(Non Spoiler) Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski


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

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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?


**Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | (Non Spoiler) Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski**

“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.

My Rating:


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! 


Author: Jamie @therebelliousreader

I run on words and coffee.

9 thoughts on “(Non Spoiler) Review: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

  1. Oh, whew. I was afraid none of the people I follow would rate this book below four stars! My review’s not scheduled to go up for another month and a half or so, but I’m giving it either 1.5 or 2 stars (depending on how generous I feel when it’s finally time to post it). The issues you had with the book bothered me, too; it’s nice to see someone else talk about them. Great review, and I’m glad you liked the book more than I did! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really have to read this book! I re-read both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, preparing to read the final book yet I still haven’t gotten to it yet?! Agh it’s driving me crazy honestly. I’m sorry to hear about the flaws, but I’m glad you still liked it as a conclusion nonetheless! Great review. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Trust me, if you loved the first two books you will definitely love this one! It didn’t work for me but I can still see how so many others love it. 🙂 I can’t wait for Marie Rutkoski’s new books whenever that may be.

      Liked by 1 person

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