Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Audiobook Length: 23 hours 30 minutes
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?
Winter is the epic conclusion in the Lunar Chronicles series. Not only do all the previous main characters need to have their stories wrapped up, but Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn, who was introduced briefly in Cress and was further explored in Fairest, as a new main character has her story incorporated. This novel is very long compared to how it all began with Cinder. Scarlet, Cinder, Cress, Levanna, and now Winter all have their own stories along with the overarching plot, which is a huge task for Meyer. While not perfect, I think Meyer did a fantastic job. Each character was given some attention in this novel while also keeping attention on the main plot.
Winter is Queen Levana’s stepdaughter. The story of how the two of them became related is explained in more detail in Fairest but is also hinted at in this novel. Winter has spent her entire life in Artemisia Palace with her childhood friend and guard, Jacin Clay. She struggles with her mental health and even hallucinates along with powers that she does not fully understand. Jacin provides a fantastic support system for Winter as they clearly cared a lot about each other. The two characters balanced each other well and I loved their connection. While they are not my top couple, just because I enjoy Kai and Cinder a little more, I still loved both of them and their bond was amazing.
Linh Cinder, who is really Princess Selene, is trying to overthrow Levanna and to restore everything back to normal. She has a huge task as she not only has Levanna and her team, but she also has Emperor Kaito (Kai), who is weaved together with Levanna and Cinder needs to reunite with him. Kai played a huge role in the first novel and was slightly more in the background in the other novels, so it was nice to see him step up and take center stage again. He has a lot to balance with his love of Cinder plus his role to protect his kingdom. I loved how Cinder and Kai each played their role to ensure that everything would be restored while also pining for each other.
As for Cress Darnel and Carswell Thorne, I loved the further development of their relationship. As Cress loved Thorne before they even met, Thorne does question how he can live up to the idea Cress had of him and worries that she may not love the real him. Cress goes through amazing growth in this novel as she comes out of her shell to help those that she cares about. Her determination and getting out of her comfort zone did seem natural as her core personality does not change as she does these actions for the sake of helping others rather than changing because it is “better” in any way. I did appreciate this from Meyer as Cress remained Cress and her entire slightly timid personality stayed and was not changed just to give her character growth.
Wolf (Ze’ev Kesley) and Scarlet Benoit experienced their own obstacles in this story after multiple events of separation between them. Scarlet does a great job of supporting Cinder, even if they aren’t together, as she works to use her strengths to assist on Luna. Although her character was not my favorite in this novel, I liked her dynamic with Wolf and with the rest of the characters. Wolf goes through some great character growth in this story, and I loved experiencing his journey.
There are tons of other characters, such as Iko, that were all well incorporated into the story, so it says a lot that this novel made me want to go on and on about all of them. Since I don’t want this review to be endless, I decided to focus on the main eight. As for Levanna, it was nice to how everything would go for her in this novel. After experiencing some of her backstory in Fairest, it was interesting to read her in a new light while still wanting her to be defeated.
Meyer did a great job weaving together all the smaller stories and the larger plot. There are moments in this novel, and throughout the series, where I felt some of it could have been cut and other places where I wanted pieces expanded; however, it was still a memorable series. It was clear that Meyer had a plan for each character, and I liked that the stories read naturally, and it did not feel like the characters or plot did something that did not fit what was initially introduced. Overall, I loved this series and would gladly read it again. I am thrilled for the eventual release of the animated series and cannot wait to watch it!