The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)

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Rating: 4 Stars
Published: March 2016
Genre: Fantasy // Young Adult
Favorite Quote

Sometimes a truth squeezes you so tightly you can’t breathe.

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? (Summary taken from Goodreads)

I have been waiting for this forever it seems, though, it’s only been a year.  I couldn’t put this down.  It started a little off for me because it had been so long since I read the second book.  (Check out my review of The Winner’s CurseThe Winner’s Crime)

I have to be honest, the beginning kind of lost me.  It’s most likely just because it’s been a year since I read the second one.  So really, I blame myself because the writing was truly top notch but it was just too much for me at the moment. I don’t really know how to explain it besides saying it took me some pages to get back into her style of writing.

Besides that blimp, the book was the perfect end to the series.  I was a little (spoiler) salty that it took so long for Kestrel to remember Arin after being apart for basically forever.   But, obvs, it worked out in the end so that’s okay.They are really one of my favorite couples.  Arin + Kestrel FOREVER. 

Even if you had no reason at all, fear isn’t foolish.

This book was action packed and I enjoyed seeing all the thought that went into planning the battle tactics. As much as this book is about the action and the survival of Arin’s country, Rutkoski doesn’t lack relationship growth.  There’s the perfect balance of action and character development.

Speaking of characters…

She entered Roshar’s tend. “I need your help”
Blinking, he propped himself up on his bed.  He said groggily, “And I need a real door.  With a lock.”
“I have an idea.”
“I don’t know you all that well, and still hearing you say that makes me very, very worried.”
“Listen to me.”
“If I do, can I go back to sleep? Being a fearless leader is exhausting.”

Roshar was hilarious and the perfect dose of witty.  I loved his relationship with Arin (both of them– the person and the tiger) and later, his relationship with Kestrel.  I love his character type. You do see it kind of everywhere though- he’s a Dorian, Laurent, Rhys, Adrian, etc.  But I love them all and I don’t care that they’re more common in YA characters (and I wish I knew them in real life even though I’d probably want to punch them. hard.) Snarky, but lovable.  It doesn’t work out so well in real life.

Everything was tied up so neatly (I don’t mean that in a bad way, the path to get there was messy but the ending didn’t leave any questions) and I’m happy about (spoiler) the lack of deaths.  I have to say, I didn’t see it coming about how Kestrel defeated the emperor.  It was clever and well written.  Clearly.

I thought this was the perfect conclusion to the series.  It makes me want to go back and see how it all started.  I couldn’t put this book down.  I think it’s one of my favorite trilogies because damn this book!

Have you read The Winner’s Trilogy? What did you think? Share your thoughts below! 

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