The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski
Published: 24th March 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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?
I want to begin by saying that I cannot guarantee a spoiler free review. I will avoid spoilers for this book, but if you’ve not read the rest of the trilogy please begin with my reviews for the first or second book.
Next, let me say I was so excited to review this book, but so very nervous to read it. I have been eagerly anticipating this book ever since finishing the second book this time last year. The cliffhanger in that book was insane and I couldn’t believe it. I simply needed that book in my hands, so I obviously requested this as soon as I saw it appear on NetGalley. Bringing my opportunity to read that bit closer was completely worth it.
Does It Meet The Expectations Following On From The First Two Books?
It most definitely meets the hype (my hype, that is). I was in no way disappointed whilst reading, despite my massive fear over that happening. I was continually at the edge of my seat reading it, I had to delay finishing because I couldn’t deal with the idea of not having more to read.
After the path the previous books took I knew this wasn’t going to be a light fun read, it was going to be darker with no guarantee of a happy ending. I knew there was the risk of massive disappointment, after two such strong books YA series do have a tendency to fall at the last hurdle, this is not one of them.
It has been a long while since I have been so completely gripped by a book. I spent so much time thinking about it and I was actually a little nervous each time I picked it up because everything was so uncertain. I could never be certain what would happen next and whether I would be happy or angry. I love a book which evokes strong emotions, and this one certainly does that. You become completely invested in Arin and Kestrel’s stories and can’t help but hoping things will turn out well for them both, but it’s so hard to see any hope of that with the despair in their situations.
Arin <3 Kestrel 4eva
Half the reason I love the Winner’s Trilogy is the relationship between Arin and Kestrel. I spent the first two books shipping them both so hard and being completely unable to see how they could ever work. They are both from completely different worlds. Whilst I spent the first book loving them and being unable to see how they could be together when their principles and beliefs stop that from ever being feasible. I spent the second book despairing unable to grasp why they couldn’t just be honest with each other and why things had to continually stand between the pair. I was so frustrated in the second book. In this third I felt certain utter disappointment was a possibility hen it came to this relationship.
Rutkoski effectively evoked all my emotions in this third book when it came to this couple. I will reveal nothing further, but my God I love a trilogy which gets you shipping this hard. I adore a good romance and this one is most certainly epic.
Just Read It, Please!
I cannot think of enough reasons to read this trilogy. I just utterly adore it, and this third book was no different. It was so action-packed! So much happened and you experience so many highs and lows, it’s essentially an emotional rollercoaster which continually keeps you guessing. If you haven't read any of the books then do so now. Binge read the series and you will utterly adore it. Then you will understand the pain and frustration I experienced having to wait so long between all of these books!
The wait for this third one was completely worth it. I only regret I didn’t discover this series until a couple of months before the second books release, I actually wish I could have dragged out this series longer. It’s one of the few times I can claim I adored every single book in a trilogy in equal measure. None were better or worse than the others, they were all just fantastic books. Marie Rutkoski has easily won a place as a favourite author and I’ve only these books to judge her by. There are few authors I would be so swift to count as favourites with so little to judge the by, but she has easily demonstrated she is an amazing author with these books. I genuinely believe in the world she has created and the characters she has written about. If you read her acknowledgements you can easily see the amount of work that has gone into these books and it really pays off. My only complaint is why isn’t there more?
Have you read any of this trilogy (if not why not)? Have you read a series where each book just keeps getting better?