Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)

Some kisses come at a price.

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 hate to say it, but The Winner's Kiss was my least favorite book in The Winner Trilogy. Considering the fact that this has been one of my fave series in recent years that makes me feel a little bit disappointed, however that doesn't mean that I didn't really enjoy it. I just didn't get the heart pounding, super dramatic conclusion that I had been expecting. The Winner's Kiss was a slowly developing story, with the Kestrel/Arin dynamic completely changed in a way that I didn't exactly love.

Now don't get me wrong, I loved the two of them in this book. How could I not - Arin is like my #1 YA swoony guy and Kestrel is and always has been a very strong character, but lets just say she is not herself in this book and I feel like the characters that I had taken two books to get to know just turned 180 degrees on me. What I did enjoy was the freedom that they had (from about a third in) to be themselves and explore their feelings, but this new setting also took a bit of the sexiness out of the pairing, that tension that they had kept hidden because they needed to.

But don't get me wrong, this book was thrilling. There were battles that seemed impossible, obstacles to face and in the end, a battle of wits and a cunning plan. Everything came together seamlessly in that way that I have come to expect from this author, and I didn't exactly feel unfulfilled. I just felt somewhat that I had gone in with too high expectations and this book just couldn't reach them.

It was still brilliant, I still really enjoyed it, but the changed dynamics and the change in setting and the characters changing just didn't exactly do it for me, so I can only give this book four stars. The other two were five star rated.

Book released 24th Marh 2016 by Bloomsbury Children
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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