The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Kindle E-Book
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 was a little nervous going into this book for a few reasons. Number one, I freaking love this series and I did not want it to end, nor did I want it to end in an unsatisfying way. Number two, it had been quite some time since I devoured the second book in the series, and having not read any recaps to refresh my memory, I was worried that I wouldn’t remember what was going on. Glad to report: had nothing to be nervous about!
This book, unsurprisingly, turned out to be the perfect ending to a wonderful story! There were so many things that needed to be wrapped up, and I’ll admit that on more than one occasion I started to panic a little bit because I didn’t think that I was going to get the answers I was looking for. I was also worried at times that we were running out of books pace and there was no possible way for everything to get wrapped up. Again, glad to report, nothing to be nervous about! Marie Rutkoski did an amazing job of making sure that everything was addressed and handled, I was left with no questions unanswered.
While reading, I had all kinds of serious feels and emotions. The story was SO GOOD, and it’s a total compliment to the author that I was drawn into it enough to basically experience every available emotion known to man. Below is my attempt at outlining some of them, for our reading and viewing pleasure.
When Arin was just sitting around accepting that Kestrel “hated” him, and that that was an okay thing, I was FURIOUS. Why couldn’t he see the glaring signs that everyone else could see? Way to be blinded by love, Arin. Now, STOP IT and go get your girl.
The state that Kestrel was in upon her rescue was INFURIATING. I mean, come on, WE WERE SO CLOSE, SOOOOO CLOSE, and now this. No! JUST NO!
Then I thought all was well because YAY, Kestrel and Arin were totally into each other again, and despite the whole war thing happening, I was HAPPY.
But OF COURSE everything in the world just seemed to want to tear them apart and all was doomed. I guess I shouldn’t have really been surprised by this, but MADDENING nonetheless!
Also, Kestrel finally standing up for herself and being a total badass, EMPOWERING! YASSSS, girl power and all that. Own it, Kestrel, OWN IT.
Kestrel’s father – HATRED! I’ll just put this here… it explains my thoughts and emotions well enough.
LASTLY, dear Roshar, please be my friend in real life. Originally I was not a fan of Roshar, but damn did my mind change! He is one of my favorite characters ever. So hilarious, I love everything that he does and everything that he says. When he demands his tent back after Kestrel and Arin – ahem – commandeer it for the night, I giggled so hard my sides hurt. I could practically picture the face he was making, and it was just wonderful.
Overall, I am so sad that this series is over and I can’t experience it for the first time again. So much love for this whole story, and so much love for the way things ended. Now, my only option is to force everyone I know to read it so I can keep talking about it. If you haven’t read this, or the series, yet – GET TO IT!
Who is your favorite character from this series?
Were you happy with how everything ended up for Kestrel and Arin?