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Winter (#4 of The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Princess Winter, stepdaughter of the ruthless Lunar Queen Levana, is as beautiful as she is crazy. Well-beloved for her kindness and revered for her breathtaking beauty, she is loathed by her stepmother, pitied by the court, and wholly devoted to her loyal guard and childhood friend, Jacin Clay. Seen by most as delusional, her strength is hidden beneath her striking scars . . . until the chance to join a revolution against the queen turns her into something powerful—a weapon to turn the tide. 

Cyborg fugitive Linh Cinder plans to launch war against Levana with the help of her new friends and the downtrodden citizens of Luna. But revolution is messy, no plan is flawless, and Levana has power far beyond her reckoning. Suddenly, this war is more than just a fight for freedom. It’s a fight for each other, for friendship, for survival, and a fight for a desperate chance at happily ever after. 

The final book in The Lunar Chronicles series, Winter promised an epic conclusion and absolutely delivered. With an ensemble cast, thrilling conflict, malevolent villain, and too many plotlines to count, it was nonstop intrigue from the first page to the final, epic climax. Though it boasts some eight-hundred-plus pages, it flew by in a blink—once immersed in this intricate web, it’s almost impossible to escape. 

The book is a high-action, unpredictable sci-fi fantasy that will leave you breathless. The ensemble cast made for constant shifts between perspectives, keeping each plotline relatively fresh, though there were times when some subplots seemed to get in the way. Meyer’s worldbuilding flourished on Luna, painting a vivid civilization oppressed beneath a murderous queen, and while Winter shares the spotlight with many other characters, Meyer captures her unique character with minimal page-time.

Winter doesn’t share Cinder’s cynicsm or Scarlet’s fire, and has no trouble speaking her thoughts where Cress would be tongue-tied in timidity. But I love her as a character—in fact, enough to be a favourite—because her hidden strength is just as powerful as the others’ more obvious talents. She makes promises and holds to them even when they threaten her sanity; she is willing to sacrifice herself for those she loves; she preserves a sense of morality that other characters lack; she is valiant, and brilliant, and hilarious, and strange, and this book would be lacking without her. 

Content Notes: Being a war, there is violence, some of which is fairly vivid. The Lunar court has promiscuis tendencies, though Meyer goes no further than allusion. A few uses of “d*mn” and “h*ll” are scattered throughout the story, but kept at a minimum. A male couple is remarked on in one scene. No sexual content to speak of.

Overall, this book satisfied my every expectation as the grand finale of this stunning series. Its theme of friendship was heart-warming, its romance clean, and it doesn't matter how many times I read it—I fall in love every time!

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