Tuesday, 29 December 2015

WINTER - Book Review

Can we just take a moment to marvel at this gorgeous book?
Here is the majestic Winter, the fourth and final book in The Lunar Chronicles.

Winter, by Marissa Meyer
Published: November 2015 by Puffin
Length: 823 pages (Yep! That's right!!)
Genre: YA, Retellings, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Rating: 5 STARS!!!

Where do I even begin? This book was just incredible. Honestly, I don't even know how to talk about it without jumping up and down in excited circles and squeaking and crying. The feels are real.

So, this is the last book to this series and it was such a bittersweet ending. I had been looking forward to this book ever since I finished Cress, and, no joke, I very nearly hugged the postman when he handed me the parcel containing this book. However, now that it has come to an end I've had to face the fact that I'm not going to get another one of these books which is devastating!! But I think we can definitely say that The Lunar Chronicles went out with a bang!!

The Lunar Chronicles, with Cinder as its first book, is a series of fairy-tale retellings set in a futuristic world where Earth, and its Earthens, are at war with the planet Luna and its Lunar citizens. Queen Levana has released a deadly plague called letumosis onto Earth that is killing Earthens at an incredible rate. There is no cure. The only way to stop the plague from spreading is to form an alliance between the two planets, by means of a royal marriage between Queen Levana and Emperor Kai, the new ruler of Earth. Soon, Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, and her trusty robotic friend, Iko, are roped in and are forced to take part in a battle between the planets. But they're not the only people dragged into the war. Soon they're joined by Scarlet, a tomato farmer, Wolf, a cage-fighter, Thorne, a pilot, Cress, a hacker locked away in a satellite, and finally Winter, a mad Princess and her guard, Jacin.
This series is an epic retelling of our favourite stories. It's incredible and completely unforgettable. Nobody will ever regret reading these books!!

If you are unfamiliar with this series, you might want to have a look at my review for the first three books in the series, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, which you can have a look at by clicking here.

So, when we left our characters at the end of Cress, they were in a fair amount of trouble. Scarlet had been captured and was in Luna with Winter as her only company. Wolf was a wreck, Thorne was blind, Kai had kind-of-been kidnapped by the rebels and everyone was in a bit of a sticky situation.

I have almost always re-read the rest of the series before reading a sequel to it, but I didn't have time to do that with these books, so there were certain parts that I had forgotten about and I wasn't quite sure where the story was going to take us. However, I thought the first few chapters recapped it perfectly and by this point I was well aware with what had happened and what was going on, which is always useful!!

So much happened in this book. I never knew it was possible for so much to go on in one book, but Marissa Meyer managed to exceed my expectations by so much. I mean, it was over 800 pages long, so I had expected quite a lot to crack off, but even then there was still so much story and each page of it was as captivating and mesmerising as the others. The funny thing is though, is that Winter didn't feel like a long book. I mean, I was reading it for quite a while (although this could be primarily down to the fact that I read most of it in my post Mockingjay Part 2 week of sobbing!!) and my hand was fairly sore afterwards from having to support all the weight of this massive book. But, it never dragged on or got boring, as many long books do, and I seemed to get through it fairly quickly.

This could have been down to Marissa Meyer's fantastic writing. Honestly, that woman just spews pure magic from her brain. I wouldn't be surprised if her brain was actually made up of sparkles and glitter because that is how amazing she is. I've said before that her writing style reminds me of J.K. Rowling and Cassandra Clare, and I still stand by that. She's definitely up with the greats in my mind!

I actually thought a lot of this series felt very cinematic in the way it was written. By reading the words, you could almost see the whole story happen in front of you on a screen. It was quite a strange experience really, particularly because it seems that no plans have been made to adapt this novel to the screen. And on that note, I think The Lunar Chronicles would make an amazing film series or TV show! It needs to be done!!

Okay, if you haven't already read Winter and do not wish to find out what happens, I would suggest you leave now since I will be discussing spoilers. If you haven't already read The Lunar Chronicles, I seriously suggest you consider doing so. I was a bit dubious of the series before I read them but they have grown to be one of my favourite series of all times. I cannot recommend them higher! Please go and read them!!

Spoilers from now on!

Okay, let's talk about our new characters. So, we didn't really find all that much out about Winter in the other books. I think we had one chapter with her in Cress in total, and she really freaked me out. You could tell she was slightly mad and she definitely acted younger than her age, due to not using her Lunar powers. But in this book, she was revealed to be so much more. She wasn't actually as crazy as I had thought she was going to be. She was just a lovely character who happened to be in her own dreamworld at times. Sort of like Luna Lovegood, but with a scarier land of dreams. I wasn't too sure about her at first, but as we got to know her, she just seemed like a really friendly character. I loved her!!
However, I would like to point out that I was so frustrated at Winter when she took the apple sweet! Does she not know you shouldn't take sweets off strangers?! Silly girl!!
But apart from that minor detail, I thought she was great.

So, we met Jacin back in Cress and I never really warmed to him then. At all. In fact, it did take me quite a long time to actually warm to him in this last book, and I don't think he'll ever have the same effect on me as Kai and Thorne (and Wolf - kind of) had on me, but I did warm to him a lot more by the end and I really do think he and Winter were a great match.

I actually grew to like Scarlet more in this book than in all of the previous books. I had never liked her as much as Cinder or Cress, but I've never been too sure why. She really seemed to win me over in Winter, though. It was almost as if she wanted to prove herself to her readers, or if Marissa Meyer wanted to prove how amazing she was to us all, because she really stood out and stood up for herself and really had a huge impact on the revolution.

Wolf seemed to do the same. I've never been too much of a Wolf fan. I mean, he's cool and everything, but doesn't seem too sensitive or human (though I guess he does have a reason for this!). But in Winter, we saw the softer, gentler and more caring side to him. One of my favourite parts of this book was when Scarlet and Wolf were finally reunited, and I think Wolf had almost matured in that scene, after moping around for so long! I just loved it!! He also touched my heart in the scenes with his mother, after returning to his childhood home. It was amazing to see.

I really, really, hate to say this but I actually wasn't too much of a fan of Cress or Thorne in this book. Wait... Let me rephrase that... I wasn't as much of a fan of them as I had previously been in the other books. That's better!
Cress and Thorne have been my tied favourites (with Cinder and Kai) ever since we were introduced to them, but they kind of annoyed me slightly here. I still loved them. Loved them loads! But I found myself getting rather frustrated with them a lot of the time, particularly at the start. Why could they not just accept that they were perfect for each other?? Why did they both have to go on thinking that the other one deserved better? Could they not see how amazing they would be as a couple?? Clearly not! I just got quite annoyed at them for taking so long to get together. They would have just saved a lot of time, worry and struggles if they had just got together as soon as Thorne could see again. The struggles were real.
But apart  from them taking too long to get together, I absolutely loved both of these characters. I loved how shy yet badass Cress was, and how cocky and arrogant yet still caring and loyal Thorne was. They're just a match made in heaven. *swoons*

And now, our couple of the series... Let's talk about Cinder and Kai.
Ahh. I can't even get into words how much I love these characters. They're just perfect. While I've said that Cress and Thorne are on par with my love for Cinder and Kai, it's probably true that I love these two just a little bit more. Simply for the reason that they've been with us for the longest. We have been through so much with these two characters and I have loved them since their very first pages. And I'm so glad that they're finally together and happy. They really deserve to be! Kai has been so brave all the way through the series, even though he's had to lead the whole world AND then take over Luna, while trying to be diplomatic and stay undercover the whole time! He hasn't had an easy ride!
And Cinder... She's been through the mill a bit, too. She's had to face the death of her only human friend, be targeted by everything she knew, go on the run as a fugitive and fight battles while doing so! She has been such a great character, protagonist, and I'm going to miss reading about her, but I am so glad she got her happily ever after. She definitely deserved it.

And what about my favourite character of the whole entire series?! Iko has just been the best. We didn't really get a lot of Iko-time in Winter, which would be my only complaint about the book. Then again, I don't think I could ever have enough Iko time!! I just love her so much. She's just so funny and adds a sparkling light to the darkest of pages and times. These books really needed something like her and I'm so glad she was there. I would actually like to know more about her though, like how she came to be and then what happened to her after Winter. I'm really hoping Marissa Meyer writes a new book focused purely on Iko. It would be amazing!

And lastly, let's talk about the villain of this story. The amazing Queen Levana.
Now, I have read about a lot of villains in all the books I have ever read, but not many have captured my attention the way Levana did. I loved her as a baddie. She was just perfect. She was ruthless, she was cunning, she was slightly mad, but I loved her! And yes, I'm one of those people who have a soft spot for the bad guys. While I was obviously rooting for Cinder and all of her allies to win the revolution and to kill Levana, there was always a part of me that wanted to know more about her. And more we discovered! It was actually quite a sad and touching time when she was killed, just after revealing everything about her sister, Cinder's mother, and why she did everything she did. I loved getting to know her more and would love to find more out about her (why haven't I read Fairest?!). Of course, I am glad that she died in the end (sorry Levana!) because there was no way everyone else would have survived if she too had been kept alive, but I was almost sorry to see her go. She was a great villain!

I guess that's it for the characters then! I cannot explain how much I loved this book in actual words. It was soooooo good! I absolutely loved the escape scenes with Scarlet and Winter (and sometimes Jacin) and I loved when they were trying to rally the wolf-people troops. I loved all of the battle scenes with Cinder and Wolf and Thorne and Cress. I loved the reuniting scene between Scarlet and Wolf. I loved all the crazy antics and banter between Cinder and Thorne. I loved the romances between all of our couples (although we all know that Cress and Thorne, and Cinder and Kai are the best!). I just loved the whole thing, really! There was  not a dull page in the whole of that 823 page long book - and that's saying something!! Every single sentence was edge-of-the-seat (or in my case, bed!) drama and I just loved every bit of it.

I know that a lot of people were puzzled at the fact that we didn't lose any of our main characters, but I was so happy and glad when I realised that everyone had made it through alive. These poor characters had really been through a lot. I think they'd all been kidnapped or trapped at one stage or another (some on multiple occasions) and had seen and experiences awful things, so it was lovely to see that they all made it through and had their well deserved happily ever after. Especially Iko! I had a feeling that Iko might have ended up dying or crashing or whatever robots do, but I was so, so, SO glad that she made it out okay because I honestly think I would have died if Iko had been killed off!!

And I think that's all I have to say! Winter was just an amazingly incredible book and I simply cannot wait to go back to the beginning of the series and read them all over again! I am also really excited for the release of Stars Above, in 2016, which is a collection of short stories set before, during, and after the lunar chronicles! Cannot wait to find out more about what happened after the happily ever after! And I also really need to read Fairest!!

Right, I think that's all I have for this post but I hope to be back for more reviews very soon!

See you then,

Charlotte xxx

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