The Big Finale [Winter]: A Review

Today, I am so excited to review Winter by Marissa Meyer!!

The Lunar Chronicles has become one of my favorite series (see reviews of Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest, and Cress) and I anxiously awaited the debut of Winter last November. My sweet husband bought me the entire series for Christmas! I started Winter right away, but I read it slowly–then quickly. I felt bittersweet about reading it at all–wanting to enjoy every moment, rush to the last chapters and see how it all ends, and dreading the series being over.

I finished last week. And it has taken me several days to figure out the direction I want this review to go. There is so much I could say. So much I want to say.

If you haven’t read this book yet, be aware that there are several spoilers below.

A few initial thoughts:

  • Overall, this book did not feel like it was 800+ pages. I felt like each chapter kept me hooked, and I wanted to learn more.
  • I love how Meyer switches between the different characters and their experiences in each chapter. That definitely keeps me reading because I want to find out what happens to Cinder, but I need to learn about Scarlet and Winter first.
  • I really loved Winter the character. She was just how I imagine Snow White–kind, loving, patient, and soft spoken. Her hallucinations were so sad, but her strength to not use her glamour to control others was worthy of high praise.
  • I love that it ends with happily ever after, as all fairy tales should.

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Winter by Marissa Meyer concludes the stories of Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress while adding the story of Princess Winter. Cinder and her friends plan their rebellion on Luna. Scarlet waits to be rescued. Cress learns how to be a hero. And Winter seeks to stand up to her evil step mother–Queen Levana. All their stories collide as they band together to overthrow Levana’s evil reign and find their happily ever afters.

Some of my favorite things continued from the previous novels–the connections to original fairy tales, the incredible story telling, the different points of view, the themes of friendship and love and doing what’s right, the fantastic characters and the satisfying ending. More on all these later.

What I didn’t like also continued from the previous books–the massacres (both in Levana’s court and during the rebellion), the battle on the palace steps (specifically the gory details of the thaumaturges forcing others to do horrible things), Winter’s brutal murder or Aimery (it felt very out of character for her. At least, I didn’t like how she lost control and started losing her mind even more afterwards). And can I just say that Levana just got more evil, more controlling, and more crazy as the novel progressed?

Winter is the story of Snow White. Just a few specific story telling gems–

  • The scene with Levana’s glamour and the sour apple candies that give Winter letumosis is just so well written. And so clever!
  • Jacin is both Winter’s prince charming and the huntsman. And I love that he tricks Levana into thinking he did commit the murder.
  • The glass suspension animation tank that Winter stays in to stop the progression of the plague is just genius. It perfectly ties into the original story in the world of the Lunar Chronicles. Bravo!

I want to spend just a few minutes writing my thoughts about the fantastic characters in this novel–my favorite moments, things I learned from them, and why I grew to love them all.

Cinder and Kai start the whole series off, and we know they will get together in the end (but I wanted the wedding in this book!). I love their sweet moments on the Rampion to begin the novel. And I love how encouraging he is of Cinder at the end as a new leader. I appreciate that we get inside both of their heads during this novel. Cinder truly becomes a leader and I can’t believe how many tight situations she gets herself out of. Kai is a much more dynamic character than I expected. I appreciated his role in the different parts of the story like when he helps Cress get into the control room and his small defiance against Levana. I love that they finally are open about their feelings towards each other at the end.  They teach me the importance of having courage, becoming the leader you are meant to be, and fighting for your destiny. 

Scarlet and Wolf overcome more challenges than any other two people in this series and potentially in most other series. I love when Wolf smells Scarlet in the mining sector and their sweet reunion there. I love the way they interact with Wolf’s mother and that Scarlet doesn’t act rashly in the mining sector so Wolf knows she is safe. I appreciated the journey Scarlet goes on through the series and how she embraces her new friends and her role in the rebellion. Her relationship with Winter also makes me laugh. It breaks my heart when Levana has Wolf changed into a super-wolf-soldier. But I love that his protective instincts for Scarlet overpower any wolfish hunger. They teach me that love can conquer all and the importance of enduring any trial for those you love.

Cress and Thorne are probably my absolute favorite couple in the series. They both surprise me and change a lot through the course of the series. My heart breaks for Thorne when he realizes Cress was left behind on the docks (and I sighed with contentment in that moment when I realized HE LOVES HER!). I love the way Cress is able to survive and infiltrate the palace control system. She also experiences a beautiful journey in the series as she learns to be brave, to use her talents to help people she cares about and to find real love. I love their ridiculous outfits for the coronation. And can we just pause for a minute for that beautiful kiss in the palace?! It is perfect. They teach me that people can change, that true love brings out the best in you, and that bravery means doing what is right and helping your loved ones–no matter the consequences for yourself.

Winter and Jacin were the most surprising couple for me. I appreciated the background on their relationship with each other and Levana in Fairest. Jacin was difficult to get to know in the first part of the novel. But his faked murder of Winter (and that lovely kiss!) helped me see his true feelings. His focus on saving Winter from letumosis was so sweet and I loved that he made her bathe with her clothes on so he could stay with her. I loved his ability to calm Winter from her nightmares. Her murder of Aimery and consequent higher intensity craziness was heartbreaking. They teach me the importance of loyalty to truth and goodness, strengthening those you love, and building each other up in times of difficulty.

My absolute favorite aspect of this novel is that good triumphs over evil and everyone lives happily ever after. Those two facts make the Lunar Chronicles a new type of fairy tale.

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What did you think of Winter?
Post your review in the comments. I would love to check it out!

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13 thoughts on “The Big Finale [Winter]: A Review

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  3. Love your review! I don’t know why but for some reason it hadn’t even occurred to me that Jacin plays out the part of the huntsman from Snow White until I read your review. I loved all of the fairytale elements in Winter though, I think they were a lot more prominent than in some of the other books, and so cleverly done. Cress and Thorne are my favourite couple in the series too – it was so agonising when they kept getting separated, but so perfect when they were reunited! I’m so excited for Stars Above now!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh man. So hard to choose! I just loved Cress (She and Thorne are my favorite couple I think. But I also love Cinder and Kai a lot). And I was so happy that Winter was a great read. Sometimes finales can be disappointing. So I was so happy it was as great as the previous books! Which do you love most?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think for me it’s a tie between Winter and Cress, but Cress is probably my favourite too – I loved her character, and Cress and Thorne was definitely my favourite love story of the series. I think also what I loved about Cress was how the series suddenly became really epic – the stakes just became ten times higher, the action became ten times more exciting! I agree with you about finales – I’ve read so many series that get progressively worse and end in anticlimax – The Lunar Chronicles was the total opposite 😀

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