December 28, 2015

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), by Marissa Meyer
Publish Date:
November 10, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: young adult fantasy/sci-fi romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

ALL THE STARS. This book gets all the stars. I don't even think I can tell you how much I loved it in this review. What I can tell you is that Winter was the perfect ending to this sweeping epic tale of love and loss and friendships that will last forever. 

It's impossible to recap everything that happened in this 827-page book. Where things left off at the end of Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) was with Cinder and all her friends trying to piece together a plan to get to Luna and reclaim the throne for Selene, effectively putting an end to Levana's tyranny. 

With the first three books in this series taking place on Earth, it was so awesome to finally shift the story to Luna. Marissa Meyer paints the moon with a bright and colorful brush. They way she describes the different sectors and how they're organized into industries and how their domes protect them from the atmosphere - it was wondrous and intriguing and so perfectly described. 

Except for a few chapters that were set on Thorne's Rampian spaceship, the entire story is set on Luna. But, from nearly the beginning, the group is split up into different groups, both by choice and by accident. They each have different roles to play in their revolution as they try and rally the beaten down Lunars to their cause. 

Of course, things do not go smoothly. For any of them. There was a part of the book, about 40% in, where it seemed like nothing was going right for anyone, and I had absolutely no idea how any of them would make it out of their various predicaments alive. To quote Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, "It's the hard that makes it great." The way all the characters dig deep inside themselves to find those unique characteristics to pull them through their trials was so awesome. 

Winter was big on emotion. There was a TON of it - of all sorts. I laughed a lot - mostly at the things that came out of Carswell Thorne's mouth. I shed a few tears. It wasn't hard to do since there were times when things looked really bleak for our heroes. 

And, of course, I swooned. Oh, there was so much swooning. Each of our four couples - Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne and Winter and Jacin - have these moments where the events swirling around them stop and they have a chance to profess their love for one another. OMG, I loved those parts so much. 

As you might expect from the title, there is a lot of focus on Princess Winter and how she is dealing with the sickness that is a result of her choosing to not use her mind control powers on other people. Her choice to be a good, honest person when everyone else around her is not comes with serious consequences, and she takes them all on. She was amazing, and her relationship with Jacin is both complicated and sweet. 

But, the big event - THE event - is Cinder's revolution. There is a crazy amount of action in Winter. There are little skirmishes that take place between various groups of people throughout the book, but the big battle at the end for all the marbles was everything it needed to be. It was hard. It was deadly. It was nail biting. And not everyone made it through unscathed. In a word - it. Was. PERFECT.

In Winter, you will love. It's impossible not to with heroic hotties Kai, Wolf, Thorne and Jacin taking center stage. In Winter you will hate. You will hate BIG TIME because Levana is one of the evilest villains I have ever encountered in any book ever. In Winter you will be proud. Because Cinder is the best heroine ever. She doesn't always do the right thing, and she admits she's scared and doesn't know if she can be who she needs to be. But, her heart is ALWAYS in the right place. And her heart is big. I promise you will never regret having read Winter.

About the Audio Version
Rebecca Soler should read all books everywhere forever. Hands down, she is my favorite narrator. I can imagine that Winter was a difficult project for her to undertake. First of all, it's hella long. At just over 24 hours in length, it's the longest audio book I've ever tackled. And, secondly, there are so many characters! Besides the eight main heroes, there was also Levana, her right hand man Amery, Cinder's bestie Iko, Kai's advisor Torin, several Earthen delegates (from Australia, the UK, Texas and Africa), and scores of other minor side characters. And, somehow, Rebecca Soler gave them all a unique voice. How does she do that?!

I never got tired of listening to this book. I was constantly looking for extra opportunities to sneak in a chapter. It was incredibly entertaining and masterfully produced. I do own Winter in hardback. But, I chose to purchase the audio version and listen to that instead, as I have all the other books in this series. I've just enjoyed the audio versions so much - I'm sad to see it all ending. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Rebecca Soler's other narrations, though. 

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