Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Kiss
(The Winner’s Trilogy #3)
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Hardcover, 496 pages, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: YA, Fantasy

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 Review

I really don’t know what to say about this book other than it’s all over now. I seriously can’t believe that this trilogy is finished. No more Arin and Kestrel. No more Roshar, who I was just beginning to really enjoy. And, more importantly/devastatingly, no more Arin.

I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book in this series. The Winner’s Curse just didn’t draw me in as much as it seemed to draw in everyone else, but once I picked up the second book, I was hooked. I think most of my issue revolved around the character development, but in the second book, Kestrel and Arin really start coming into their own personalities more. And, in this last installment, they’re practically completely different people. In a good way.

While The Winner’s Crime left off on a rather large cliffhanger, things get resolved there pretty fast. Actually, a lot of major events happened a little too fast in some cases, like the ending and the beginning. The middle was just the right speed, though. I’d have to say that this was my one major qualm with this book. However, Rutkoski does a fantastic job using the two separate and very distinct voices of Arin and Kestrel to weave an amazing fantasy tale. Arin’s storyline practically had me drooling, and Kestrel always managed to spout out some amazing piece of dialogue.

Beyond just the plot and characters, I have to say that this story was very different from the way the first two books were told. This arc wasn’t about political issues anymore; instead, all of the characters are in the thick of the action. Even Kestrel, who doesn’t like violence, is managing to turn herself into what she believes is necessary for her own survival. It was an interesting development that I didn’t expect to resonate with me so much.

All in all, this review is one of my shorter ones, simply because I don’t know what to say. This was a fantastic ending to a beautiful series, and I wish I could read a few more books from Kestrel and Arin’s point of views before Rutkoski called it quits, but, alas, that’s just the reader’s dilemma.

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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