Note that this review contains major spoilers for the book and series. Read at your own risk.
This review is a bittersweet one, as it signals the end of one of my favorite and most cherished book series of all time. It was with a heavy heart that I came to the final words of Winter and realized this would be the last I would hear of the gang (even though there are some novellas out there, but it’s not the same!). I had never expected it to impact me as much as it did, which only comes to show how wonderful Meyer‘s work truly is.
The Lunar Chronicles was a journey. An adrenaline-filled, fast-paced, loving, humorous and charming tale of a clumsy cyborg who would become a Queen. Although, that’s such a small part of it it’s really unfair to summarize it as such.
I mentioned in my previous review how very easy it was to accept the new heroine in each of the books, and despite my initial scepticism, this one proved that theory right. At first, Winter is not all that outstanding. She’s a strange character, with a strange personality, and an equally strange speech. Something we hadn’t actually seen before. But then she reveals to be far more interesting than she looks.
She’s not simply crazy. She is caring and passionate and relies on an enormous inner strength to keep her going, even when everything seems to be falling apart around her. But her strength is not the same as Cinder’s or Scarlet’s. She’s not physically capable of defending herself, and her dependence on her guard and best friend Jacin can sometimes come off as overbearing and annoying. He is the only one who seems to effectively calm her visions and sooth her insanity. But her mind’s still sharp and able to form ideas that are so ingenious they are often not taken seriously.
Just like the people of Luna (and anyone who comes across her, really), we are immediately taken by Winter and her quirky personality. It’s inevitable to take a liking to her and her oddities, and we cease to question her sanity (or lack thereof), as it becomes unimportant. And even though Jacin is by the far the harshest love interest to date, we still can’t help but find them adorable.
This book really pushes the world building to a whole new other level. There is so much going on in such a short period of time, one would assume things would eventually fall apart. Some things do not make immediate sense, but are surely worked out in the end. The author’s grasp on the plot is near flawless and everything makes perfect sense. There are tiny moments where we realize the brilliance of such well constructed plot devices, of information previously laid out to be explored now, of carefully planned foreshadowing.
Everyone suffered a major character growth along with the plot.They were basically forced to adapt to unideal circumstances, but that didn’t make them bitter or revolted. They accepted their frustration and helped each other coping. When everything seemed lost and nothing made sense, they had each others’ backs and worked through the issues together.
I adored how much Winter gave focus to not only romantic relationships (as expected from previous instalments) but also friendship. Friendship was so important in this book that it actually played a major role in certain plot points. It made my heart swell every time the crew would stood up for each other and protect one another, put their friends’ lives before their own and even attempt to sacrifice themselves in order to save others or allow them to accomplish certain key goals.
It was so endearing to see how much everyone had grown close in the few months they had spent together, and willing to do anything for each other. They might not even be that social or used to having so many people counting on them, but it didn’t seem to matter because, in the end, they all put others first and kept them safe with fierce determination.
Bonus point: no love triangles!
The author made me fall in love all over again with everyone and every pairing. The romance was played casually without taking too big a part in the story, which was awesome. And every time it did come into play, it made me let out a big “aaww” at the adorableness of it all. Scarlet and Wolf, Thorne and Cress, Cinder and Kai (for once, they were too sweet for words!) and even newcomers Winter and Jacin had such a great dynamic, with swoon worthy interludes, that I really see no way how could anyone not want to group hug them.
The Snow White references were, as usual, stealthily added, with some very interesting (and downright brilliant) adaptations. Highlight to view spoiler: The evil stepmother, the huntsman, the arranged assassination, the animal swap, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, the “dwarfs”… All perfect.
There were some things that were added a bit clumsily and whose purpose remained unclear. If to serve as comic reliefs or for sheer lack of creativity, I can’t be sure. But, to be fair, they were few and too short to be relevant. And yes, most of these pertained to Iko. There were also things that were left unsaid, for instance, if Winter will get her Lunar glamour inhibitor and recover, or if Cinder will actually dissolve the monarchy and become the Commonwealth’s Empress.
There were way more action scenes and all of them were amazing. The tension, the build up, the twists, the details… So on point, every time. It takes a different mastery to write movement driven scenes, coupled with emotional take outs, and the writing in this was spectacular in regards to both.
This book was bigger and more ambitious than any of the others. It packed so much backstory, revelations and new characters that it became satisfyingly chaotic. It still maintained its structure and its fairytale (and sometimes, anime) vibe throughout, though, so there’s practically nothing to complain about.
I loved the new characters and the revamped old ones. I loved how this story had everything from action to drama to romance to mystery, and left me with such a heart-warming feeling – but sometimes, also a heart-wrenching one. The story moved forward at an amazing pace, with gripping details and plot twists that, to be fair, I hadn’t seen coming, except for one or two more obvious ones.
It was never perfect, and it was never supposed to be. It touched me, and many other readers, I’m sure, and that’s what truly matters. I laughed and cried and will probably never forget most of the passages. I really cared for all the characters and wanted nothing more than for them to be safe and happy. It caused me true, physical pain whenever something bad happened to them!
Is it my favorite of the series? I think it’s impossible for me to choose, because they all play their part and it’s very hard to assess them as stand-alones (even though that’s somewhat what I did). Each one is unique and vibrant in its own way, but perhaps this one was has the most diverse content. The others served as build up to an extremely intense closure, and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
I think it had a very fitting ending, which remains open for a continuation. And that makes me extremely happy and extremely sad at the same time. I guess now I’ll just have to figure out what to read next to fulfill my Lunar deficiency…
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Tell me your thoughts on this book or, if you haven’t read it yet, whether this review has inspired you to try it. Happy reading!