Sunday, June 26, 2016

Winter by Marissa Meyer... (audiobook review)

Publish date- 2015
Publisher- Macmillan Audio.
Lunar Chronicles #4. See my reviews for CinderScarlet and Cress.

*Please note that this review contains spoilers for previous books in the series!*


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
I just wrote "everything ends. Everything" for my synopsis for Why is this night different and that applies here. So. Everything concludes. It's time for all of it to come full circle.



What I thought:
Winter was a nice end to the Lunar Chronicles. It was long, but the effect was lessened when it was discs you were switching out rather than continuous chapters (I believe there were close on/over 100 chapters, which *was* admittedly terrifying to comprehend). There was a lot of story to be told, and I heard all of it.

I find this slightly amazing, after my slight failure to enjoy Cinder and Scarlet, books full (sans Thorn) of characters I found highly unlikable/irritating, plots that rarely surprised me and romances I... helfeltd nothing for.
Cress changed how I felt about the series as a whole, although not how I felt about the first two books specifically, and I knew things could again regress with Winter. They didn't, and I didn't really think they would have, but still it wasn't amazing. This series, unfortunate as it is to say, never ended up being quite what I had expected of it when I set out. I enjoyed it and disliked it- and was never all consumed, which is such a pity.

One of the things I appreciate and simultaneously struggle with in this series, and especially so in Winter, is the detail. We now have 10 characters whose perspectives we see whose paths we've got to follow, characters who all have their own hopes, dreams, plans, and it's a lot to keep up with. We need to see all of them grow and change, and, at least for the titular characters, we need their stories to pan out in the fairytale way in which they began. And I really felt as if some of those elements were shoved in just to keep following that fairytale path, and it sometimes felt unnecessary or didn't even work with the story.

I can't say that I was particularly surprised by how things panned out, here. Cinder organises a rebellion, of sorts, and the people join her at a remarkably quick rate, and we spend much time in the preparations- only to spend almost no time at all in the actual uprising, 2 or 3 chapters at the very most. It was expected- was almost easy- to see how it would fit together in the end. And I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it more if I had been surprised, if it hadn't been quite so easy to plot out the ending myself.

A quick note, now, on narration: I wasn't the biggest fan of the series narrator in Cinder and I struggled with her accents at times, but by the end, here in Winter, I elieve she did a lovely job. I can't imagine anyone else. I don't know why Scarlet spoke with an Irish accent for that one line, but overall I was satisfied. She does a brilliant Iko, and her Wolf was... not my favourite, but everyone was distinct (apart from Jacin and Kai who *were* distinct in the reading, but not so much in written personality/traits).

There are so many characters, now, so I'll bio all of them because they must be discussed. And also to make this the LONGEST REVIEW EVER.

Cinder and I never got on well. She has tended towards be selfish and I don't remember her getting called out on it, although I did like that, as she grew, she became a little bit selfless, too. A note, though: She's not a very good mechanic for the best mechanic in New Bejing (what if you'd broken Kai's android, Cinder? WHAT THEN?) and this never made sense to me. We spend a whole book with her as the primary guide and we see a handful of chapters where she's working- and most of the other times, the storyline darts to someone else. Which has left me discontent.

Kai is ehh to me, and always has been. He and Cinder have sweet moments, true, but he only kisses her when he realises she's royal too, which is not okay, Kai. It's actually kinda awful. In many ways. And no one ever realised it.

Scarlet has annoyed me even more than Cinder, but I think about 50% of that was because of Wolf. Here she spends a lot of time with Winter, and while the whole thing with her calling Winter crazy, blatantly ignoring her, and speaking of her as if she's not standing right there is written off as an endearing facet of their relationship (even by Winter)- which it was very much not- she was also there for Winter. Mostly. A bit. When it suited her. She showed that she *could* be supportive of someone other than Wolf.

Wolf moons after Scarlet so much, although I did actually grow to like him a little. Not much, because he irritates me a whole lot, but a little.

Iko makes up half of my favourite trio. She is a bit whiney and self-focused, but beneath that her top priority is Cinder and that plays out so very sweetly in this series. I adore Iko. The sweetie.

Levana is interesting, but she could be more interesting, more complex and more convincing as the cold hearted queen. And I realise that the only reason I think she's even interesting is because I listened to Fairest and it built up her backstory- if not for that, I wouldn't care. I wasn't convinced by her character arc at all.

Cress, my favourite, is the character I most liked getting to when each of her POV chapters came around. Especially when it was her and Thorn. She is quite focused on being in love with him and that gets a little thin- her character is not the guy she likes- and she has an outburst that was... odd and really poorly timed, all things considered, and made me frown at her. I was disappointed in, too, when she went in the direction of well that person you kissed was a guy so *pointed looks to you* because no, Cress, no. It doesn't come into it.

Thorn could have been so much better, so much truer, and he takes so long to get to that point. But he is also an utter adorable lovable sweetie who I love, and because we get to see his side of things in the POV chapters it makes it easier to forgive him. He was still stupid, but at least we were given a reason why.

Winter is surprising and so detailed, a character so much deeper than maybe any of the others, and I really loved getting to know her, getting to see how not using the Lunar gift affected her. She hallucinates, can hardly see the world through the blood and hurt and death that has cut up her mind, and she is so incredibly strong throughout. Everyone underestimates her, thinks of her as weak and crazy (looking at you, Scarlet, quite pointedly) but only a part of her is fragile and she is well aware of it. And it was so wonderful to see her hold her own, prove she was more than her mind.

Janice is a little controlling, a little possessive, quite irritating and, for someone who cares about Winter so, he doesn't see her at all. Boo, Jacin. Boo. You and I didn't get along.

Rating: A middling OOoh, very good.
It wasn't quite a whirlwind, and it wasn't quite unexpected, but it was a journey and a journey I enjoyed the latter half of. I'm not sure I'd ever do it again, but I did it and I met some wonderful characters for that, which is kinda wonderful.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, man. I double-teamed this with audio and my hardback copy. There was just no way it was going to be read within an imaginable timeline if I didn't. Lol. Love, love this series.

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    1. You did?! I've never read and listened at the same time, but I think it would be a pretty intense experience! You'd have to keep up with the reader and *gasps* I don't think I could manage it.

      Did you find the ending satisfactory?
      xx

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  2. I loved this book. It was MASSIVE but I enjoyed how everything wrapped up. I have Stars Above on my TBR waiting for me

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    1. I've never actually seen a physical copy before, so I'm yet to be stunned by the side! *laughs* But it seems huge. The audiobook was huge!

      I'm glad you enjoyed how everything panned out, Bec! I think a couple things could have been different and I'd have enjoyed it more, because it just felt a little predictable? But at the same time I *did* enjoy it. Which was nice! Oh, I hope you enjoy that one! xx

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  3. EURGH. You know all my feelings - or lack thereof, really - for this series. I just can't see myself finishing it, because I already feel like I know it will be a happily ever after with a defeat of the evil queen, and all the straight couples ending up together (can I rage about how straight and cis this series is? CAN I).

    I'm glad that you were able to generally enjoy this, though, especially since you love Cress and Thorne so much.

    When (or if, but likely when) I decide that I am really never going to finish this series, you will have to do for me what I did for you in terms of Ruin and Rising. I have a feeling it would be nice and entertaining :D WITH VOICES

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    1. I do, I do. And you know that the books get bigger and bigger after Scarlet? So it's even more of an investment if you're not 100% into it. But yeah. I mean, I enjoyed the last two books, mostly, but they still had issues, no matter how great some of the characters were, and I was always wishing I would be surprised. And I never *really* was, which was frustrating. It was good, well written, welld developed, but not very surprising.
      You totally can.

      I don't think I'd have liked it nearly so much without Thorn, Cress and Iko. But their scenes, sans Iko (mostly) were very dramaaaaa in this one, which was a bit disappointing. I liked it when it was just Cress and Thorn and *cries*

      I WILL TOTALLY DO THAT. I'd already considered it, tbh. But yes. I would do that for you. 109%.
      xx

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  4. Cress really made me love this series, and I did love Winter too. I can understand your view points though, there are a lot of characters, and I was often impatient to get to certain ones over the others (definitely Cress and Thorne for the win LOL). It all did wrap up nicely for everyone though, and I was very happy with the way it all ended. And happy that I finished the series! :)

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    1. Ah, same with me. Cress made me care about this series, and after having less than wonderful experiences with the first two books that was definitely something I needed/enjoyed.

      Yes! There are just so many characters to keep track of, and it was frustrating (and always is, in dual POV) to go out of an intense scene to Cinder talking with Kai or something, when all I wanted was to know what was happening to Winter or Cress. But I guess it made me care? Although I definitely actively cared for Cress and Thorn more than Cinder and Scarlet.

      It was an unexpectedly long haul, in a way! And it's nice to be finished with the series. I'm glad you're happy with how it all ended! xx

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  5. I'm going to be reading this finale in the coming month and I am really looking forward to it. I have really loved the first couple of books and actually, Cress was the one I liked the least so I don't know how much I will like this one. I'm looking forward to having the whole story come together and wrap up though!

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    1. Oh, that'll be interesting for sure, to see whether you dislike Winter after disliking Cress- or whether it's a good ending to the series for you. You really liked Fairest, didn't you? Maybe you and I are polar on this series! *laughs* I do feel like the story came together well, here, and the feeling of achievement on finishing a series is so wonderful, so I'm really hoping you end up feeling satisfied with the outcome here. xx

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Have a beautiful day.x