I've tried so hard to convince myself to rate this book 4 stars. I've loved this series and Cress' ending left me drooling over the awesomeness that this book was supposed to be. This book was not awesome though and all the people who are experienced reviewers and who reviewed this book poorly expressed all my issues with it. I've got though pesonal issues that I'd like to write myself here. First of all (spoiler alert!)
Winter (the character) was already my favourite character before even starting this book because her introduction in Cress was amazing. I was so intrigued by this Lunar who refused to use her powers (causing herself some serious damage) that I just wanted to read from her perspective more. Now, in reality, Winter was an idiot. That's it, I said it. I couldn't picture her as a 17 year old girl, in my head she was a child (FYI she looked like Rue from the Hunger Games in a pretty white dress) who every now and then burst into songs and freaked out at every given occasion. Obviously I didn't want to be entertained by her mental illnes but the way it was described was lame. The Lunar sickness was supposed to be something rarely experienced by a different race that us Humans but instead Winter had this sporadic outbursts just meant to add pathos to an already difficult situation.
Then, HOW THE HELL DID SHE MANAGE TO CONVINCE MORE THAN A HUNDRED WOLF-SOLDIERS TO BE ON HER SIDE?! She just squeaked and hallucinated and shrank the whole time!!! That's not how you convince people who've been working (aka manipulated) under the same governament for their entire life to change side! Oh but she was so beautiful, that's the real key! Nobody needs capable people, just pretty ones.
Plus Winter's relationship with Jacin was so annoying that I was forced to speed read everytime they were mentioned together. You cannot tell me that they've got a past and that they're in love and just assume that I'll get it. I need to understand the romance, not to just see how much these people are hot for each other. No, that doesn't work for me. Also, the "I don't use my powers because that's unfair and because I've been a victim of awful manipulations by the hand of my aunt" could have been such an interesting topic to explore more instead we had this idiot who couldn't really argue her life choices.
Levana was such an interesting character in the previous books. I hated her, surely, but she was still a captivating villain. But why was she such a badass villain? Because nobody loved her and she was ugly. Booh oohh, guess what? Lame. I've always loved the way Marissa Meyer could use the plotline of a classic fairy tale to then create a whole new situation with whole new meanings. So I was expecting something more than the ugly Queen who hates the pretty Pricess. I just think that female villains are always played out as character who just want to be loved and I personally find that kind of trope overused. Plus, if I can defend Levana a bit, that bit in which Cinder showed Levana's true identity was kinda bitchy. It didn't have a real purpose, nothing would have changed. Someone's a bad ruler wether s/he looks like Beyoncé or the Grinch and that's what you tell people, that's how you demonstrate that what they go through on a daily basis is not supposed to be the norm, that's how you lead a revolution. I mean, by then everybody kinda suspected that Levana was hiding something underneath the veil, showing it was plain revenge. Plus the entire justification of "Levana is horrendous not because she's scarred but because she's oh so evil" was a mere way Cinder used to feel better about herself.
Cinder yooou f-ing idiot! Why did you even think of forgiving a madwoman who's killed thousand of people, manipulated even more and that EVERYBODY knows is going to attack you again as soon as you let your guard down! Idiot! IDIOT!!! Again, cliché used to create pathos.
The romance. Too freaking much of it. We're in a war zone for heaven's sake! Why's everybody kissing and drooling over one another?! Then... If Wolf got changed yet once more why doesn't he remember Scarlet in the first place but then the only thing he does during the battle is protecting her? Wasn't he supposed to go on a killing spree? I personally hate the trope of the "power of true love is stronger than anything else", it is so outdated and cheap.
Finally the ending. Again (my vocabulary is not very rich, I apologise) lame. Everything wrapped up so nicely, nobody got (fatally) hurt, nobody was traumatized by having witnessed that much bloodshed, peace and love and everybody finally got laid. The end. It was just so boring to read that I couldn't wait for it to end.
Other problems I had with the story were that it was slow paced, many twists were dismissed too quickly eg: Kai cutting Levana, Winter almost dying, Maha dying, Wolf being modified again, they were all presented as "Oh hey, this very terrible and awful thing just happened and theeen... No, everything's good, let's move on!".