So first of all, as a whole, I really love this series. I love the characters. I love the blending of sci-fi and fairy-tales. I love the epic, space-faring, international, futuristic scope of it. And I liked this book as well, but I didn’t love it. And as a book, and a series-ender, it was far from perfect. I’m really upset about not loving it, especially since each book since Cinder has been better than the last. I really thought Meyer had got her feet under her as a writer, but for me, there is just something about this book that didn’t work.
While reading the other books, I was constantly engrossed, and all the moments where you’re supposed to feel things, I FELT things. I squeeed and oohed and aahhed. I was stressed out and worried and excited. But most of the moments in Winter fell sort of flat. There were only a couple that I think worked as well as Meyer wanted them to, and it was while reading those moments that I realized the rest of the book wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing for me.
I have a couple of theories about this, but I am by no means certain. I just finished the book, first of all, and second, I feel like this opinion is not going to be one that many people share. Several people I follow here on GR have already proclaimed it the best book of 2015 they’ve read, even beating out Carry On. Having finally finished this book, I just can’t fathom that reaction. This book felt creaky to me, it felt rushed in places and slow in others, and there were so many characters who needed so many things, it didn’t feel like any of them got their due.
This book felt like two books in one, and maybe would have been better split up somehow. It’s called Winter, but she’s barely in it, and the part she does play is underwhelming. For one of her most important contributions, she is entirely “off-screen,” and even a large sacrifice she makes at the end is overshadowed by the other characters, particularly Cinder. Cress and Thorne’s big moment should have made me squeal with glee, but sandwiched in between so many other things, it felt anti-climactic. It’s like, Meyer is best when she has a chance to focus on one character’s storyline, and splitting up her focus between at least ten narrators, and switching back and forth between storylines, it made it harder for her to crescendo to that sweet storytelling climax, for any of them. Even the final battle and confrontation with Levana was disappointing. It was confusing to read, hectic, and devoid of any really meaty character development.
I don’t know, maybe I was expecting too much. And maybe I’ll feel differently after my inevitable re-read. But for now, 3.5 stars. (I originally rounded up to four stars because of my affection for the characters and the world, but the longer I think about it, the more disappointed I am, so down it goes to three.)