Winter (Meyer novel)

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Winter marissa meyer book cover.jpg
Book cover of Winter
AuthorMarissa Meyer
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Lunar Chronicles
GenreYoung adult, Romance, Science Fiction, dystopian
PublisherFeiwell & Friends
Publication date
November 10, 2015
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
LC ClassPZ7.M571737 Wi 2015[1]
Preceded byCress 

Winter is a 2015 young adult science fiction novel written by American author Marissa Meyer and published by Macmillan Publishers through their subsidiary Feiwel & Friends.[2] It is the fourth and final book in The Lunar Chronicles series and the sequel to Cress. The story is loosely based on the fairy tale of "Snow White", similar to its predecessors Cinder, Scarlet and Cress which were loosely based on "Cinderella", "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Rapunzel" respectively.[3] It was a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling novel.[4][5]


Due to Princess Winter's refusal to use the Lunar gift, the ability to manipulate what others see and do, she has Lunar sickness, a state of mental illness that causes occasional hallucinations. Despite having scars on her face (suspected to be the work of Winter's evil stepmother, Queen Levana), Princess Winter is known for both her stunning beauty and the kindness she shows towards her people. Her relationship with her stepmother Levana is strained at best, especially as Winter is secretly in love with her childhood friend Jacin, who is Winter's royal guard.

Meanwhile, Prince Kai has been sent back to Earth after being kidnapped and recruited by Cinder and is now part of the plan to overthrow Queen Levana. The Crew sneaks onto Kai's ship as he heads for Luna for the wedding. They are noticed by Levana and she locks down the Ports and they barely make it away, forced to leave Cress behind as she secures their getaway by hacking the security systems. She hides behind a crate and is spotted by Winter. Winter puts on a show and manages to smuggle Cress into a crate without being spotted. Winter convinces Jacin to keep Cress safe in the guard dormitories.

Jacin has managed to stay alive by lying about his time on the ship with Cinder and offers the queen enough information about the blocking chip Cinder's adoptive father designed, she punishes him with lashings, but he lives. She then places him on Winter's personal guard to "keep her in line". He does his best to ignore her, but she eventually convinces him. When Winter refuses to marry the queen's thaumaturge Aimery, Levana believes she is of no more use. After Queen Levana orders Jacin to murder Winter, Jacin finds Winter in her personal menagerie. He explains the queen's orders, kisses Winter, and then stabs Winter's favorite pet—a wolf named Ryu—all so Winter can escape unharmed, and Queen Levana will believe she is dead. (Cress had planned to go with Winter and Scarlet but realized she was needed to stay behind to secure the way for Scarlet and Winter). Scarlet is given a pod key and a knife by Jacin and told to find RM9, Wolf's home Sector, and the two manage to escape with the help of Cress.

Cinder, Thorne, Iko, and Wolf have made it to RM9, and have taken refuge with Maha, Wolf's mother. They snuck into the mining center easily and unrecognized. Wolf scents Scarlet and the group reunites. Thorne, Iko, and Wolf break into a control room, Thorne disguised as a guard. Cinder then uses the program made by Cress to hack into all the sectors to display her video proclaiming to be Princess Selene and asking for the people to become her army. When RM9 begins to take over the guards, intending to kill them, she runs out to stop them. This lets Levana find her, and she sends her guards and thaumaturges to RM9. In the confrontation, Cinder gives herself up, Wolf is taken, and Maha is murdered by Aimery for having housed them. Winter and Iko are attacked at Maha's Home, and two thaumaturges are killed, one by Kinney, a guard who decides to protect Winter from Jericho who decides he wants to "play with her", although Winter is injured in her head during the altercation.

Jacin and Cress are informed by Kinney that Jacin is in trouble for not killing Winter. He tells Cress it's time to leave, and they maneuver through train tunnels.

The group separates, Scarlet and Winter going into the lava tubes, to find the wolf-like mutations of human soldiers in an attempt to convince them to join Cinder's army, while Captain Thorne and Iko hurry to try and save Cinder and Wolf, picking up Jacin and Cress after an uneasy encounter at a train station. Kai receives Cinder's robotic finger right before the wedding as a wedding present, letting Kai worry as to whether she is dead or captured.

Levana and Kai's wedding goes off without interruption, although Kai does take a pair of scissors and stabs Levana's arm, stating he won't be controlled and won't submit. He is pleased to see she can be hurt. At the wedding dinner, the entertainment is the Trial of Pearl, Adri and Cinder (Pearl and Adri having been brought to Luna for "aiding" Cinder in kidnapping Kai by using their stolen tickets). Levana is more interested in Garan's invention, although Adri knows nothing. She decides to keep them as pets. During Cinder's "trial", Cinder stops fighting her Cyborg eye sight and decides to record Levana without her glamour. Levana's true face is disfigured, with burn scar tissue on the left side of her face and hand. Cinder announces to the room, and live-feeds to Luna, that she is Princess Selene, and that Levana is a traitor to the crown for trying to murder her as a baby. Levana loses control of the guards for a second and Cinder takes control. In the battle, which is being viewed throughout Luna still, all of the thaumaturges are killed, most of the guards controlled by Cinder are slain, and the wolf soldiers have attacked anyone they could get. Cinder dives off the tower into the lake. Her systems are damaged and she almost drowns but is saved by Thorne and Jacin. Levana, in a bid to quell the uprising from the disastrous trail, announces Cinder is dead with a fake body to prove it.

Cinder, Jacin, Thorne, Iko, and Cress take up refuge in an old mansion, fixing Cinder to the best of their abilities. They raid the closets for a disguise outfit for Cress and Thorne, who will sneak into the coronation.

Meanwhile, Scarlet and Winter find the wolf soldiers, and they barely convince them not to eat them. However, the soldiers realize that Winter has sacrificed part of her sanity in a vow to never use Lunar manipulation again. When Levana's thaumaturges arrive, alerted to Winter's presence, they make wrong moves by insulting the soldiers and are killed. The soldiers decide to join Winter and Scarlet and go topside to find supporters to rally. Once arriving in a lumber sector, an old crone, who is Levana in disguise, offers Winter a sour-apple petite, Winter's favorite candy. However, the petite is laced with letumosis (currently the most serious and incurable plague, mutated strain from Erland), and Winter faints. After Scarlet tries to help, she gets infected too. Many soldiers are also infected just by being around them. Winter is put into a suspension tank.

Wolf wakes up after being transformed into a "mostly-wolf" soldier. A thaumaturge gives him food, only to punish him as he tries to take it to teach him obedience. His memories seem to be tampered with and has vague, twisted memories of Scarlet. He is placed on Levana's Guard for the coronation ceremony.

During Levana's coronation, Cinder, Jacin and Iko break into the labs that house all shells, in comatose states, to steal the letumosis cure. They become trapped in the room with all of the antidotes, and Iko gives a distraction to a thaumaturge and guards so that Jacin and Cinder can get out the vials. They transport the vials to LW-12, where Winter and Scarlet are. All but seven of the infected get the cure, those seven dying before they could be helped, and Jacin pulls Winter out of the suspension tank to give her hers.

Cress and Thorne go to the coronation at the palace. As they attempt to sneak into the control room, they are stopped in the hallway by a Lunar woman. After the Lunar woman manipulates Thorne to kiss her and say he loves her, Cress is heartbroken. Hearing guards, they run and hide in a dark garden-like room. Cress is still upset, and admits her frustration with Thorne never seeing her as he does other girls. He proceeds to kiss her, and tells her that the girl must have glamoured herself to look like Cress, because he thought he was kissing her. They get interrupted by guards (who fail to recognize them) and move on. They are spotted by guards as they hurry down a hallway, and Thorne distracts them while Cress hides in a closet. They get separated and Cress wills herself to keep going. Thorne is captured. Cress continues to the Security Center. She finds Kai in a hallway, who helps her by distracting a guard (he asks to be let into a vault) so she can pass. She successfully gets in with help from Kai (who also gave her his portscreen), and loads Cinder's recording as well as unlocks the correct sectors for the revolting sectors can riot but gets trapped inside.

Jacin and Winter are to go in the terrain-speeder to already revolting sectors to rally. Cinder starts a revolution. She goes down to the gates to meet everyone, where Cress has successfully opened the gates. They swarm around the front of the palace. Levana has just been crowned empress when Wolf attacks her and Cinder's message distracts everyone (Cinder is not in the room). Though he fails to kill her, he slices her neck. He is then forced to act as her guard/shield. They go down to the front gates to meet Cinder and her people. Cinder is taken down quickly as her cyborg brain has not been working since the fall and cannot fight off Levana's control. Iko shoots at the queen, who ducks and it hits Wolf. When the queen's true face (previously recorded by Cinder) is revealed in a new message, she loses control and runs into the palace. A fight ensues, and Cinder and Iko struggle (Wolf attacks Iko).

Cinder and Iko (who is severely injured) hurry into the palace in search of Levana. They find Kinney outside of the coronation room (he tells Cinder to try the throne room), and Cinder sends him and Iko in to help Kai. Nobody is left in the room aside from Lunars, and they are told Kai is headed to the ports with the Earthens (after forcing the Lunars to help him with his bomb threat). They go down the servant halls and find Kai, and Kinney offers to be a pilot.

Cress is found and offers the guard and technician a chance to switch sides when they detect Kai's ships, ones with bombs capable of destroying the domes.

Aimery attacks Jacin and Winter, when she is almost forced to strangle Jacin, Scarlet and Wolf come. Winter claims Scarlet before Aimery can and forces her to stab Aimery. Jacin tackles Scarlet to make her stop once Aimery is dead. Winter's mind can't handle Lunar manipulation after refusing to use the gift for so long and shuts down, and she goes completely insane.

Cinder proceeds to find Levana, who has Thorne in the throne room, tied up by the balcony. Every step forward Cinder takes, Thorne is forced to take one back. Levana tells Cinder that Cinder's mother, Queen Channary, forced Levana to set her face on fire as a child and made her this way. She then demands Cinder relinquish all claims to the throne or she kills Thorne. When Thorne calls her bluff, Levana has him jump, with Cinder catching him at the last moment. They wrestle and Thorne is about to shoot (under Levana's control) Cinder when Cress comes and shoots it out of his hand, hitting his hand. Still being controlled by Levana, Thorne stabs Cress in the stomach. As Cinder is distracted with trying to kill Levana, Throne stabs Cinder in the thigh (apologizing to everyone the entire time). Scarlet and Wolf show up, Scarlet gets controlled by Levana and Cinder is forced to knock her out. Wolf rushes to her aid and as the only one not able to be controlled, helps Scarlet and Cress. Levana and Cinder battle it out, both turning their own guns on themselves. Levana feigns penance, then stabs Cinder in the chest, who in turn shoots her. Levana dies, while Cinder survives due to being a cyborg.

Wolf and Scarlet reaffirm their feelings for each other, Thorne and Cress officially become a couple, while Jacin kisses a recovering Winter awake, later hinting at his feelings. Amidst all this, Cinder agrees to sign the Treaty of Bremen with Earth, thus symbolizing a true alliance between Earth and Luna, and is crowned Queen of Luna. She talks to Kai about abdicating the throne and establishing Luna as a republic, and he gives her her old cyborg foot, and asks if she would want to be his Empress. Cinder replies she'll consider it, and drops the foot, a reminder of the past when she was scorned, into the palace lake.


Winter took Meyer two years to complete and at times she thought that she "would never be finished" and that she "would be stuck in this book for the rest of my life."[6] Part of the reason for this was due to Meyer putting the book to the side while she worked on the novel Fairest, which she wanted to work on in order to further develop the character of Levana.[7]

While the character of Winter was initially planned to physically resemble the typical image of Snow White, she chose to make her black after seeing a photo of a "beautiful black model biting into a red apple" and thinking "That’s her! That’s my princess!"[8]


Critical reception has been positive and Winter has received positive reviews from the School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.[9][10][11] Booklist gave Winter a favorable review, praising Meyer for inserting "just enough veiled references to the original stories to spur intellectual and emotional connections."[12]


  1. ^ "Winter" (first edition). LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress ( Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Bell, Amanda (2015-11-10). "'Winter' Author Explains How She Stuck Disney Princesses In An Intergalactic Battle". MTV. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  3. ^ White, Caitlin (2015-02-20). "The Lunar Chronicles' Marissa Meyer Opens Up About 'Fairest,' 'Winter' And Everyone's Favorite Evil Queen — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO". Bustle. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  4. ^ "USA TODAY BEST-SELLERS". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  5. ^ "WALL STREET JOURNAL-BEST SELLERS". SF Gate. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  6. ^ Brodeur, Nicole. "YA author Marissa Meyer reaches for the stars with her 'Lunar Chronicles'". Seattle Times. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  7. ^ Lodge, Sally. "Macmillan's 'Join the Resistance' Campaign Rallies Meyer's Troops". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  8. ^ Maggs, Sam. "Interview: Marissa Meyer on Winter's Woman of Color Snow White & YA Representation". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  9. ^ "'Winter' is in the air for hot new romances". USA Today. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Winter (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Winter (review)". School Library Journal. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Winter (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 20 November 2015.

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