who has no business being on the throne. It is her actions, or mistakes, that will have lasting impacts for not only Earth, but for all of the residents of Lunar as well. 

I love a villain who is a bit on the psychotic side. Levana is just plain evil, and hasn't changed one iota since we first met her. Villains make their own choices in life, and Levana had plenty of chances to change her path before she made her own fate and decisions. Readers have wanted a Cinder vs. Levana cage match since the very beginning of this series. While there is a particularly interesting scene that also includes Cress, and Thorne, there is lots and lots of other things to sort out in the meantime. 

I am OK with how this series ended. Maybe could have been reduced by 300 pages or so, but it is what it is. I loved Winter, especially when she is with Jacin. He has a calming influence on her, and keeps her in the here and now, rather than a make believe world. I am A-OK with Cress and Thorne, even though Thorne is still a womanizing man whore at times. I loved that Meyer finally gets past the pensiveness between the characters.

I am A-OK with Scarlet and Wolf and their future. No matter how many trials and tribulations these two have been through, they will always be amazing together. Scarlet never once gave up on Wolf, not even when things are the darkest and the revolution is in full swing. I adore Iko. I love her spunkiness, her adoration for Kai, and her steadfast friendship and love for Cinder. I love the revelation and her response to it after being told she may have the key to thwarting Lunar glamour in her head.

I was a bit surprised, shocked, curious as to why Meyer ended this story like she did. I could see another avenue, but I'm not the writer. It's her baby, not mine. As I said previously, it would have been fun to have a bit of Winter and Princess Selene background before all was said and done. Kind of felt a bit for Winter on this issue. Selene obviously meant something to Winter even though Winter was older. 

Will probably need to read Fairest one of these days to find out the whole story behind Lunatic Queen Levana. Readers/reviewers are a fickle bunch. Don't give them enough romance, and we toss a hissy fit. Don't have enough blood and guts and actions, and we get bored, and toss the book aside for another day. I think there is a fair amount of both in this installment. You really can't flood the story any further with more action, and more romance without reaching 1,000 pages. So, as we close the chapter on Cinder and her friends story, I am happy that I started this long journey in the first place. 

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