Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Posted July 27, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Winter by Marissa Meyer
Genres: Steampunk
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 10, 2015
Pages: 824
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Heartless

Fourth (and sort of last) in young adult The Lunar Chronicles steampunk series revolving around the cyborg mechanic, Cinders. The focus in Winter is on the Princess Winter.

In 2015, Winter was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.

My Take

It’s a steampunk fairytale loosely using the framework of Snow White with elements of Brave New World, and Levana certainly has the evil queen part down pat. That she forced her stepdaughter to scar herself to mar her beauty so the queen’s glamoured beauty would continue to be the “fairest in the land” only reinforces it, and is a motif that repeats in every one of the queen’s actions.

Living on Luna is like living in the heyday of Communist Russia where no one dared say a word against the queen, when people were taken for any reason whatsoever, and most hated and feared her. Levana is so incredibly cruel and psychotic that it can’t help but rouse your anger and make you eager to finish the story, hoping to read of her end. We do get to find out what Levana has been hiding under her glamour all these years, and we finally learn the reason for her unreasoning hatred. Talk about a dysfunctional family! A “family” that extends to the disgusting Lunar “nobility” who behave like spoiled, nasty children.

Unfortunately, Lunars must use their magic or they go nuts. It does explain why Winter is the way she is. Thank god for Jacin caring for her! But somehow Levana sees herself as Winter’s “loving” mother — god preserve us (and Winter). As bad as Winter’s life has been so far, it only gets much worse.

Princess-wise, I gotta say I am really confused about how Winter is a princess. She’s her father’s daughter and the queen’s stepdaughter, so…? Adding to the confusion was Levana’s comment about “our daughter”. Then there’s the comment about Selene being her cousin. Step-cousin, maybe.

I don’t understand the whole cyborg prejudice. Every cyborg started out as a human who was so badly injured that they needed radical surgery. How does this make them less than human?

Then there’s poor Kai. Levana is so desperate to be empress, and it’s the only card Kai has. His repugnance for his future bride provides a lot of rolling-on-the-floor laughter, even as I pitied that poor kid.

The only thing I really hated about Winter was that this is the last of the series. I want more *she says grinning*

The Story

Admired for her grace and kindness, the Lunar people adore the Princess Winter and consider her beautiful despite her hideous scars. Even more beautiful than the queen. A compliment that has drawn her stepmother’s ire ever since her father died.

Levana is Winter’s role model of what not to be, and she has been undermining her stepmother for years, even as she refuses to use her own psychic abilities. But the brutality has come to a head, for Jacin is threatened, and Winter joins with Cinder and her allies to launch a revolution.

The Characters

The crazy Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn is Levana’s stepdaughter and has been in love with Jacin since their shared childhood. The now-dead Sir Evret Hale, a guard, had been her father. Sir Jacin Clay had been her protector and guard until he was ordered to Mistress Mira’s side, the last of his dreams dying. Sir Garrison Clay is his father and a guard. Ryu is the wolf in the menagerie. Master Gertman is Winter’s tutor and a third-tier thaumaturge.

Luna is…
…the moon, and not our moon. No, it’s a colony of humans who evolved with tremendous psychic powers and are now their own country with Queen Levana as the psychotic bitch ruler. Thaumaturge Aimery Park is her new head mage, replacing the now-dead *yay!!* Sybil Mira (Cress, 3.). More thaumaturges include Tavaler, Lindwurm, Pereira, Holt, and Bement. Jerrico Solis is her captain of the guard. Sir Liam Kinney is one of the guard.

Queen Channary, Selene’s mother, was assassinated by Levana, her sister, years ago. Their parents, King Marrok and Queen Jannali, were assassinated eighteen years ago.

Astrid is a young girl in Artemisia, the capital of Luna. Dorsey and Dylan are her brothers. Dr. Evans makes use of the blue fever. “Sinus” is the queen’s moronic computer tech.

Scarlet Benoit (Scarlet, 2) is held prisoner by the queen (Cress). Michelle Benoit had been her grandmother until events in Scarlet. Her grandfather had been Lunar. Émilie Monfort is Scarlet’s friend and a waitress at Gilles‘ bar; she is overseeing the Benoit farm in Rieux, France.

Wolf, Lunar Special Operative Number 962, a.k.a., Ze-ev Kelsey, is the wolf soldier who seduced Scarlet (Scarlet). Maha Kelsey is Wolf’s mother; his father died. Ran is the nasty younger brother-turned-wolf. Alpha Strom is the leader of the mutated wolves on Luna. Other alphas include Perry and Xu.

The Rampion is…
…the American Republic ship Captain Carswell Thorne stole when he deserted, and which he and Linh Cinder (a renegade cyborg mechanic and the Princess Selene — the real Lunar queen) used to escape. Iko is Cinder’s friend from her childhood and an android who has been transferred into a new body.

Cress, the daughter Dr. Erland thought had died, is a Lunar with incredible technical abilities who escaped her prison in Cress and fell in love with Thorne. Dr. Erland, a.k.a., Dr. Sage Darnel, was masquerading as an Earthen, trying to find a cure for the plague.

New Beijing is…
…the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth ruled by Emperor Kai. Nainsi is his android assistant. Konn Torin is Kai’s chief advisor. Deshal Huy is the chair of national security.

Linh Pearl is Cinder’s stepsister, and ever since Cinder was revealed as a cyborg, Pearl’s life has been a misery. *snicker* Lindh Adri is Cinder’s bitch of a stepmother. Peony is the daughter who died in Cinder, 1. Garan had been Adri’s husband who died. Their neighbors — Mei-Xing and Karim-jiĕ — call them traitors.

Dr. Nandez is one of Earth’s best cybernetic surgeons. Camilla is queen of the U.K. Prime Minister Bromstad is the European prime minister; President Vargas leads the American Republic; and, Governor-General Williams is the leader in Australia.

Shells are Lunars, citizens of Luna, without psychic ability. Letumosis is a biological weapon developed on Luna and spread unknowingly by Lunar escapees. Earthens have called it the plague for it kills. Regolith dust is a by-product of mining and sounds a lot like asbestos.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a radial gradient of deep, deep blue into a pale, pale lavender-white. At the center is a glistening red apple with purple metallic leaf and stem held up by a beautifully manicured hand. The title and series information is in an embossed Gothic silver while the author’s name is in white and small in every sense at the bottom.

The title is the focus character, Winter.

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3 responses to “Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

  1. So glad you loved this series too! I’m thinking the prejudice for cyborgs is maybe because they are now less than human to others? People will always find something to look down their noses at, it seems. A way to make themselves feel superior.

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