It feels like forever….I haven’t been writing reviews because I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books, and then I fell into a reading slump of despair around Christmas! It was terrible – 4 days off, nothing planned but to read and I had no desire to! Well, I have finally finished Winter, the final book in the Lunar Chronicles!
5 out of 5 glowing moon-shaped stars!
I have really enjoyed the series- and here we are at the finale! I do not know if it was the slump or what, but it was really hard to get into the book for the first 100-150 pages. But I was slumping pretty hard. Cinder was slumping right along with me – holding back on going to Luna and putting her crazy plan to overthrow Levana and claim her throne into action. In case you don’t remember, she and the crew (Cress, Wolf, Thorne and Iko) kidnapped Prince Kai to keep him from being forced to marry Levana and crown her Empress of the Commonwealth. They’re in orbit on the Rampion, and Levana has unleashed her wolf soldiers on the Earth. They are randomly attacking, not trying to gain territory, just killing for the joy of it. The whole time, poor Wolf is nearly comatose from worry for Scarlet, and we see Winter on Luna, slowly becoming more and more unstable! She refuses to use her Lunar gift, and that drives a Lunar insane. Jacin has returned and is put in charge of her security. This is an effort to keep Winter under control and stop her from “shaming” Levana with her antics (you know – having a heart and being kind to people. Or mentioning the bleeding walls.) We get glimpses of how the Lunar society works. The only thing we’ve really heard about is court, and this time we see how the people on the outskirts, the ones who supply all the luxury to the capital, live in squalor.
Now, when I think of the moon, I see the lifeless grey rock ingrained into every human’s mind from images we’ve seen our whole lives. I really wish that we had a better description of what Luna looks like in this universe – because it’s hard to imagine a city there, or a forest. They live under domes, but you have no real feel for what things look like. What does the menagerie look like? I thought it was a small indoor area near Winter’s chambers, but it’s like a zoo. I just didn’t get a feel for it. This is where Scarlet is being held as Winter’s ‘pet’. The Lunars are truly horrible. I mean, we knew that from how Scarlet was treated in the last book. But now we see the sycophantic court around Levana.
Cinder is finally goaded into getting the plan started, and it involves putting Kai right back into Levana’s clutches. He pretends to “free” himself from his “kidnappers” (ok, to be fair, he was legit kidnapped by Cinder, but he came around to her way of thinking and had no problem being there.) He wants Levana to stop the attacks and go back to their agreement before the marriage was interrupted. But this time, he needs to have the wedding on Luna, so Cinder can sneak onto the planet with the crew. As they always say, no tactical plan survives first contact with the enemy, and soon after getting on the planet, their carefully devised plan is shattered and the crew is scattered.
And what a plan. They gotta get in and mess with the security system, find a way to rile up the populace to start a revolution and find and free Scarlet. Hopefully, they can find a way to keep Levana from killing or suspecting Kai or taking the other Earthen rulers hostage. What they aren’t expecting is Winter’s involvement. She’s such a great character and a lot of what she says comes out of left field. She’s eccentric as a result of her lunar sickness (not using her mental gift) but she’s also really observant. It’s just that when she makes suggestions or comments on things, it sounds like she’s spouting gibberish. Her relationship with Scarlet is so funny. Winter greets Scarlet with “Hello friend,” and Scarlet says “Hello Crazy.” There is also some elements of Snow White that are woven into the story, and they just make you sit up and clap for their inclusion.
I loved the development of the relationships. It was a lot to juggle, what with the logistics of 8 boys and girls spread across the planet and all the feels. I was sad Scarlet and Wolf were not together much, but then again, they were the least angsty. Winter and Jacin were one of the best – what with Jacin having to look out for Winter and protect his own ass from Levana’s head thaumaturge, who has it out for him. There are some incredible moments for Cress and Thorne, too. Cress was pretty heartbroken because she thinks Thorne feels nothing for her. She constantly compares herself to others, and sees him enchanting other women. Then, there is a moment where Thorne runs up against some Lunar women that enchant him…. and what happens is one of the most feels-inducing moments in the whole series.
There were a few times when our characters were magically saved by part of the crew showing up out of nowhere. I think you can forgive that once a book… but it happened a few times, without much explanation of how they got there so miraculously. However – this book has a very large plot, it’s like a heist and an adventure book in one, very plot heavy, and because most of it was so well done I forgive the deus ex machina, because at least it was the characters doing the miraculous saving, rather than the universe or some random coincidence. So not really a God in the machine but characters in the right place at the right time.
The ending was amazing – but I disagree with people who say it ties up neatly in a bow. There is a conclusion. It is enjoyable. But not everything is going to be wine and roses. The moon has a lot of serious problems, politically and socially, and the earth still has letumosis to deal with.
This is an amazing wrap up to a series, and the series overall just gets better and better. I can’t wait for the bindup of novellas (which now is becoming a thing, but whatever.) Highly recommended!