If you’re reading this review, I will assume that you’ve read Winter by Marissa Meyer and all the previous books on the series. Otherwise, go away and read them first, or just don’t come back, because I’ll be talking real spoilers here. Read my reviews of the previous book in the series here and here.
Winter is the fourth and last book in the Lunar Chronicles series, written by Marissa Meyer. Firstly, let me just say that I really appreciate Meyer for not making a trilogy. Second of all, I just wanna let you all know that I didn’t like this book or this whole series.
I didn’t expect much when I first read Cinder in the middle of last year. And when I found that it was an okay book, I wasn’t surprised, and I heard that the next books in the series get better, so I should totally continue the series! I liked Scarlet. I thought it was the best book of the series. Cress was a mess. Mostly because I didn’t like Cress herself. Now comes Winter, the biggest book, with another new character to the gang. Naturally the expectations I had for the books increased as the series progressed. Everyone kept saying it’s an amazing series, but I don’t see it! It’s the concluding novel. I expected a lot, especially after I saw the high average of the book’s rating, especially form my own friends.
Let me start with Winter herself. She’s an annoyingly weird princess. Her relationship with Jacin was weird. But I’ll get into the whole romance thing later. Winter was a mess. I didn’t get her personality at all. At first I thought, hmm Cinder looks like she’s not fit to be a queen of Luna, maybe Winter could be the queen, since she’s a princess, right? But boy was I wrong. Winter is such a brat and I didn’t like her at all. Also, did I mention she was weird?
Let’s move on to the other characters. I loved Cinder. She’s smart, reliable, independent. But I don’t see much of her character development or any kind of character at all, basically not just from her but from the whole gang. Sure, Wolf showed that because of the power or love, you can conquer anything. And you barely knew Jacin in the first place to see any kind of characterization in him. To be honest he is basically Wolf? From his cold masculine presence to his “my-soft-spot-is-only-the-girl-I-love” trope.
Thorne was quite a dynamic character, but again I felt like his whole character wasn’t executed well by Meyer. He could’ve had scenes where he’d reveal his inner self, or how he’d peel down his outer layer of jokes and flirts and melt under Cress. Speaking of Cress, I didn’t like her any more that I liked her in the previous book. She’s still a weird, lovestruck, naive girl who’s useless other than the sheer fact that she can hack into basically anything. As for Iko, I didn’t really give a shit about her. I can see why a lot of people adore her because of her perkiness and light humour, but I couldn’t really care about her.
The only three characters I really cared about was Cinder, Scarlet and Kai. I needed more Scarlet in this book. Her relationship with Winter was great, but I wanted more of her spunkiness in the second book. It felt like her determination sort of faded after her grandmother died. Or after the next book started and Meyer couldn’t really focus on which character she wanted to develop. I loved Kai from the start, and I thought his characterization was excellent here. From his thinking process as the calculating and mature leader to his teenage feelings for Cinder. I liked his advisor Torin. But again, I felt like a lot more could’ve been done in the book in terms of relationships of the gang. Kai’s relationship with Torin. Cinder’s relationship with her stepmother. Cinder’s relationship with Wolf. Cress’s relationship with Kai. Winter’s relationship with Levana.
The villain was alright for me. But the climax killed it for me, when Levana’s “real face” was revealed to the world and she crumpled with fear and suddenly she couldn’t fight for herself. I didn’t like that part at all. All through the whole series we see as this Levana as a fierce villain, as the evil witch. But then she loses her power just because of a minor setback?
Which brings me to the plot of this whole book. I think this book itself is waaay too long. It’s unnecessarily long. Nothing ever concludes until the end. Something intense happens, and then the characters get away unscathed, only to go through another obstacle in another setting and fighting happens, some kind of “war”, and maybe loss of fingers. It’ll be more convincing if Meyer had chosen one particular plotline, for example Cinder’s plan to bring down Levana through the whole Luna’s citizens uniting to overthrow her. Instead of the whole failing, and doing the other plan, and coming up with another plan, and then failing again, and then almost dying, and then making up another plan again.
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Date Published: 2015
Num of Pages: 635
Date Read: 26 February, 2015
The climax of the whole book fell flat for me. The whole buildup to the thing we’ve all been waiting for – Levana’s death – didn’t live up to the hype. Like someone said in their review, we all know that Levana will die in the end, the real question is how? And in the end the execution was horribly underwhelming.
To be honest, when I heard that the concluding book was amazing, I imagined the conclusion of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, or the Artemis Fowl series conclusion. The Heroes of Olympus is a good example to how to actually have a series with lots of characters but the author being able to organize and develop each of them well. I think Meyer’s biggest mistake for me is not developing the characters well. You get snippets of all the gang, but none that would make me, the reader, really love them all.
Not to mention the whole romantic relationship thing. I’ve mentioned this on the review I made for the second and third books – I felt like the series was way too romancy. All the main characters, the girls with their names as the titles, all have a man to “complete her”. It’s as if every girl needs a man in the story to make it more interesting. And sure, I liked the romance between Wolf and Scarlet (though it got kind of tiring by the end of the book), and between Cinder and Kai. But other than that I’d just roll my eyes when I’d come into scenes with Cress and Thorne, or when Jacin would say the many different variations of “I’ll protect you no matter what” to Winter.
I’m glad that there aren’t any love triangles that’ll make the whole thing more sickening, but I just feel like it’s one of the main problems in YA stories, which is how the authors always feel like they have to incorporate some sort of love interest for the main character. I’d rather prefer they’d explore more about Cinder’s friendship with Thorne, or incorporating themes like a human falling in love with an android (why doesn’t Iko have a love interest, if all the members of the gang does? Just because she’s not human?), or spending more time to explore the world of Luna with the dust problems and the society, or the whole political aspect in Earth. I’d rather read about that than read about Cress mooning over Thorne, or Winter being saved again and again by Jacin.
And of course, there are other problems with the book as well. Plotholes, like why didn’t Cinder detect the guard lying when he said that Iko was dead, even though in the first book her cyborg brain could definitely detect any kind of dishonesty? Other small details that became annoying holes. Not to mention the mediocre writing style that I’ve noticed from the first book. If the writing style was as witty as Eoin Colfer’s, or as poetic as Maggie Stiefvater’s I’ll probably like the series more.
The ending of the book, to conclude this whole long series of battles, felt a little too good to be true for me. No main character deaths, no serious injuries, no psychological injuries, no nothing? All the boys get the girls, everyone comes home happy with smiles in their faces? And Cinder suddenly becomes this young queen who’s had no experience at all, and she admits that she doesn’t really think of herself as a ruler but she’ll “do her best” or something along the line?
In the end, I feel like this super duper long review was a little too negative. I feel like I’m writing for a one-star review, when in fact I rate this book a solid 2.5 stars. I liked parts of it. Heck, I did actually finish the book, didn’t I? I just had a lot of problems with the book, and with the whole series itself. It’s far from one of my favourite series, and it certainly didn’t live up to the hype. I don’t know if it’s just a bad book, but I don’t think that’s the case because I’ve seen so many people praise it. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea. Maybe YA is not my cup of tea anymore, because this whole series is certainly so young adult. And to conclude this review, I just wanna say that I do not wish to insult anyone who loved this book or this series. I just personally didn’t like it.
Did you like the Lunar Chronicles? What are your thoughts on my review? Did you agree with my thoughts on Winter or did you disagree? Don’t be afraid to speak your mind on the comments and add me on Twitter to find out more about the books I read!