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the winner's kissWhat: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski

Who: Bloomsbury Children’s

When: March 24th 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bloomsbury Australia for review.

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?

4cats2The Winner’s Kiss was the perfect ending to The Winner’s Trilogy. I didn’t really know what I wanted from this book, except a happily ever after for Kestrel and Arin. But practically everything that The Winner’s Kiss delivered made me happy. And I think that’s pretty rare in a last book, because more often than not heaps of things happen that generally don’t make me happy.

I’m sitting here quite unsure of what to write about The Winner’s Kiss, so I’m going to go with my trusty list of things I loved about this book:

1) Arin. I cannot help but love this tortured little vegemite scroll. I just can’t. At the beginning of The Winner’s Kiss, he’s still all: ermagerd, I hate Kestrel, she’s such an evil cow, how could I have fallen in love with her? And then, luckily, he comes to his senses and realises that Kestrel is actually awesome and has sacrificed everything for him (which is kind of understandable because this is Arin we are talking about here, and he deserves all the good things in the world).

2) Kestrel. Kestrel goes through a lot of shit in The Winner’s Kiss. And pretty much comes out on top of it. Although there were a lot of moments where I worried for her, because of what she went through in the mines. Where she was drugged to forget her life. Again, I loved how Kestrel’s mind is her best weapon, and that even though she’s not a physically badass female, she’s still kicking ass. Although, my one disappointment in her character is that to do the tough things required of her, she had to be emotionless and cold-hearted. I have to say I am pretty sick of this trope.

3) Arin & Kestrel together. Which was, in a word: PAIN. There were so many: omg, just kiss moments. There were so many: omg, why Kestrel moments. There were so many: omg, will they ever get together moments. There were just a lot of moments where I didn’t know whether these two characters would end up together or not.

4) ROSHAR. Who is pretty much the best character ever. Because he’s sassy and seems so calculating but actually loves people, and is a complete and utter softy. Also: plus points for Roshar being gay. This made me so happy – to see a prince and warrior and just total awesome character come out as gay, and not be judged by other characters (BLESS Arin’s reaction, seriously). I want a spin-off series about Roshar. DESPERATELYYY.

5) The writing style. As with the previous two books, The Winner’s Kiss was absolutely divinely written, and there were so many passages that I simply had to read a few times over, just so I could bask in their beauty.


Overall, I really loved The Winner’s Kiss, and I am so completely happy with how it ended. This is one series finale that will not disappoint.

trigger warning: torture, forced drug use resulting in addiction, slavery, animal cruelty, suicidal themes, and war themes in this novel

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: April 26, 2016 • By: Chiara

14 Responses to Five Things I Loved About The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

  1. Exactly all the points I loved about the finale as well! I’m so glad the series came around full circle and tied all the loose ends, so I was left pretty satisfied. And yes about Roshar! Such a great friendship between him and Arin, that bromance was so strong.

    Great review :)

    • Chiara says:

      Yay! This was definitely a satisfying ending to a solidly good series :D Ah, what I wouldn’t do for a series about Roshar. And having a cameo by Arin and Kestrel!

      Thank you, Tracey!

  2. Valerie says:

    So I haven’t read The Winner’s Crime yet, so I skimmed this hahah. I just wanted to add my two cents and say that this is my favorite cover out of the three! Like I definitely have a crush on the model. Thank god the publisher switched it back!

    Anyways, I need to buy the rest of this series. I NEED IT. I’m glad you enjoyed the last book :)

    • Chiara says:

      I’m surprised that this cover is your favourite! Mine is definitely the first one. The colours and the dress are just so gorgeous. The model doesn’t have the same coloured eyes as Kestrel, though, which is SO ANNOYING.

      I hope you like the rest of the books, Valerie!

  3. I didn’t read all of your review as I haven’t read this series yet. I’m glad you got a good ending though! That’s always important, and it’s nice to hear for when I DO get to read these.


    • Chiara says:

      It was definitely a satisfying conclusion to this series, which is always great! There are few things worse than a series that doesn’t end the way you want to. I hope you like these books when you read them, Lauren!

  4. I am currently reading The Winner’s Kiss and I AM DYING FROM THE FEELS. I’m just over 120 pages in and already I know I’m going to be a complete wreck by the time I finish it. GAH.

  5. So I flicked over your review because I haven’t even read the FIRST one but geez, I thought I’d avoided the hype and now it’s returned. You guys are way too convincing. And I saw the first one at Basement Books for like $6 the other day, hmm…

    • Chiara says:

      LOL. Emily, how could you not have bought it for $6? BLASPHEMY. Especially since it has such a beautiful cover. Even though I really did like this entire series, it’s not one that I am going to scream about all the time. I think if you are genuinely interested in reading it, go for it, but if not that’s okay, too!

  6. Grace Troxel says:

    Glad you enjoyed this one! I read the first book in the trilogy and thought it was just okay, and have been debating whether to continue with the series or not.

  7. I’m halfway through this book and all the angst and tortured soul moments are just killing me. I just want it to be over and for them to show me a happy ending already! I’m so glad you enjoyed it though, and it made me happy to see Roshar confess too.

    • Chiara says:

      Oh, I didn’t like the tortured soul moments of this book (or series, really) very much at all. I really just wanted happiness for Arin and Kestrel, and I’m glad they got it in the end! I need a series about Roshar, ASAP.

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