Publish date- 2015
Publisher- Macmillan Audio.
*Please note that this review contains spoilers for previous books in the series!*
(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.
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.