Les Petits Bonheurs #34…

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Christmas is coming…

In my family, the minute the calendars are flipped to November 1st, it’s Christmas time in our house. Holiday baking commences, Christmas albums come out of storage, and the decorating soon follows. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite time of the year, and every year I am determined to make them last as long as possible, which is why I have already begun purchasing holiday clothing (AKA the ugly Christmas sweaters) this month.

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Everything about the this winter season makes me super nostalgic and happy, and I can’t wait until it’s time to go see Christmas lights.

How about you? What are some of your family traditions?

Winter by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Winter by Marissa Meyer

“Winter” by Marissa Meyer

4 out of 5 stars.

Everyone thinks that Winter is crazy, and they might be partly right because of her refusal to use her Lunar gift to manipulate people. Despite that, though, Winter is loved by the people of Luna because of her kindness and beauty, and Levana can’t stand the fact that the Lunars respond better to their mad princess than her, their queen. With a step-mother who is constantly aiming her cruelty at Winter, the young and kind princess has no one to turn to for solace except her childhood friend, Jacin. But with her guard and friend gone for so long from Luna and no word from him, and Winter fears for his safety. Then, as if the stars smiled on her, Jacin has returned and Winter has hopes that everything can return to normal, but what the young princess doesn’t know is that nothing on Luna will ever be the same. Cinder is on her way.

Cinder worries for the safety of her friends as they plan the rescue of Scarlet and how to unseat Levana, but all of them have come so far that there is no stopping what they started and no going back to who they used to be. Everyone in Cinder’s group is up for the fight, no matter what their ends they might meet on the unforgiving planet, and the lost princess wonders if maybe her team is just enough to save Earth and Luna from Levana’s terrible reign.

Okay, so I enjoyed reading “Winter” by Marissa Meyer, and despite its huge size *cough* 827 pages *cough,* it was also a quick read. Marissa Meyer definitely has a simple and addictive writing style that made the pages fly by, even when your out of practice with reading. It was about three weeks since I’d had enough time to sit down and enjoy a fun book when I picked “Winter” up, so it was awesome to take the time to read it despite the busyness of school during that time. “Winter” was the perfect book to get me back into reading for fun and I enjoyed Marissa’s last installment in “The Lunar Chronicles” series. Alright, let’s begin this review by talking about Marissa’s newest heroine, Princess Winter.

I loved Winter as a character. I liked how differently she read than all of the other heroines of this series, and I thought that it was interesting seeing Winter “interact” with her step-mother Levana. Levana was despicable, but despite her cruelty towards her step-daughter, Winter turned out to be a compassionate and kind individual, and I loved getting to know her. I personally think that, out of all of Marissa’s female characters, Winter had the most compelling back story and present circumstance in this series, especially since Winter suffered from the Lunar sickness, and that in itself only added to Winter’s dynamic character. Cress was, and still is, my favorite female character from “The Lunar Chronicles,” but Winter is a close second. Winter was definitely a heroine I cheered for during this book, and I enjoyed all the sections of this book where she was present. Another thing that I really loved about Winter’s character was the connection she had with her best friend and guard, Jacin.

I had really liked Jacin in “Cress” and was curious about his back story while I read the third Lunar book, but I never got to see enough of who Jacin was in it to fully understand his motivations. Waiting nearly two years for “Winter” to come out was pure torture, so finally getting to really know Jacin (and Winter) ended up being exciting, and I’m happy to say that his character did not disappoint.

Jacin appeared to be a more closed off character in “Cress” and it was great to see him around Winter who was the only person to get past his armor. Everything about his job and the environment of Luna had taught Jacin to protect himself and those he loved by acting detached and uncaring. Despite how Jacin pushed everyone he loved away, Winter became his one exception, but in this book, it was evident that he was beginning to feel the need to distance himself a little bit because of Levana’s skill at using love and compassion against people. I thought that it was really interesting who Jacin “became” due the environment that he was subjected to because of how wicked and cruel Levana was, and I found the measures he took to protect those he loved to be sad but also understandable. Another thing I enjoyed about this character was that he did not necessarily side with Cinder and her revolution; Jacin obviously despised Levana and the current Lunar government for all of the torment they had put him through, the threats towards his family, and his fear that Winter would be hurt or killed, but he also didn’t just jump blindly onto the lost Princess Selene’s side just because she was the true heir of Luna. That intrigued me as well as made me like his character even more, but the cherry on top that made me love Jacin as a strong male lead was his and Winter’s relationship.

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Jacin and Winter made me smile and my heart happy. I shipped them a lot and loved the parts of this book where they were together or just working towards protecting and helping one another. They weren’t an icky lovey-dovey couple, but their relationship was still super sweet, and I loved that they had a long history as friends before their romance began in “Winter.”

Although I really enjoyed “Winter” as a book and a conclusion to a good series, I didn’t quite fall in love with it in its entirety; I adored anything and everything that involved Jacin, Winter, Cress, and Thorne, but sadly, there was not that much of them in this book, which was disappointing to me. I was sad at times while reading “Winter” because the majority of it was about Cinder and her revolution rather than Winter for which the book is titled; I expected a lot more of the girl it was named after than I actually got and that was a bit frustrating at times. Don’t get me wrong, Cinder was a good character, but both her and Kai are a little bit, I don’t know, flatlinery? They are great people, but I don’t feel like they are the most compelling characters like Winter and Jacin were, or adorable and fun like Cress and Thorne had been in this series, and the amount of Cinder overtook all of the other characters who were far more interesting and dynamic. I get that “The Lunar Chronicles” started with Cinder and was building up to this revolution, but the sheer amount of it took away from some of the fun of this series because other characters that I wanted to see more of got neglected. At times I wanted to (immaturely) stomp my foot and demand more Winter and Jacin or Cress and Thorne, and although “Winter” was a fairly fast and light read, I felt a bit disconnected because the characters that had drawn me into the story took the backseat. If a 100 pages of Cinder and her rebellion had been removed and exchanged for more Winter and Jacin or Cress and Thorne, I would have gladly thrown five stars at this book, but alas, it was not to be…Okay, since I believe that the other characters of this series deserved time in the center stage, I am only going to graze over Cinder and Kai.

Cinder and Kai were sweet, good-hearted individuals, but I haven’t ever found them to be very interesting or dynamic characters. I don’t dislike them, but I also didn’t get that feeling of cheering them on when I read their sections of “Winter,” and I just kind of kept reading so I could get to the small snippets of the characters that I did love. I do feel that Marissa Meyer did a good job of helping both Cinder and Kai to remain true to themselves while still growing as individuals, and that was nice to see as a reader. I did find it interesting, though, that Scarlet got nearly as much page time as Cinder, and I definitely did not expect that in “Winter.”

I think after hundreds of pages of barely getting any Cress or Thorne time that reading so much from Scarlet’s perspective started to irritate me towards the end of this book. I was not particularly fond of Scarlet in her own book, so I was quite happy to move onto more Thorne and lots of Cress in the third book of “The Lunar Chronicles,” but then it switched back to Scarlet and Cinder during “Winter.” This bother me a bit because, once again, I wanted the person for which the book was named to take up the most page time and to have the largest presence, yet it was Scarlet and Cinder who dominated most of this book. I’m happy for the fans who adored Cinder and Scarlet from the start of this series and that they got their epic finale, but I was a little sad that I didn’t get as much of my beloved Cress and Thorne.

Thorne…*sighs* I just loved this character so much throughout this entire series, and my only problem was that there just wasn’t enough of him in “Winter”! While reading this book, I just fell in love with Thorne all over again, and I was happy to see him grow as a person while still staying very much himself. One of the things I was sad about, though, with my time spent with Carswell Thorne was that he and Cress were apart for a long time in “Winter.” I adored the fact that he played a large role in coming up with some of the plans for Cinder and that he was being brave and courageous, but I just REALLY wanted more time with him and Cress together in this book!

I do have to appreciate that the time she and Thorne spent apart allowed Cress to really grow into herself as a character. This girl was just the cutest, sweetest character in “The Lunar Chronicles,” and she was so brave to put her life on the line repeatedly to save her friends. I loved that Cress had no powers, yet she figured out ways to help those she loved and bravely walked into the line of fire to help Cinder in her revolution. All I’ve got to say is, never underestimate the power of a fangirl who knows how to work a computer!

In the end, I enjoyed “Winter” despite the lack of Thorne and Cress and Winter and Jacin, and that the moments I did get with these characters were fabulous. I really appreciate as a fan how well Marissa Meyer tied up her story of Luna and Earth, the revolution, and how each of the characters evolved throughout this series. “Winter” by Marissa Meyer was a really sweet, well-wrapped up conclusion to an equally sweet series.