Winter by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Retelling, Young Adult, Sci-Fi
“Yeah, but broken isn’t the same as unfixable”
I finally finished Winter last night and I’m still sort of trying to figure out my emotions about this book.
*Please only read if you have read Cress because I talk about the events in that book and if you do not like spoilers then do not read this review until you have*
I didn’t mean to finish it last night, but I hit the PONR (Point of No Return – I think I’m going to start using that again) and next thing I knew I was on page 700 and there was no stopping because the end was so near. Finals week is approaching fast here and so finishing a book in the middle of the week and going through those emotions wasn’t really on the list of things to do. But I really needed to escape the crazy things going on in my life right now so I had to read.
To start off, I just want to tell every author that has ever or any author that will write a series to take notes. Meyer did make this book 800 pages and every page counted. It was how you end a series. It was how you build the series, books getting longer with each installment. Meyer did not disappoint.
Meyer did, though, put me through one hell of an emotional rollercoaster.
The one problem that I had with Winter was that there are about 8-9 POVs that the book circulates through so that can get hectic at times especially when you really want to figure something out but it cuts to another point of view. Other than that, that was really my only issue with the book.
In Winter, we really, truly get to meet Winter. What we find a little about in Cress is that she is crazy. Like Lunar-sickness crazy. Winter refuses to use her glamour so in the hiatus of her gift, she loses her sanity. But not all the way. Winter is always mumbling about different things, but she isn’t so insane that she needs to be locked away. Her favorite thing to mumble about is the walls. The bleeding walls. How soon the blood on the walls will be visible. Despite her craziness, she is incredibly sweet and dearly beloved by Luna’s citizens. She is aware of how much Levana hates her, but she acts (and almost doesn’t) like she doesn’t care. She seems to understand that she’s going to die, if not by Levana’s hand, but from the sickness that is eating her up. She goes on often, too, about how she is broken. Broken seems to be almost a theme in this book, and possibly series. All of the characters are broken in some way, minor or otherwise. Cinder is broken because how secluded Adri forced her childhood to be. Scarlet is broken because how her mother left, her father was a drunk and coward, and how she lived with grandmother and then lost her. Wolf is broken because of his circumstances. He’s a bio-engineered special operative wolf-man! Cress is broken because she was also highly secluded in a small satellite for most of her life. The list can go on with all of the characters. They are all broken in their own way but they band together, form friendships, and practically a family, to take down Levana. And pretty much save the world if they succeed. But then Iko says something to Cinder in the book that is kind of what helps spurs them on to complete their task and give them new fire. Iko says (and it’s quoted at the top), “Yeah, but broken isn’t the same as unfixable.” And I really like that because they start to say it to each other after that and it just gives them some hope.
Winter was a darling who was completely gentle and lovable by all the people, and animals, she met. Even though she was a little crazy, a little scared, and always rambled on about her hallucinations, she didn’t back down. She did what she could to fight for the rebellion. Even when it wasn’t in her best interest to be in the middle of it all. I really enjoyed getting to know Winter and I was a little sad that we didn’t get to see as much. (Again due to the revolving door of 8-9 POVs that we needed to see).
Winter’s other half, Jacin, is someone we already met in Cress. But when we met him in Cress we didn’t like him very much at all. He betrayed Cinder and her rag-tag team of friends when they were getting Kai out of the wedding. But in this book we know why he did it. He did it to protect his princess, Winter. yada yada. No, Jacin was actually a pretty cool guy. He was very overprotective and put up many many walls around himself. Only Winter could try and break them down. Jacin ends up helping a lot in this book so that makes up for what he did.
This book is full of little moments that make me want to squeal and hug the book (which half of the time I did). There’s an adorable bromance scene with Thorne and Kai and it just makes me happy. I also saw this post on Tumblr earlier that said something about how Meyer has a thing going with girls get stuff done and guys talk about the relationships (As soon as I relocate that post I will give it credit). Which I agree. All female characters are badass in this series. Unlike so many other YA novels, the girls may have some fight in them but they also sort of step back and let the guys fight for them. Not Cinder. Not Scarlet. Not Cress. And not Winter. Even Iko steps forward and fights. Even sometimes the girls are saving the guys. It’s a nice change of pace because it shows that females can fight and will fight for their own causes. And Cinder is the toughest cyborg I know. And god bless her cyborg parts.
As mentioned in my review for Cress, it was full of action and I semi-predicted that Winter would be the same. It was. There wasn’t always fight scenes, but they weren’t just sitting around doing nothing, either. When they were sitting around, they were figuring out what to do next. What was their game plan? How were they going to react to the circumstances that had just happened?
There was just so much that happened in this book and it was an adrenaline rush all the way to the end. I literally was reading a book at a time I couldn’t put it down (The book itself is split into 4-5 different sections like the first three were). I know I complained earlier about having so many POVs to read and having to keep up with that many, but it came in handy as well. I feel I should make it clear, I don’t hate that there were that many because I loved Kai and Thorne and Iko and Cinder’s and everyones POV, but sometimes one would be on hold while we figured out what was going on with the rest of them. *Possible, maybe not so much spoiler alert* During the battle scene at the end of the book, it was just like having a movie playing in my head as each chapter during the heat of it was switching between characters. It was like when you’re watching an action movie and the camera is cutting to different actors in their respective fights. Meyer did an excellent job at hooking me and forgetting that I was really laying in my dorm room. I was only ripped out of the Lunar world when my roommate opened the door and that was my first clue to the reality I was sitting in.
The character development in this series, not even in just the book, has been amazing. Most of the character development is for Cinder, but when I was reading her POV, I was able to see how far she had come. When we first meet her in book one, she is a cyborg who bends to every will and cowers (though she would love to fight back) from Adri. She doesn’t think of herself as anything special, she just knows she is a good mechanic but also doesn’t think she really belongs in society because of her cyborg attributes. Once she finds out who she is, she almost starts over but she is trying to figure out what and who she really is. She also went from crying and almost melting down at every death that happened in her wake to not as much (though the deaths still affected her it wasn’t to the degree of panic and regret and sorrow she felt in Scarlet). We saw her grow into this woman who would stand up to Levana and was prepared to fight for her right to the throne. We saw her really come to terms to this in Cress so it was nice to see her take action and really be so badass as she is. She went from hiding her cyborg hand and being ashamed of her attributes to embracing them. She even admits that it felt like putting gloves on them felt like a lie instead of what used to be her protecting comfort zone. It was nice to see her become this person who she was the entire series and really embrace all of her abilities. Because, and I’ll repeat it again, Cinder is the toughest cyborg I know. Another character who we get to see develop is Cress. I think hers is more immediate and noticeable than Cinder’s. Cinder’s is gradual and happens over the span of four books but we only see Cress for two. While she still isn’t caught up to being around people a lot and sort of “normal” life, she is a step away from where she was in Cress. She is this very awkward, socially-awkward girl who has essentially grown up on a satellite. She went from panicking like every few minutes walking through the desert with Thorne to really being in control and making sacrifices for the good of the group. Cress still held onto her notions of always pretending that she was an actress walking down the red carpet or she was an adventurer that was crossing the desert. Which helped her cope with stuff, but it wasn’t as often as it was in Cress. Which was cool to see her become a little more “normal” even though these qualities, her innocence, was her charm. That she never lost, though. Even Thorne changed for the better. I could write a book on the men in this series, but I won’t. Thorne went from lying and stealing and all of that to someone who wanted to work his way past it all. It was nice to see these characters become, well, heroes.
Winter was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I have loved this series dearly and I am sad to say goodbye to the characters, though it’s not a full goodbye. Meyer is putting out a book full of novellas in February with an official epilogue for Winter!! But for the next couple of months I have to put my favorite ships away and move on. I’ll miss these characters so much and, though it pains me, I can start another series because now I have room in my TBR pile.
P.s. It took forever to find a quote that I liked. I almost just put down like 800 quotes from my favorite ships, but I don’t think that would have been very productive.