Review: Winter

Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) 13206900

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: 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?

Review: Don’t get me wrong –- I really liked this, and that last chapter filled me with some serious happiness, but if I am to be completely honest, then I have to say the biggest problem with Winter is … Winter.

Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress were each given their own books, in which the fairytales they correspond with can thrive with Marissa Meyer’s imagination while still playing a part in the overall plot of the series. Due to this, I feel as if I know them better, and can relate to them better since having their own book gave them the time to be the star and become fleshed out characters that I love.

Winter, unfortunately, is not given that treatment. She is introduced briefly in Cress, but it was nothing thorough. Her book is the final in the series; everything needed to come to a climax and be concluded within its pages. Yes, the fairy tale of Snow White is still there, but it never really felt as if it were needed in the overall plot, nor did it feel like it did anything to make Winter stand in the spotlight. I wanted to love Winter, but I still come away feeling as if I do not know her very well at all, aside from the obvious things such as the symptoms of her lunar sickness, her beauty, and her kindness.

That being said, this series conclusion was filled with plenty of action and romance that is sure to keep fans happy. The pacing can be a bit up and down, but I think that is due to the issues I mentioned above, and it can be forgiven once those action scenes do come around to move things along. The Lunar Chronicles has been sparking my imagination and happiness for a few years, and it is sad to think that I now have to let these characters go.

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Review: Fairest

22489107Title: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #0.1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Review: Oh the enlightenment!

Fairest, in a summation, is an extra-long novella about the life of the Lunar princess, Levana, who grows on to become Queen and the villain of The Lunar Chronicles series. This is a character-study, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I had expected this story to make me sympathetic towards Levana — and there were moments when I truly felt awful for her — yet to my happiness it also did not shy away from the cruelty of her character. A childhood of pain, loneliness, and a tragic picture of self-worth and image go on to create the delusions and the determination that do not allow her to experience the love and happiness she claims to crave. I feel as if I understand her better now, and all of her actions in the series have been grounded to make sense.

In addition, this story includes the childhoods of Selene and Winter, adding more complexity to the dynamics amongst the three Lunars that will certainly come to a climax in the final book of the series. I recommend reading this book after Cress because of the spoilers it includes for the previous books as well as the completion of the picture. Lunar politics and motivations are explained to make the overall plot of the entire series take root — such as the letumosis disease, beast armies, shells, and marriage contracts arranged by force.

So let us try to look on the bright side: Only ten months until Winter is released (and the end of the book also includes a sneak peak at the first three chapters of the series conclusion)!

Review: Cress

ImageTitle: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Provided Synopsis: In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review: Without the skip of a beat, Cress begins right where the story left off in Scarlet. Our band of fugitives has increased by two, and now that the wedding between Emperor Kaito and Queen Levana is on the horizon, they know that something must be done to protect Earth from certain destruction. If the Queen of the Lunar Kingdom is crowned empress then there will be no limit to her power; she will dispose of her young husband and rule with the tyranny she is accustomed to. Therefore, in order to learn more about Levana’s plan, Cinder decides to instigate contact with a Lunar citizen with a skill for hacking; Cress had contacted Cinder in the past with information pertinent to Kai’s safety, and Cinder trusts her to help them again.

Because this entire series is a re-telling of classic fairy tales with a science-fiction plot, it is worth nothing that Cress represents the character of Rapunzel. She has been isolated in a satellite, which serves as her tower. Her location had previously been known only by a member of Queen Levana’s entourage, who used her to hack into computer systems on Earth for political surveillance, and for the mysterious collection of Cress’ blood. Rather than follow the lighter version of the story, Marissa Meyer provides her own futuristic twist on the darker version complete with a fall from orbit, an odyssey across the Sahara Desert, and blindness. I liked Cress a great deal, but I, unfortunately, never connected to the relationship between her and Captain Thorne. The Captain is such a dynamic character, yet he often felt tempered in this installment due to his close proximity to Cress and her inability to challenge him or match his fiery quips.

As book three of a quartet, Cress really did feel like it was the middle book of the series, compared to Cinder and Scarlet, which set-up the field and the true players among the characters of The Lunar Chronicles. This book seemed to serve as a way to allow characters to grow more and realize the results of their actions — because every thing that is done comes at a cost when on the cusp of an inter-galactic war. Fans of the series will be pleased, for this story continues to include all of the wonderful components of before: there is humor, there is romance, and the point-of-views from all the previously loved characters are still there. Now that the conclusion is ready to unravel, I really am looking forward to reading Winter next year