The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Published by: Farrar, Staus, and Giroux
Format: 484 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
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Synopsis: Some kisses come at a price.
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing.
As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?
In one sentence, I can pretty much sum up The Winner’s Kiss as a satisfying way to end the trilogy. Okay, I’m just going to dive head in to this review. I love the way that Rutkoski writes. She has a way that makes it sound so beautiful even when Arin and Krestel are basically going through hell. I also love how she builds up the anticipation. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Arin to finally find out that Krestel was his moth all along! I think that what fell flat for me was the politics, which is weird because I didn’t mind the politics in the previous books. It kind of bored me a bit and I was just waiting for war to happen. Other than that, I felt like some areas of the book was slow for me (probably the parts with the politics if I’m being honest haha). I also wished that Krestel didn’t have the whole amnesia thing? I mean it added more tension and anticipation but it was basically reading Winner’s Curse all over again and they have to rebuild their relationship from the start.
As for the rest, I loved it! While I didn’t like the fact that they had to start from the beginning again, I loved how it was written (if that makes any sense). It was a great build up and I love that even though Krestel didn’t remember Arin, she knew she felt something for him. I t just showed how deep their relationship was before this whole thing happened. I love how deep her punishment went. Okay, I know that sounds totally sadistic but I don’t mean it that way. If I could choose, she wouldn’t have gone to the tundra or whatever but I loved that it showed strength. She’s a smart girl and all but having gone through that punishment and still be strong afterward was so inspiring. I love how all the characters evolved but I wish we got to see more of Sarsine but you can’t have everything. I did love Roshar, though!
What I really loved about this book were the action sequences! I usually always love action sequences but I don’t know. These really stuck out. I wish that there were more of them. I was so nervous when the showdown came where they had to face the general. I hate him so much! I wish his story had a different ending than what Rutkoski wrote. Lastly, I just want to say how much I enjoyed reading Krestel and Arin’s relationship. I did not know what to expect in this book but it totally surpassed that. I was really scared about what would happen because Winner’s Crime was really heartbreaking! I’m glad how the series ended and I can’t wait to read more from the author.