Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

From Goodreads: 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?

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski was a book that I was both excited and nervous about reading because I hoped that it would be more like The Winner’s Crime and less like The Winner’s Curse. Thankfully, The Winner’s Kiss struck a good balance between focusing on romance on the one hand and political machinations on the other.

At the end of The Winner’s Crime, Kestrel is banished to the Valorian work camp in the tundra. So, I assumed that it would take a long time for Arin to realize where she was. Surprisingly, that turned out to not be the case, and Kestrel is rescued within the first quarter of the The Winner's Kiss. As a result, the focus of the novel ends up being on the war between the East and the Valorian Empire, a decision that I was pleased with. 

With regards to the characters and romance, I really ended up loving Roshar and the bromance that developed between him and Arin. I also liked that Arin and Kestrel’s relationship finally seemed to mature, with both realizing that they needed to open up and trust the other person if they were going to have any sort of future together.

Where I think The Winner’s Kiss could be improved upon is with an epilogue. The ending was good, but it did leave me with questions about the future of the characters. An epilogue could have somewhat answered those questions!

The Winner’s Kiss was released in March 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

Comments About the Cover: Why is the model posed so weirdly in all three covers of this trilogy?!


  1. Great review! I am so excited to read these! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I have yet to continue on with this series. I relatively enjoyed the first one, but wasn't really too enthusiastic about following the series. I'm glad the romance finally got going, though. I was impatient with it in the first book. :)

  3. Like you, I assumed it would take Arin ages to figure things out and I'm so glad that was not the case. I'm actually pretty excited about reading this now.

  4. Oh, I'm glad that you liked this one, Z! I've been meaning to read this series but I've read from many that the first book was just ok or very hard to get into. Glad this series paid off.

  5. Hah, that is an awkward pose! I'm glad to hear you liked this one though. I haven't read any of these, but it's nice to know that the trilogy ended on a good note since you didn't really love the second!


  6. I was so excited for this after reading the first two books but I still haven't read it yet! I'm so tempted to read your spoiler. T.T And about the covers, lol, I don't understand them either.


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