Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Review: Winter

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Puffin! 

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

It's over guys. It's really over! I can't believe it, I fell completely in love with this series! It's been a bit of a whirlwind journey for me, reading all the books in one go in order to review the final book, and I found myself procrastinating from reading in order to make the books go on longer, and spend more time in the world! I'm not usually one for sci-fi books but after all the hype surrounding these books I got curious, and I can now fully understand why everyone loves these books so much! They completely blew me away. They're complete perfection and each book gets better and better until you hit Winter, the 800 page Game of Thrones level book. Not gonna lie, it was intimidating. It's such a huge book, and it's the FINAL book and I kept not reading to make the incredibly huge book last longer. Which makes soooo much sense I know! 

Cress ended so completely perfectly, and so I dived in to this eagerly and it didn't disappoint. Winter, while intimidatingly long compared to the other books, wraps up the series perfectly. Everything is tied up, everyone gets their happy ending. Although there is some room in that for you to imagine for yourself exactly how things wrap up with the characters and how they get to their happy ending! 

I was so intrigued by Winter when we met her at the end of Cress, I wasn't sure if she was going to be an enemy or not or if she really was "crazy" or what she was going to do with Scarlet, so I was excited to meet her in Winter. She was so fantastically different, I loved the take on her seeing as she's a retelling of Snow White. It was such a wonderful take, having her actually refusing to use her gift and how it affected her and the ties to Snow White through it. Her POV was just fantastic as well, it was so interesting getting in to her characters head, and I loved how she wanted to help Selene just because they where childhood friends and ya know...Levana is pure evil, but still! 

Jacin was tricky for me, because like, in Cress I knew he didn't know who Cinder really was but he betrayed all of them and I know WHY he did it, but still! I really didn't like him when we left Cress. When I started Winter I wasn't entirely sure I'd ever actually like him, especially when he threw Cinder and some information right under the bus to get back in with Levana, knowing who Cinder was that time! He and Winter where cute, not going to lie, and I did find myself warming to him through Winter and how he was with her, but other times I still wanted to smack him one! Meeting two new characters was fun, and I love how even though it was the last book, we'd been building up to meeting Winter and we still got a well created, multi dimensional character. Introducing characters in to the last book, I was kinda worried that they wouldn't be as well created as the others, but they where every bit as fantastically brought to life as the others, and you got a real feel for the both of them, and the two of them together! 

Each of the books continue on smoothly from each other, and the transition from Cress to Winter was flawless! Winter resumes on Luna after some time has passed since the end of Cress, and we get a much better glimpse at Luna and how it works politically and what it's like on Luna, as we spend a lot of time on Luna. The world building for the books has been so vivid and well done, and Luna was no exception in this book, you can easily picture what it would look like, what the people would look like. The writing is so fantastic and it creates the world around you, allowing you to form pictures of the world/settings and the characters as you read, and you end up falling in to the world of the book. The characters while being while created, where also ethnically diverse which was brilliant to see, and there was the perfect blend of seriousness and humour thanks mostly to Thorne and Cinder! All of the books, not just Winter have you laughing one minute and kind of heartbroken the next as events play out. 

The history of the world in the books, and of Luna was fascinating and I still kinda wanna know more about it all! The world building was already pretty extensive, but with the addition of Luna and new details being added about the world it just gets better and better. 

We've seen the characters grow and develop over the course of the books and this is no exception as you see Cress really come in to her own, trying to be brave and courageous, and Cinder dealing with all the responsibility she has and Thorne trying to be a hero for example. I also feel like we got to know Kai a bit better through this book, he was present in the other books, but not much and in this book we see him a bit more! The characters are just so well created, and brought to life off the page. Each one has their own distinctive voice and has a different personality that has lots of different elements to it. They're complex characters, even the newer characters of Winter and Jacin who we only just started to get to know. They're just such vibrant characters that really stand out and stick in your memory. The different distinctive voices of the characters really come in to play with the POV changes, making sure you know exactly which character is narrating. The switches between POV's are flawless and perfectly timed to move the story on and the different threads of it. Although sometimes stuff is happening, and the POV changes and you're like NOOOOOOO GO BACK GO BACK! 

It also has to be said that the supporting characters are just as lively and colourful as the main characters, and they're also complex, and there's a lot to them. Liam for example, I really wanted to see more of him! Torin is another example, he was a constant presence in the book and I thought he was one thing, and then I'd see him in a different light as he was with Kai. 

There are so many ships to be shipped guys, it's kind of insane. The romances are each perfectly pitched and are so freaking cute! Each girl has kind of their perfect match, I mean for Thorne my brain was so seeing Flynn Rider as well as ya know...a bit of Captain Jack Sparrow and he really brought Cress out of herself and helped her become the person she is at the end of the book by being supportive and watching out for her. I'm not going to lie Thorne is my favourite character, he made me chuckle so many times and I just loved him from the start, like don't get me wrong, I love Cinder and Kai and all the others but Thorne is the one I was like "yup. bae" so his romance with Cress was also my favourite because while Thorne was good for her, she was also good for him because of her Thorne was trying to be more heroic at the end. It was all the cutest and the best to watch develop as they where with each other the whole time whereas all the others ended up separated for so long. 

I loved the bits at the beginning with our little band of misfits on the ship, I'd have loved to have seen more of it to be honest, although poor Wolf! But Cinder and Kai where finally reunited and clearing the air and everything, and Kai was all out of his element which was kind of adorable. I love them together I do, it's totally cute, especially with the foot! Wold and Scarlet are also adorable, and his dealing with their separation made me feel for him so badly! 

The books have built up to this book and the moments in this book so perfectly with the pace picking up and more and more happening and more threads added. Winter was so perfectly paced despite being like 800 pages. There's so much action and so many plot twists and it's so hard to put the book down once you pick it up, but you find yourself trying to make the book last longer! It was kinda hard to pick it back up because I knew the onslaught of feels that where going to come! There's never a dull moment, it's not filled with waffle, every single page continues the story perfectly with the pacing spot on. It's all relevant information to the plot, nothings rushed and nothing drags. It's perfectly crafted, not going to lie. 

When you hit a certain point, things pick up even more and kick up to another level, and you're having actual reactions to the book even more, gasping and talking and shouting at the book and so on! The momentum leading up to the end had you turning pages frantically, you could feel the tension and the suspense like it was a physical thing. It was heart stopping, and had me on the edge of my seat and there was genuine shouting happening! 

I completely and utterly love the takes on the fairytales and the elements that have been included and in some cases twisted to fit the world of the book, it's so original and so brilliantly and I kinda fangirl a bit whenever an element or thing from the fairytale in question pops up. Some of them actually even have elements from two fairytales I swear! 

Another thing I love is that the world of the book is genuinely terrifying. I think it's one of the elements that brings the book to life and along with the world building pulls you into the book as the world rises up around you. Just the idea of the Luna people and their mind control and never knowing if you're being messed with...if you really think about it...it's terrifying. Like Levana is clearly straight up crazy, but you can still understand her to an extent and why she's doing what she's doing, especially if you read Fairest before Winter, and I would feel sorry for her but...she's completely evil and again...genuinely terrifying. That's why she's such a great villain for the book though! 

It's been such a great journey, and so original and so much fun. The Lunar Chronicles is a fantastic and unique blend of Sci-Fi and fairytales with characters you really come to love and care for. I would so love to see them all together again on the Rampion! Each new book has added something else to the story or the world and brought so much more to the table, culminating in Winter. 

Winter is the perfect finale. It's size is intimidating but once you get lost in the world you forget about how many pages there are and zoom through it. There's serious moments, heartbreaking moments, horrifying moments, but there's heartwarming moments and humour and cute romantic moments as well as suspense and edge of the seat moments. This book has everything you love in a book and a series. Terrifying villain, fantastical world, rich history, action, adventure, humour, fantastic characters, romance and more. 

I think things ended so well and fans will be happy with how it all panned out, but ya know....sad to leave the world and the characters you've come to love so much, behind. I know that's exactly how I feel now it's all over, like the last page is all "and they all lived happily ever after" and I was like sitting there staring at it with a stupid smile on my face reflecting on the journey through the books. I'm so excited for the novella bind up coming and to get to visit the world again one more time, if not the characters! 

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