The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

‘Winter’ by Marissa Meyer: an epic finale!

on January 25, 2016

SPOILER ALERT: This review will contain spoilers for the previous books in The Lunar Chronicles series, so look away now if you haven’t read them yet. Also, read them now if you haven’t read them yet!!!

 

635616865883334429-Winter-3-10-15Winter. Marissa Meyer. Puffin. November 2015.

Princess Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She’s said to be even more breath-taking than her stepmother, Queen Levana…

When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin.

But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter claim their happily ever afters by defeating Levana once and for all?


I finished Winter yesterday, and I’m still struggling to *compute* ALL THE FEELINGS, and work out how I’m going to cope (and find something on the same level of epic to read next) now my journey with the Rampion crew has come to an end!

Despite being an intimidating 822 page doorstopper, I whizzed through this book, desperate to find out whether the characters I’d grown to love so fiercely would all get the happily-ever-afters they deserved.

Once upon a time, I never would have imagined a sci-fi/fantasy series set in a future filled with cyborgs and androids being my kind of thing, but I’m so glad I gave these books a chance because, as it turns out, they’re totally my cup of tea!

The thing I love most about The Lunar Chronicles is its cast of characters. Not since reading Harry Potter has my heart burst with such genuine love for fictional people.

Let’s start with Princess Winter.

For somebody who grew up with such a psychopathic tyrant for a stepmother, Winter isn’t one jot like the woman who raised her: she’s kind and good and understands love in a way Levana never will. Somehow, there’s nothing sickly about her sweetness, and I couldn’t help but adore her! She’s also a total quirkball, with the strangest, yet most charming, way of speaking and thinking.

jacin

I admired Winter for her refusal to use her Lunar gift to manipulate people. As a result of suppressing her gift, she suffers terrifying hallucinations, amplified by the sickening violence she’s forced to witness daily in her stepmother’s court. Winter was completely selfless, putting herself through something so horrifying for the sake of others, and that’s only part of what made her such a fantastic heroine.

Jacin

I was wary of Jacin to begin with, still reeling from his betrayal of Cinder and her allies at the end of Cress. However, I soon warmed to him as I realised that, despite appearances, Jacin’s loyalties lay on the right side of the rebellion.

As a royal guard, he came across as rather serious, but there was a wry sense of humour behind the stern face, and I loved his subtle teasing of Winter. It was clear that Jacin would do anything to keep Winter safe, and that made him kinda irresistible. Their romantic relationship, built upon a lifetime of close friendship, was one of the strongest in the series for me.

Levana

Obviously I despise Levana, but I am in awe of Marissa Meyer for creating such a complex villain.

Winter takes place on Luna, so we finally get to learn more about Levana’s court and country. It comes as no surprise that Levana is heading up a total dictatorship, controlling and manipulating her own people: her guards are her puppets, and the citizens of the poverty-stricken outer sectors her slaves. What is surprising is that Levana truly believes she’s doing right by the people of Luna, and has deluded herself into thinking their love for her is genuine (when of course, their devotion is simply another thing she has forced upon them!)

After reading Fairest, I felt sorry for Levana (despite all her evil-doing) because it’s clear she has never known love. She thinks using her Lunar gift to make people love her equates to the real thing, failing to realise that genuine love comes of free will alone. I can’t help finding her warped idea of love very sad indeed.

Cinder

Cinder had to step up her game in Winter, because the time for kickstarting her rebellion and overthrowing Levana (aka the most impossible of impossible tasks ever!) had finally come.

Though she lacked confidence at times, she proved herself as a worthy leader, and finally began to believe in/accept herself, refusing to hide her cyborg hand behind a glamour. Cinder, as always, was resourceful, intelligent, brave and selfless – qualities which, even more so than her royal blood, make her the rightful Queen of Luna.

The relationships between Cinder and the people she’s met throughout her journey are my favourite aspect of this series, the bonds made even stronger by the fact that most of the characters were lonely or isolated people before they found one another.

I particularly enjoyed Thorne and Cinder’s friendship: I loved their banter, and it’s so refreshing to see such a strong platonic relationship in YA.

princessterm

Thorne

Whilst we’re on the subject of Captain Thorne, hello new book crush! I loved everything about the Captain… his whole cocky-but-loveable-rogue thing; his bordering-on-romantic obsession with his ship, the Rampion; more than anything, though, I loved the fact that, deep-down, all he wanted was to be worthy of Cress, to become the hero she believed him to be. In Winter, there’s no doubt in mind that he succeeded.

Cress

Oh my sweet, adorable Cress! I loved how obvious she was about fancying the Captain, and how her eyes bugged out of her head every time he did something sexy like take off his shirt or, y’know… breathe.

What I loved most about Cress was her courage. For all her swooning, you could be forgiven for thinking of her as the damsel-in-distress type (and I think she regarded herself that way too in the beginning) but Cress totally holds her own; she doesn’t fall apart when she’s separated from Thorne and her friends, she keeps going and gets the job done, always making sure others are safe before herself. She may not be as tough as the other heroines, having had such a sheltered and lonely life, but she’s incredibly brave in her own way.

Separation, by the way, made Cress/Thorne, and all of the other romantic relationships, so exciting to read about in Winter. Marissa Meyer was constantly splitting up her romantic pairings and sending them off on separate missions, which kept the romance between couples who were already ‘together’ from growing stale. It made me long for the moments when they were back together again, and those moments were so much more charged with ALL THE FEELINGS as a result!

Scarlet

Mouthy and tough, I love the way Scarlet says exactly what she thinks, even when she’s staring death in the face: she’s a realist and her snark is too damn hilarious.

scarletfriend

She’s also fiercely loyal: everything she does is for the people she cares about. Scarlet is fighting this battle not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because she wants her Grandmother’s death to have meant something… Being such a huge part of Cinder’s grassroots revolution, Scarlet certainly achieves this and then some!

Wolf

Wolf gets the roughest deal of all in Winter, and my heart was continuously breaking for him. But, despite all of Levana’s attempts to turn Wolf into a monster, to me he remains the character with the most human instincts of all: he is driven by love and love alone. The way Wolf held on to his dream of a happily-ever-after with Scarlet, the farm, and a lifetime’s supply of tomatoes, melted my heart into a mushy puddle.

Kai

I was so worried for Kai throughout Winter, being the person most closely involved with Levana. I constantly thought he was going to meet a sticky end, and I think he did too! What I Ioved most about Kai in this novel was his constant sassing of Levana:

kaisass

Kai’s at a point where things can’t really get any worse for him… he’s about to marry an evil dictator, who plans on killing him once they’re wedded and taking over his entire planet… with nothing left to lose, he’s basically just like… **** it, might as well get sassy!

Iko

Although Iko is an android, she has bags more personality and capacity for love than some actual human beings. Iko is brilliant, and probably my favourite character in the whole series. I love the way she fancies literally everybody and thinks about people’s attractiveness (particularly her own), at the most inappropriate moments, aka when they’re all about to be killed.

Despite her hilarious vanity, Iko is just as resourceful as Cinder and basically a bit of a badass. I love how every time she gets her own mission, she’s so excited and thrilled to be doing something useful. I would read a whole novel devoted to the adventures of Iko – please make that happen, Marissa Meyer!


I’ve spent most of January marathon-reading The Lunar Chronicles, and I’m so sad my reading experience is over. I couldn’t put this series down; with every book, the action and stakes grew more epic, and the characters became more and more like friends I’d known for years. In case you couldn’t tell, Winter easily gets 5 million stars from me!

Have you read The Lunar Chronicles? Fangirling/fanboying welcome below!

 

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17 responses to “‘Winter’ by Marissa Meyer: an epic finale!

  1. Haven’t read any of the Lunar Chronicles books. But seeing everyone rave about it make me want to, even if sci-fi/fantasy/YA is usually no longer my thing.

    Will I succumb to the temptation? Will I slip into book hoarding habits once again? Stay tuned.

    • mudandstars says:

      Succumbing to temptation where books are concerned is always the answer haha 😀 I didn’t think it would be my kind of thing either when I first heard about the books, but I ended up really loving them. Maybe if you’re not 100% sure then get the first book from the library 🙂 I definitely recommend it though, so hope you do pick up the series some day!

  2. Sourin Ghosh says:

    #sci-figeek Good review, very interesting to read. Do you fancy the princess, cause we all know how you feel about scars…Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 20:50:47 +0000 To: sourin_ghosh@hotmail.co.uk

  3. Don’t worry! Stars Above is coming out in just a few days so The Lunar Chronicles isn’t entirely over yet 😀 I loved reading your review- it made me really want to reread the entire series haha

  4. haha I know- it’s hard to believe it’s over. Completely agree with you about Thorne and Cress. Also Thorne is my book crush too- loved him! 🙂 Also, I particularly liked how Levana was fleshed out in this book- is Fairest really good? Great review!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! Glad you loved Thorne too 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve had a book crush! I think it’s because I read so much YA, so usually the love interests are like 16 haha… thankfully not the case with The Lunar Chronicles! 🙂 I agree -I thought the character development was excellent, and yes I would really recommend Fairest. I never thought I would end up having so much sympathy for Levana, but there were parts of Fairest where I felt weirdly really sorry for her. I kind of lost sympathy for her as the book progressed, but it was definitely an interesting read!

      • I know right! He’s has just the right level of roguish charm 🙂 haha I know the feeling a little bit too well- and what appeals to a 16 year old often doesn’t appeal to me very much :/ Definitely! Awesome! Gosh- that’s exciting- I absolutely love things like that! can’t wait to check it out!

      • mudandstars says:

        Exactly – I do love me some roguish charm ❤ Haha yes I know exactly what you mean – one of the struggles of being an adult reader of YA! Yay, hope you enjoy Fairest if you decide to give it a go 🙂

  5. Yay! I’m so glad you loved Winter! I was surprised that I liked the Lunar Chronicles too–when I explain them to other people they sound more quirky/weird. But they really are so good. I enjoyed your review, especially how you break it up into sections about each character. I love the characters in this series! And I’m glad you said a few things about Iko–she really is awesome, android or not!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thanks so much 🙂 Haha I know exactly what you mean, in fact my boyfriend read my review of Winter, and he was like ‘that book sounds so weird’ – I think you have to read them to understand just how amazing they are. And yes Iko is amazing, my favourite character in the whole series because she just made me laugh in every single scene! 🙂

  6. […] ‘Winter’ by Marissa Meyer: an epic finale! Jan […]

  7. Annelise B. says:

    I have already read tons of reviews for this series, but I never was quite convinced. Well, you did it, Jess! I’ll try to buy the book this month ❤ You know, the first one, haha!

    • mudandstars says:

      OMG yes you need to read it!! It’s so good! I had the same issues before I picked up the first book – I just wasn’t convinced it was my kind of thing… but I loved it so much! It is one of those series with characters you will just love. Cinder starts off quite slow, but the series gets better and better with every book. So happy you are thinking of starting the series!! 😀

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