Winter is the final installment of The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. If you haven't read the other books (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress), then you should probably do that first!
First, a brief summary:
"Once upon a time, in the future...The Lunar Chronicles are futuristic retellings of classic fairy tales. In Cinder, a teenage cyborg (half human, half machine) must deal with a wicked stepmother, start a rebellion against the evil Queen Levana, and decide how she feels about a handsome prince. As the series continues, Cinder forges alliances with Scarlet, a spaceship pilot who is determined to solve the mystery of a missing loved one -- with the help of a magnetic street fighter named Wolf; Cress, a computer hacker who is imprisoned by Queen Levana; and Winter, a princess who's in love with a commoner, and who discovers that Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress may hold the key to saving her kingdom -- and the world."
Each book in the series adds a new fairytale layer into the previous story. (Just imagine a big heaping pot of fairytale gumbo and you are on the right track.) Cinder begins as a futuristic retelling of “Cinderella”, Scarlet adds in a dash of “Little Red Riding Hood”, Cress throws in “Rapunzel”, and Winter finishes with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. So, by the end of the series, there is an entire cast of fairytale characters trying to find their happily ever afters.
There were so many times when reading that a new character was introduced and I caught myself thinking, “No, not another one. I don’t care about this character. I want to know more about [insert character here].” However, not long after, I’d be completely enthralled in the new character’s storyline and couldn’t imagine the story without them. That is part of the genius of these books. They are retellings of stories you have known forever, but they are so fresh and interesting that you find yourself on the edge of your seat when Prince Kai picks up Cinder’s cyborg foot from the palace stairs and when Winter takes the candy apple tart from the old lady in the woods.
Also, the female characters in this series are not the feeble damsels in distress we know and tolerate. No, they are tech-savvy computer hackers, fearless leaders, and willing to sacrifice themselves for their friends and the greater good. Rarely in this series does a man swoop in to save one of the ladies. In fact, on some occasions, the male characters are hindrances to the plan, if not downright useless. Now, I’m not saying the male characters aren’t important or dynamic, because they are, but the women really shine.
If I had to have one complaint, it would be that there can occasionally be a general lack of tension. However, I think that kind of goes along with the fairytale territory. If there is one thing everyone knows about fairytales, it’s that the good guys live “happily ever after.” So, there were times when a main character would be in a seemingly inescapable trap, surrounded by the enemy, and I’d think, “They’ll be fine. It would be way too sad if they died, and THAT would not be happily ever after.” That being said, though, I was on the edge of my seat for the last 700 pages of Winter. The main characters were split up, imprisoned, poisoned, stabbed, shot, nearly drowned, brainwashed, experimented on, and much more. It was insanity!!
Overall, this series delivered in a very real way. All I can say is that I’d highly recommend it to most people. Especially those who love fairytales, Disney movies, or the tv show Once Upon a Time!