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BOOK REVIEW:

Winter.

Call Number: 
YA
In Cinder, Marissa Meyer took readers to an Earth set several hundred years in the future to tell a version of Cinderella, with overtones of Anastasia, where the titular character is not only a cyborg, but may also be a long dead princess. Skillfully blending fairy tales with science fiction Meyer retold the classic story with flair and contemporary sensibilities.  In the subsequent books in The Lunar Chronicles series, Meyer added other fairy tale characters: Red Riding Hood and her Wolf; Rapunzel; and an evil, megalomaniacal queen with Scarlet, Cress and Fairest. Now readers can embark upon the final installment in the series with Winter.
 
Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn is almost the exact opposite of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Kind, thoughtful, with no interest in politics or power, she is loved by her people, who are terrified of Levana.  In addition she is also breathtakingly beautiful. There are some who have thought, but never dare to say that Winter is more beautiful than the Queen. Winter’s beauty is real, not the result of a Lunar glamour. The Queen who is envious, and terrified that her own glamoured looks will be overshadowed by Winter’s natural beauty, compelled Winter to cut three long scars on her cheek stretching from her eye to her chin. Ironically, these scars do not mar Winter’s beauty, but seem to enhance it.
 
Winter also appears to be going mad as a direct result of her refusal to use her Lunar “gifts” to project false images of herself or control others. While she is truly suffering from hallucinations and delusions, Winter also has learned to use this condition to her advantage, such as requesting that Jacin Clay, her childhood friend and a member of the Royal Guard, be assigned to keep her “under control.” Or Winter asks Queen Levana if she can keep Scarlet Benoit, the Earthen captured during the disruption of the royal wedding ceremony in New Beijing, as her new pet. Winter knows that this will not only protect Scarlet from being tortured further, or killed, but it allows them to have regular contact. Also Scarlet was working with Linh Cinder, the cyborg claiming to be the dead Princess Selene, rightful heir to the Lunar crown, and one of Winter’s only friends. Is it possible that Linh Cinder is Winter’s cousin? She’s believed Linh Cinder was dead for the last thirteen years, as has everyone else. And if her claims are true, is there any way Winter can help her reclaim the throne from Queen Levana, and end the reign of tyranny?
 
With a stage set over the four previous books in The Lunar Chronicles series (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Fairest) Marissa Meyer has taken on the formidable challenge of not only retelling one more classic fairytale, Snow White, in the far flung future but of also wrapping up the myriad storylines and character arcs established in the previous novels.To state that Meyer succeeds is truly an understatement. 
 

Winter places the title character center stage. While she has been labeled, and dismissed, as “crazy,” Meyer shows a young woman suffering from a form of mental illness, but who is also intelligent, cunning, with an indomitable spirit, and strong willl.She is repeatedly able to use other’s preconceptions to her own advantage, and becomes an integral aspect of Selene’s coming revolution.

All of the other characters are here as well, and Meyer makes sure that each one is given the chance to shine as the complicated plot unfolds and resolves. While most of the earlier books used Earth as their setting, Winter occurs almost entirely on Luna, giving readers a glimpse of life within the royal court, and the extent of Levana’s cruelties and instabilities.
 
Winter is a marvelous addition to the Lunar Chronicles series and a very satisfying conclusion. This is a marvelous series and will interest those readers who appreciate fairy tale retellings, space opera, or both.  It is recommended that this series be read in order.

 

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