SOME SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
My most anticipated release of 2015, easy. I was going into this book with the highest of expectations and I was not disappointed. Winter is 825 pages that will keep you invested until the final word. I thank Marissa for this epic series and getting me back into YA SciFi/Fantasy almost two years ago and for delivering one of the best series finales I have ever read.
I loved the friendships in this book. It was nice seeing some unlikely friendships like Wolf and Kai throughout this final book. It helped make this group seem like more than just a rebellious army, but more like a group of friends coming together to fight a common enemy.
I love the relationship between Winter and Scarlet. Last we left Scarlet, she was a prisoner on Luna put on display for the Lunars to gawk at, almost like at a zoo. But, Winter tries to help Scarlet anyway she can and as the book goes on, that kindness extends to everyone in the Rampion crew. I loved Winter as a character and how incredibly strong she was even though she is labeled as crazy. Winter has willpower and morals to be envied, she refuses to use her Lunar glamor because she doesn’t want to manipulate people. Along with her kindness and willingness to help others, no matter who – or what- they are, makes her a new favorite.
The romantic relationships in this installment were just as sweet as ever. While I didn’t love Cress and Thorne in Cress, I found myself really loving them here! The whole scene where they stage as Lunars for the ball and Thorne gets kissed and is about to tell Cress he loves her, I just can’t. And that just intensified when he told Cinder to tell Cress “[he] meant it”, so cute. I loved seeing Wolf and Scarlet all awkward together again and the dialogue between them was just perfection. Cinder and Kai were like the power couple on the road to success and that we got to see them act like true leaders was a nice touch. I really like that they did not end up physically together at the end, I think Marissa’s writing style and storytelling is a bit more mature than that. She didn’t break them up or give them problems at all- which I loved- she gave them a “see you later”. Also, when Kai asked her about how she felt about being an empress…I was just brought back to the Cinder scene when he was trying to get her to go to the ball with him. Really great formatting(:. Jacin and Winter were also really great here, I liked seeing Jacin’s willingness to do whatever it took to keep Winter alive and well and seeing how much he was willing to sacrifice for her. He was one of the few Lunars to understand Winter and love her for who she truly was and their scenes were really great.
Levana. I have to. She was just too crazy. Levana is a great villain because she is truly batshit insane. I read Fairest at the beginning of the year and saw how honestly despicable she really is, but she went above and beyond in Winter. She was so desperate to become the overall ruler of well, everything, that she ordered executions and bombings and tighter controls that backfired on her, leading to her own death. I felt that Cinder was kind of like Katniss here as she had to be the one to kill the true villain of the story and it was so sweet when she did.
One of the other things that I loved was the setting of Luna. We have never spent so much time on the moon kingdom before this book so it was really interesting to see how it is set up and how it was different from the settings we’ve seen in the previous books. I also loved seeing Wolf’s mother and how she and the other town people still had hope for a brighter tomorrow even under Levana’s rule. I also loved it when the people who deserved to die or be imprisoned were (no spoilers here! (: ). And of course, Iko was just fabulous as always.
I could not be more happy with this ending and I can not wait for Marissa’s Alice in Wonderland retelling in Heartless! (And the novella bind-up, Stars Above)!