My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What a fun and fulfilling conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles! As I’ve mentioned before these books are like reading anime; they are fun, exciting, mostly fast paced. It’s pretty obvious that Marissa’s love of writing Sailor Moon fan fiction has helped her quite a bit in writing these Lunar Chronicles novels.
Winter: Lunar Chronicles Book 4 by Marissa Meyer
This is the exciting conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles. It weaves the stories of Cinder, Emperor Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorn, Iko, the Lunar Princess Winter, Winter’s trusted personal guard Sir Jacin Clay, and Queen Levana. This turns into a monumental task to weave so many main characters together, but Marissa Meyer pulls it off quite eloquently — I can understand why it took two years to publish this book. Not only are there certain expectations from Marissa’s fans, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into bringing so many characters together satisfactorily in one novel and keep the reader’s interest in all aspects of the storyline.
Though we are introduced to Winter briefly in Cress: Lunar Chronicles Book 3, we don’t get much of her character until now. Of course we get her sweetness and everyone’s enamored attitude toward her, but that’s about it. So as a result, the whole first few chapters surround Winter, showing the reader how much she suffers by not using her lunar gift and giving the reader insights on what role she may play in the grand scheme of the fight against Queen Levana. The interesting thing about Winter’s story is that I didn’t find her to follow a traditional story flow. Though she is an idealist and refuses to use her gift because of how it always has unexpected consequences even if you intend to do good, Winter is greatly challenged during the climax of the novel and pays a high price to stick to her ideals.
The part of Winter’s story that I found a little strange was the exicution of the relationship between Winter and Jacin. The concept was good, but it was a little ruined for me because of the fact that I read Fairest (Queen Levana’s story). Too much of the dialogue that occured between Winter and Jacin sounded way too much like that between Levana and Everitt, the biggest difference being that Jacin’s feeling were amenable and Everitt’s was not. It was just too awkward to get two versions of the princess and guard scenario which weren’t really all that far apart. One of the biggest issues I had was that Winter’s lines weren’t all that different from Levana’s it’s just that the reader knows that Winter is good and Levana is not and that’s what sets them apart. I just didn’t think that was enough and it didn’t work for me so well.
Cinder and her companions are now on the attack, planing to usurp Queen Levana and save Earth and Luna from her tyranny. Cinder’s character development is slight at this point, since she’s the one who’s been carried through out the series. It’s nice to see her act more comfortably about her cyborgness and it’s also great to see her overcome her reliance on her cyborg parts; it was a nice twist that I wanted to see and was very happy with how it played out. The other aspect of Cinder’s story that I liked was that she turned into the character that was willing to do what needs to be done to defeat evil, even if that means embracing her own darkness to do it – no fluffy Disney ending here, which I thought was awesome!
Emperor Kai’s Story
I was happy to see Kai play a much bigger role in this book. Even though he’s been in all the books he’s pretty much been in the back seat during most of them with the notable exception of book one. It was nice to see his inclusion and know his actions were imperative to the destruction of Queen Levana. Of everyone in the story Emperor Kai had the most to loose from his involvement. Not only was he Queen Levana’s gateway to Earth, he felt responsible for helping all the people suffering from letumosis, and worst of all he had his own life and free-will to protect (which proves to be very difficult since he’s an Earthen). Even though Marissa highlights the fact that Kai’s still a teen, and more like a regular teen than a royal one, Kai grows a lot and proves himself matured and a proper statesman.
Scarlet & Wolf’s Story
I enjoyed Scarlet a little more in this novel than in the previous two. In my opinion, she’s still the character that has changed the least of all the characters in the book. It was good that Scarlet was taken by Levana and set up to be rescued by Cinder and her friends. It made her situation a little more interesting and set up a way to build another relationship with Winter.
Wolf was a little more interesting than in the last book. It was sad to see him suffer even more at the hands of the lunar queen, but it made his character even more sympothetic; and when he overcame the conditioning that the queen forced upon him, it made me root or him more.
Cress & Thorn’s Story
Cress and Thorn’s relationship turned into the more typical romance of the novel. Girl realizes she’s still in love with ladies’ man and tries to deny herself. Ladies’ man realizes that girl means more to him that any other girl ever has and struggles to make his feelings known. It’s cute and surprisingly natural. Though the conversation between Kai and Thorn sounded more like a girl conversation than a boy conversation, but I’m willing to let that slide for story’s sake.
One of the perks of Marissa Meyer’s writing style is how casual and fun it is. Though the intention is meant to be deep third person POV, the overall snarky tone blankets everyone’s POV. If you’re looking for more literary writing – uh yeah, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for light, fun, and sarcastic then this is the style for you. There’s a lot of head hopping (POV shifts between the various characters), but is always easy to follow. It’s always interesting for me to see a rule broken within popular novels because it proves that not all rules need to be followed as long as you know how to break them in an effective way that isn’t distracting.
The other aspect of Winter: Lunar Chronicles Book 4 that I enjoyed was how each character’s stories were wrapped up. There are references of various characters from earlier books that were either revisited or mirrored under a more developed situation. It was fun to catch the reference of Prince Kai’s first meeting with Cinder, Wolf’s love of tomatoes from the Benoit farm, Cinder’s old “good luck” foot and other such memorable references.
I thoroughly enjoyed Winter: Lunar Chronicles Book 4. And even though everyone “lived happily ever after” I’d still be interested in some post Winter stories involving how the lives of each of the characters change. If you are looking for something fun and not so complicated to think about this is a fantastic series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.