Review: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski



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’ve loved this series since its very start and I have to say that I’m definitely not disappointed with this ending. I’ve been really busy while reading it though, I’ve had little time to read and that’s probably why I found it to be a bit slow at times, but never boring. I think the plot was really well developed throughout the trilogy, and there were so many scene in which the pace was really fast with a faster POVs alternation and it truly built the excitement and the tension.

Arin knew that some things hurt forever, but Kestrel wasn’t one of them. She was a wound that had finally healed clean.

After that heartbreaking cliffhanger in The Winner’s Curse we find Kestrel living in that work camp, trying her best to not lose herself and to find a way to escape. She broke my heart, she goes through so much but deals with it, and although broken she comes out at the end of the book a lot stronger than before. Arin, on the other hand, is trying to lead a war, a war against an enemy so much stronger than him. After everything that happened, or at least what he believes happened, with Kestrel, he can’t help but mistrust everyone, even himself, always second guessing his decisions and actions. When these two find each other again, it’s amazing. They have a lot to come to terms with, and a lot to face in their future. I found the romance to be perfectly balanced, and emotional. So emotional.

“I want better choices.” “Then we must make a world that has them.”

Roshar often lightened the mood. He’s so hilarious, and I loved the dynamic of his relationship with Arin. I wish there was a novella just about him, because he’s got great potential, and I already miss him! But this was simply a perfect ending for a unique trilogy; great job Marie!

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