Winter is a big book. Let’s not pretend that it’s not. It’s nearly 300 pages longer than the longest book in the series. Yes, it was not only fleshing out new POV characters, but continuing with old POVs and wrapping up a series. Still the book felt long. That is my big takeaway from this novel, both while I read it and now weeks later. On the positive side, that is my only major complaint with the book. It was too long, too unwieldy, and at times still not enough. It was too much focus on the mundane and not enough focus on the grand.
It’s hard for me to criticise the length too much. For the most part the events we saw played out went logically. We didn’t get any massive leaps. The characters fought for the gains they got. We saw the progression. If one element was left out then other things would feel to convenient. So while the time spent meant that things felt earned (for the most part), it didn’t mean it didn’t feel like it was dragging. There were times where certain things could have been condensed. Sure, you may have lost a face or two, but in the grand scheme of things they were not important.
The other big issue I had with this book was how much everything on Luna felt like a rehash of the Hunger Games.Now, I’m not the kind of person who likes to sink my teeth into a book for doing something that another book has done. It has happened hundreds, thousands of times and it will continue. If I happen to read something that handles an element before another book the one I read later will feel like a rip off. That said Luna just was not developed well. In the little bits where we got descriptions, it seemed like a poorly handled knock off. It could have been well done, even if it was similar. Unfortunately it relied on visual cues and added no depth. It was never built out. If I hadn’t read similar stories with similar conditions, it would have felt even more underwhelming.
Okay maybe that was a bigger annoyance than I though, but I still did love the characters, in particular Winter. In many ways I felt like I could relate to Winter. She’s someone who’s slowly losing her mind, but still fighting to stay a part of things. She’s different, even without the slippage that not using her powers have caused. She’s quirky and I like that. When she was first seen in this book, I thought her perspective might have been troublesome because of her thought of being frozen. I was afraid she would constantly be in a state where I’d need to analyze her moods. I was pleasantly surprise when Winter was rather normal. Yes, she was quirky, but it was relateable to me. She ended up being a great addition and I only wish that I got to spend more time with her.
We septn plenty of time with the other characters as well. As always, we were constantly switching perspectives. Everyone had slightly different knowledge. Every time we delved into a character it was refreshing to get their perspective again.
The one thing that this book did well was wrap everything up. The end that we had seen coming since book one was finally playing out and it was satisfying to see that it wasn’t easy. That said, the final conflict between Levana and Cinder was a bit anticlimactic. It had so much build and was being puffed up over and over. Then when it happened it kind of went out with a dud. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Cinder would make another foolish move. I also shouldn’t have been surprised that she lucked out. All the characters lucked out.
That leads to another thing that did bother me, no one died. Time and time again they were thrown into terrible situations. Ones in which they should have died. Situations where it actually seemed like they did die. Instead they lived. It felt too convenient and I kind of wish that they had some anguish. Our group went in with these fairytale ideals and and never received real fairytale ends. Instead we got Disney ends. It frustrated me because this was a perfect opportunity to show that things aren’t perfect. A chance to show that things may end well, but bizarrely. It just felt too easy and honestly after a while I got tired of everyone scraping by because they felt untouchable in a world where death touched so much.
At the end of the day, I am now realizing that I had a lot of problems with this book. But that doesn’t change how happy I am that this ending felt like a proper ending. It’s so many many series seem to lack.