Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winter | Marissa Meyer

96/100

It's two days into my winter break and I just finished reading Winter (see what I did there) and again I remembered the feeling of just falling back into a book, the feeling of becoming invested and even attached to the characters and actually caring about what happens to them. If you haven't picked up the Lunar Chronicles or heard of them I highly recommend you do. It's essentially a fairytale-retelling in a science-fiction dystopian world, definitely something worth checking out. There will be some spoilers ahead, since this is the fourth and final book, so if you haven't read the books, read them and come back. In the meantime I'll link my reviews to the three other books in the series.

Cinder
Scarlet
Cress
Fairest

+5 Cover Design

All of the covers have been styles of classic fairytales and this one just continues the trend. I really like the trend of revamping the main focus of classic fairytales into this science-fictiony theme, so I give this cover a 5/5. 

+5 Writing Style

The writing style was fantastic, just as all the other books have been. It was so easy to start reading and begin to lose myself in the world of Luna. 

+5 Plot Development

Since Winter was the finale book to the series, it was crucial that it include everything that happens.  Usually one of two things happen: the first being that the author simply shortens the book without including any of these details (*cough* Blood of Olympus *cough*) or they decide to divide it into two books because "everything won't fit" (*cough* UnDivided *cough*). But Marissa Meyer wrote and published 800 pages of beautiful conclusion, and it worked. 

I thought the plot itself was developed perfectly. There were a perfect amount of twists and turns for it to be believable and still work out, and early on in the book we were on the edge of our seat towards the build up of the conclusion. 

+4 Character Relations

If there was anything I had a problem with, it was character relations, mostly because I really didn't enjoy the sets of couples we had. Multiple couples working together to overthrow the dictator just sounds unrealistic, I mean, there's got to be at least one single person in the group. It just seems too convenient that every couple ends with a 'happily ever after'. 

While Wolf and Scarlet are my least favorite couple, my biggest issue was with Cress and Thorne. There was one scene in particular when they're sneaking into the coronation and Thorne ends up kissing some random Lunar, which makes Cress go ballistic. Now if this were real life, Cress would admit she likes him and he would slowly break it to her that he's not interested in the same way, creating awkward tension between them for the rest of the book. But of course, books don't reflect the disappointment of reality so instead he passionately kisses and admits that he loves her too. Classic. 

While I didn't have any major, specific issues with Wolf and Scarlet or Winter and Jacin, something about them just irked me. Their bond was too forced. Wolf and Jacin were both too dominating males, risking everything for their partner. It kept getting in the way of the logical approach of the revolution. 

The only couple I had respect for was Kai and Cinder. For a majority of the book they weren't together, but when they were apart they wouldn't mindlessly worry about one another. Sure, it was in the back of their minds but they knew they had a responsibility to their people first. Kai understands that Cinder is a strong, independent woman (though I guess the same can't be said about the rest of the female characters) and is able to let her go without too much of a fight. I respect the fact that they don't necessarily need to be around each other, they just want to be around each other. 

+5 Character Development

So we could talk about the character development of Cinder finally becoming a queen, but we all know how that turns out. I want to take a moment to talk about Levana. We saw a bit of her side in Fairest and a bit more of her perspective in Winter. 

I think Levana is one of the best villains I've read in a while. There's something so interesting about her character since she truly believes she's in the right. I think it's so easy to take Levana as the bad side and Cinder as the good, but I was able to really see where Levana was coming from. She was raised in an environment where killing and torturing were accepted, even encouraged as methods of rule. So it's no surprise that her rule mimics this. 

Her hate for Winter also mimics this. She's been raised to know beauty and manipulation, but Winter's world only consists of beauty, one of the reasons the public likes her so much. Levana does feel some amount of jealousy for Winter, but I genuinely think she doesn't understand why people like her so much. She doesn't understand the concept of not controlling someone, because the idea of letting someone have control of their emotions means that they can easily turn against her, something that has happened so often in the past. 

Most villains in other books have understood their evil position, and the fact that Levana doesn't understand she's on the "bad" side is an interesting perspective, especially when you attempt to get to the root of her problems. 

+4 Likability of Protagonist

Cinder is fantastic and I love her, but since the book is named after Winter I'm going to consider her as the protagonist. I understand she had the Lunar sickness, but she lacked some crucial common sense throughout the book. One example is the initial spread of the mutated letumosis. She runs off because she thinks she's seen Jacin and some old woman intercepts her and tells her that Jacin left her a piece of candy to proclaim his love for her. Winter, you've known Jacin since you guys were toddlers, does this sound like something he would do? But of course, she doesn't take notice of the inconsistencies and brings about yet another subplot of the letumosis. 

+5 Necessity of Minor Characters

I really don't think I even need to touch on this, but everyone was crucial to the plot. Each character had his/her skill set that contributed to the plot. The only character that seemed mildly unnecessary was Winter, she didn't really do much except coax the wolf soldiers to their side.

+5 Setting Description

Like I mentioned before, it was so easy to get lost within the pages and that was partly due to how well the scene was set out. The visual imagery of Luna and the castle, especially when Cinder was looking up at the palace from the lake was stunning and so easy to picture.

+5 Interesting Storyline

Of course the storyline was interesting, otherwise there's no way I would have gotten through an 800 page book in two days.

+3  Predictability

There wasn't some big reveal or any element of surprise really. We knew that Levana would be overthrown and Cinder would step in her place. We knew all the couples would get together and stay together. All we were reading for was how it happened, and in this case that was satisfying enough.

+50 Finished


Final Total: 96/100 ; A

Overall this was such a great book to get me back into reading. It's been less than 24 hours since I've finished the book and yet the feeling of book depression still hangs over me. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend, and if you have read it, let me know in the comments below what you thought!