Winter by Marissa Meyer
A few weeks ago, I read Cinder. It was a strange yet very enjoyable tale that mixed a real unique scifi story with some fairy tale elements. It was fun, so I sought out the sequels. But little did I know over the course of the series, it would become a globe trotting / intergalactic tale following a Firefly like misfit crew trying to take down a crazy Moon Queen. Now hooked and on the edge of my seat, I am ready to read the final novel to see how it all ends. So here is my review of the final book in the Lunar Chronicles, Winter by Marissa Meyer.
So what is it about? The Earth and Moon Kingdom are at war. The crazy Moon Queen is determined to rule everything and has sent her bioengineered wolf like super solders to slaughter Earthens until the planet surrenders to her. Earth is at it mercy but remains stubborn. Since being at peace so long, they were ill equipped for any war with very little weapons at their disposal. Cinder and her rag tag crew of fugitives, outlaws, and Luna defectors have kidnapped the emperor of the Common Wealth (Asia) and together they plan how to overthrow the Queen and save Earth by doing so. Emperor Kai eagerly agrees, wanting to get rid of the queen as well. Also he loves Cinder and feels her crew of misfits may be the only way to end this war. The plan is for him to accept the Moon Queen's hand in marriage allowing her to gain power over the Common Wealth to put the war on pause and he’ll smuggle their crew onto the moon, allowing them to start a revolution and overthrow the Queen during the wedding.
And everyone has a unique skills to apply to this grand plan. Cinder is a long lost princess entitled to the throne. Kai is to keep Queen Levana distracted. Scarlett and Thorne are both very good with guns. Cress is immune to the Luna mind control and is an expert hacker. Wolf is a defected hybrid super soldier who is super strong. And Iko is an android who is also immune to the Lunar mind control. They all become crucial in this adventure and along the way they gain aid of a defected royal guard and a mentally ill yet harmless and complete sweetheart princess Winter.
So the good and bad? Let’s start with the good. This story was real exciting. It is the sort of war and revolution to an epic conclusion that this story deserved. And most astonishing thing done here is that every character has exciting and engaging story arcs that are meaningful. There are nine main character and none of them are sidelines in the overall story. Even the often sidelined Scarlet gets to shine here. It’s an amazing balancing act that the author pulled off. And they all are so likable. The whole cast is so darn lovable, that it’s hard to not enjoy their adventures, even during the slow moments. Also the imagination here is wonderful. It’s a revolution of poor moon people, Earthens, bioengineered super solders, and defectors against a crazy Moon Queen who can control minds. And some of the cast as immune to the mind control as others aren’t adding a bigger dilemma to all that is happening. It’s a great mix of action, science fiction, and espionage. The whole thing and all the stakes just escalates until the very end and it’s quite exciting. Also this does not fall victim to YA tropes despite the fact it belongs to that genre.
The bad? Like always, I feel these books could use more detail. It has just enough to get by, but I always wished those worlds were painted more for the readers to picture in their head as they read. Also despite the fact that this is a fantastic space adventure, it is still technically a YA novel. But it does not fall to the annoying tropes one would expect. The author cleverly couples much of the cast up and there is no “Who’s going to fall in love with who” nonsense that drives readers crazy became with happy couples that issue is completely erased. But many readers may still be annoyed about the cutesy flirtations and sweet moments between the coupled characters when some readers rather see the next shoot out than an adorable scene here there. This does have the only real annoying scene in the entire series in this book though. While under cover Cress and Thorne have a tiff at the worst of time, when they should be hacking into the royal security system. But it was the only YA trope that popped up in the entire series that made me roll my eyes. Then there is the ending. The ending I think is great. With the cast so big, everyone gets what seems to be a perfect ending, except for Cinder. Cinder is left mostly alone to to rule a kingdom on a planet she knows nothing about. It felt empty, and a bit sad. After a life of loneliness she found a family in her crew and then they must all part ways after the adventure. (Since this is inspired by fairy tales, I don't think Cinder becoming queen is a surprise to anyone. So I don't consider this a spoiler.) And part of me was like, where is the epilogue? Where is Cinder's happy ending? After I finished the book I learned that there is an epilogue where Cinder has an official happily ever after ending published as a short in short story collection sold separately. And the fact that the reader has to seek this out and get the final piece of this story, is disappointing. Every reader who loves these books, is going to desperately want know what becomes of Cinder after all this. The fact that I did not know if she would get to be happy with Kai was so frustrating! So it seems wrong to charge readers for these final few pages that could have easily been included in this book. It feels like this author was disrespecting her fans by charging them for the final ending, despite the fact they already bought the book.
Overall, in my eyes this is a masterpiece. I love Firefly and Cowboy Bebop. This genre of smugglers and thieves going on adventures in the far flung future is something that is just great. And this series has that same flare of fun, adventure and the same sort of lovable crew proving it belongs to that genre. I loved every moment of this book and thoroughly loved this series. Despite the minor complaint with epilogue I still consider it a masterpiece. It is such a great incredibly fun wild scifi epic that should not be overlooked. It’s a must read. Even if you don’t like YA, read it anyways. This is an incredible one that should not be missed regardless of how old you are.
Overall Rating: An Amazing Conclusion to a Fantastical Scifi Epic.
5 Smoothies out of Five
Have You Read This Book?
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 05, 2021: