Title: The Winner’s Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: YA Fantasy & Romance
Date Published: March 29, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Series: Book #3 in the Winner’s Kiss trilogy
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?
“You don’t need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.”
Don’t let the lower rating fool you, this is not a bad book at all. It’s actually a really strong conclusion to this series and I don’t think it could’ve ended any other way.
My issue with this series from the get-go has always been that I am just not emotionally connected to this series in the slightest. I read them and that’s it, there’s no attachment to the world or the story or the characters (except Kestrel) or the romance. I know that everyone adores this trilogy and I get it but it just didn’t connect with me.
This third book was definitely a step up from the second book for me which is my least favorite of the three. I liked that it had a lot of the war in it and the action was well done and intense when it needed to be. I also still really like Kestrel as a character and think she’s so kickass and awesome and though I would’ve preferred her ending up alone, I’ll just take the ending we were given though I wasn’t too thrilled about it. Arin didn’t grow on me in this at all. He’s still just as annoying and frustrating as he was in the other books but he was also a bit more emo here (yay! /sarcasm). He was just a stick in the mud the entire time and he drove me crazy.
Along with Arin being a pain, the pacing was a bit off to me. I lost interest quite a few times while reading this, especially in the beginning and towards the end. It wasn’t to the point that I was skim reading, but I was wishing for things to pick up speed a bit.
The positive side, the writing is still just as beautiful as ever. I love the way Marie Rutkoski writes and tells a story so I will definitely be looking for the next release from her despite this series not being for me. I’m glad I read it in the end just for the sake of getting to know Kestrel’s character because she is seriously so amazing and I would still recommend this series.
I know I’m the odd one out with this series but I would love to know what you thought of the final book if you’ve read it!