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

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

4.7 10
by Marie Rutkoski

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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


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?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Winner’s Kiss is intoxicating—a brilliant balance of love, power, and sacrifice—delivered with Rutkoski’s addicting sensual prose. A perfect ending to an amazing series.” —Mary Pearson, New York Times–bestselling author of the Remnant Trilogy

The Winner's Curse:

"The Winner's Curse teeters on a knife-sharp edge between devastatingly romantic one moment and simply devastating the next. Marie Rutkoski has captivated me . . . and left me positively desperate to see how Kestrel and Arin's story will play out." —Marissa Meyer, New York Times–bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles series

"Brilliant plotting and absolutely gorgeous writing combine to make The Winner's Crime a standout, but it is the complex, deeply layered characters . . . that cracked my heart wide open. It left me breathless and craving more. A truly unforgettable read!" -Robin LaFevers, New York Times-bestselling author of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph

"Every line in The Winner's Curse is beautifully written. The story is masterfully plotted. The characters' dilemmas fascinated me and tore at my heart. This book gave me a rare and special reading experience." -Kristin Cashore, New York Times-bestselling author of the Graceling Realm books

"The Winner's Curse is breathtaking, a lyrical triumph in YA fantasy. Marie Rutkoski writes with tremendous power and has created an epic of fearless beauty. This book should not be missed." -Ann Aguirre, New York Times & USA Today-bestselling author of the Razorland trilogy

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Winner's Trilogy Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.70(d)
HL590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Winner's Kiss

The Winner's Trilogy: Book Three

By Marie Rutkoski

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2016 Marie Rutkoski
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-374-38474-6


He told himself a story.

Not at first.

At first, there wasn't time for thoughts that came in the shape of words. His head was blessedly empty of stories then. War was coming. It was upon him. Arin had been born in the year of the god of death, and he was finally glad of it. He surrendered himself to his god, who smiled and came close. Stories will get you killed, he murmured in Arin's ear. Now, you just listen. Listen to me.

Arin did.

His ship had sped across the sea from the capital. Now it nosed in among the fleet of eastern ships docked in his city's bay, nimble sloops of war, flying their queen's colors of blue and green. The sloops were Arin's, at least for now. The Dacran queen's gift to her new allies. The ships were not as many as Arin would have liked. Not as heavy with cannon as he would have liked.



Arin told his ship's captain to sidle up along the largest of the Dacran sloops. After giving his captain orders to dock and find Arin's cousin in the city, Arin boarded the sloop. He approached the commander of the eastern fleet: Xash, a lean man with an unusually high-bridged nose and brown skin gleaming in the late spring sun.

Arin looked into Xash's eyes — black, always narrowed, and lined with the yellow paint that indicated his status as naval commander. It was as if Xash already knew what Arin would say. The easterner smiled slightly.

"They're coming," Arin said.

He explained how the Valorian emperor had arranged for the water supply to Herran's city to be slowly poisoned. The emperor must have sent someone months ago into the mountains near the aqueduct's source. Even from the deck of Xash's ship, Arin could see the arched trail of the Valorian-built aqueduct. It was faint in the distance, snaking down from the mountains, carrying something that had weakened the Herrani, making them sleep and shake.

"I was seen in the capital," Arin told Xash. "A Valorian ship chased mine almost to the Empty Islands. We must assume that the emperor knows that I know."

"What happened to the ship?"

"It turned back. For reinforcements, probably — and the emperor's orders." Arin spoke this man's language in a clipped tone, his accent heavy, the syllables quick and hard. The language was new to him. "He'll strike now."

"What makes you so sure there's poison in the city's aqueducts? Where did you get this information?"

Arin hesitated, unsure of the Dacran words for what he wanted to say. "The Moth," he answered in his own language.

Xash narrowed his eyes even more.

"A spy," Arin said in Dacran, finally finding the right word. He spun the gold ring on his smallest finger and thought of Tensen, his spymaster, and how the Valorian ship that had followed him could be a sign that Tensen had been arrested even as Arin had left the imperial palace. The old man had insisted on staying behind. He could have been caught. Tortured. Forced to speak. Arin imagined what the Valorians would have done ...

No. The god of death set a cold hand on Arin's thoughts and curled tight around them. You're not listening, Arin.


"I need paper," Arin said out loud. "I need ink."

Arin drew his country for Xash. He sketched Herran's peninsula swiftly, his pen sweeping the curves. He hatched the islands scattered south of the peninsula's tip, peppering the sea between Herran and Valoria. He tapped Ithrya, a large, rocky island that created a thin strait between them and the peninsula's tip. "The spring currents in the strait are strong. Difficult to sail against. But if a Valorian fleet's coming, this is the route they'll take."

"They'll take a strait that's hard to navigate?" Xash was skeptical. "They could sail around the three islands and turn north to hug the peninsula all the way up to your city."

"Too slow. Merchants love that strait. This time of year, the currents are strongest, and push ships from Valoria right up to Herran's doorstep. Shoots them fast through the strait. The emperor expects to attack a weakened city. He doesn't expect resistance. He'll see no reason to wait for what he wants." Arin touched east of Ithrya Island and the peninsula's end. "We can hide here, half the fleet just east of the peninsula, half on the eastern side of the island. When the Valorian fleet comes through, they'll come through fast. We'll flank them and attack from either side. They won't be able to retreat, no matter what the winds. If they try to sail back into the strait, the currents will spit them out."

"You've said nothing of numbers. We're not a large fleet. Flanking the Valorians means splitting our fleet in half. Have you ever been in a sea battle?"


"I hope you don't mean that one in this bay the night of the Firstwinter Rebellion."

Arin was silent.

"That was in a bay," Xash sneered. "A pretty little cradle with gentle winds for rocking babies to sleep. It's easy to maneuver here. We are talking about a battle on the open sea. You are talking about weakening our fleet by cutting it in half."

"I don't think the Valorian fleet will be large."

"You don't think."

"It doesn't need to be, not to attack a city whose population has been drugged into lethargy. A city," Arin said pointedly, "that the emperor believes has no allies."

"I like a surprise attack. I like the thought of pinning the Valorians between us. But your plan only works if the emperor hasn't sent a fleet that vastly outnumbers us, and can easily sink each of our flanks. It only works if the emperor truly doesn't know that Dacra" — Xash's voice betrayed his disapproval — "has allied with you. The Valorian emperor would love to crush such an alliance with an overwhelming show of naval force. If he knows we're here, he might very well send the entire Valorian fleet."

"Then a battle along the strait is better. Unless you'd rather they attack us here in the bay."

"I rule this fleet. I have the experience. You're barely more than a boy. A foreign boy."

When Arin spoke again, it wasn't with his own words. His god told him what to say. "When your queen assigned you to sail your fleet to Herran, whom did she name with the ultimate command of it? You or me?"

Xash's face went hard with fury. Arin's god grinned inside him.

"We set sail now," Arin said.

* * *

The waters east of Ithrya Island were a sheer green. But Arin, from where his ship lay in wait for the Valorian fleet, could see how the currents pushing out of the strait made a broad, almost purple rope in the sea.

He felt like that: like a dark, curling force was working through him. It flooded to the tips of his fingers and warmed him. It spread his ribs wide with each breath.

When the first Valorian ship flew out of the strait, Arin was filled with a malicious joy.

And it was easy. The Valorians hadn't expected them, clearly had no idea of the alliance. The size of the enemy fleet matched theirs. The slenderness of the strait made the Valorian ships sail out into Herran's sea by twos. Easy to pick off. The eastern fleet drove at them from either side.

Cannonballs punched the hulls. The gundecks fogged the air with black smoke. It smelled like a million burnt matches.

Arin boarded his first Valorian ship. He seemed to watch all this as if from outside himself: the way his sword cut a Valorian sailor apart, and then another, and on until his blade was oiled red. Blood sprayed him across the mouth. Arin didn't taste it. Didn't feel the way his dagger hand plunged into someone's gut. Didn't wince when an enemy sword crossed his guard and sliced his bicep.

Arin's god slapped him across the face.

Pay attention, death demanded.

Arin did, and after that, no one could touch him.

When it was done, and Valorian wrecks were taking on water and the rest of the enemy ships had been seized, Arin could see straight again. He blinked against the lowering sun, its light an orange syrup that glazed the fallen bodies and gave the blood an odd color.

Arin stood on the deck of a captured Valorian ship. His breath heaved and hurt in his chest. Sweat dripped into his eyes.

The enemy captain was dragged before Xash.

"No," Arin said. "Bring him to me."

Xash's eyes were bright with anger. But the Dacrans did what Arin asked, and Xash let them.

"Write a message to your emperor," Arin said to the Valorian captain. "Tell him what he's lost. Tell him he'll pay if he tries again. Use your personal seal. Send the message and I'll let you live."

"How noble," Xash said, contemptuous.

The Valorian said nothing. He was white-lipped. Yet again Arin marveled at how the Valorian reputation for bravery and honor so often fell short of the truth.

The man wrote his message.

Are you really a boy, like Xash says? the god asked Arin. You've been mine for twenty years. I raised you.

The Valorian signed the scrap of paper.

Cared for you.

The message was rolled, sealed, and pushed into a tiny leather tube.

Watched over you when you thought you were alone.

The captain tied the tube to a hawk's leg. The bird was too large to be a kestrel. It didn't have a kestrel's markings. It cocked its head, turning its glass-bead eyes on Arin.

No, not a boy. A man made in my image ... one who knows he can't afford to be seen as weak.

The hawk launched into the sky.

You're mine, Arin. You know what you must do.

Arin cut the Valorian's throat.

* * *

It was when Arin was sailing home into his city's bay, his hair hard with dried blood, his clothes stiff with it, that the story slipped inside him. It lay on his tongue and melted like a bitter candy.

This is the story Arin told.

Once there was a boy who knew how to cower. One night, the gods could see him locked alone inside his rooms, shaking, near vomiting with fear. He heard what was happening elsewhere in the house. Screams. Things breaking. Harsh orders, the actual words muffled yet still clearly understood by the boy, who retched in his corner.

His mother was somewhere beyond that locked door. His father. His sister. He should go to them. He said so to his pointed knees, tucked up beneath his nightshirt as he huddled on the floor. He whispered the words, voice warbling out of control. Go to them. They need you. But he couldn't move. He stayed where he was.

The door thumped. It shuddered on its hinges.

With a splintering crack, the door gave way. A foreign soldier pushed inside. The soldier's skin and hair were fair, his eyes dark. He grabbed the boy by his bony wrist.

The boy tugged madly back, but it was ridiculous, he knew how pathetic his effort was. He squawked and flailed. The soldier laughed. He shook the boy. Not very hard, more as if trying to wake the child up. Come along nicely, the soldier said in a language that the boy had studied yet never expected to use. And you won't get hurt.

Not getting hurt was very important. The mere promise of it made the child go limp with ugly relief. He followed the soldier.

He was led to the atrium. Everyone was there, the servants, too. His parents didn't see him arrive. He was so quiet. Later, he couldn't say how things would have been different if it hadn't been his sister, standing at the far side of the room, who noticed him first. He wasn't sure how he could have changed what happened after. All he knew was that at the most important moment, he had done nothing.

He'd heard there were women in the Valorian army, but the soldiers in his house that night were men. Soldiers stood on either side of his sister. She was tall, imperious. Her loose hair fell around her shoulders like a black cape. As Anireh's gaze fell upon him and her gray eyes flashed, the boy realized that he'd never before believed that she loved him. Now he knew she did.

She said something low to the Valorians. The boy heard the tone of it, musical in its mockery.

What did you say? a soldier demanded.

She said it again. The soldier seized her, and the boy understood with a sick horror that this was his fault. It was, somehow, all his fault.

They were taking his sister away. Soldiers were taking her toward a cloakroom used in winter when his family had evening guests. He'd hidden in there before. It was close and dark and airless.

This was the point in the story when Arin wished he could reach through time and put his hands over the boy's small ears. He wanted to deafen the sounds. Close your eyes, he wanted to tell that child. The echo of an old panic fluttered in Arin's chest. It was crucial that he imagine how he would stop the boy from witnessing what happened next.

Why did Arin do this to himself? It made him ache, this effort to try to change his memory of that night. It was compulsive. Sometimes he thought it hurt more than the actual truth. Yet even now, more than ten years after the Valorian invasion, Arin couldn't help thinking with desperate fervor about what he should have done differently.

What if he'd called out?

Or begged the soldiers to let his sister go?

What if he'd run to his parents, who were still unaware of his presence in the room, and stopped his father from snatching a Valorian dagger from its sheath?

Or his mother. Surely he could have saved his mother. It wasn't her nature to fight. She wouldn't have done it if she'd known he was there. He'd stared as she lunged at the soldier holding his sister. Soldiers cut his father down. The cloakroom door shut behind Anireh. A dagger sliced his mother's throat. There was a bright plume of blood.

Arin's ears were roaring. His eyes were dry rocks.

After the soldiers had yanked him shrieking off his mother's body, he was led with the servants into the city. The royal palace burned on its hill. He saw the corpses of the royal family hanging in the market, including the prince that Anireh was supposed to marry. It was possible that his sister was still alive, wasn't it? But two days later Arin would see her body in the street.

Even though it didn't seem like anything worse could happen, Arin swallowed his sobs, was silent in his terror. He did as he was told. Come along nicely, the soldier had said.

He saw an armored man stalking among his troops. Later, Arin would learn that the general had been young at the time of the invasion. But that night the man had seemed ancient, enormous: a flesh-and-metal monster.

Arin imagined how, if he could, he would kneel before the boy he had been. He'd cradle himself to his chest, let the child bury his wet face against his shoulder. Shh, Arin would tell him. You will be lonely, but you'll become strong. One day, you will have your revenge.

* * *

What had happened with Kestrel was not the worst thing. It did not compare.

Arin thought about this as his ship, with the rest of his victorious fleet, dropped anchor in Herran's moonlit bay. He ran a thumb along the scar that cut down through his left brow and into the hollow of his cheek. Rubbed at the line of raised flesh. A recent habit.

No, it didn't hurt anymore to think about Kestrel. He'd been a fool, but he'd had to forgive himself for worse. Sister, father, mother. As for Kestrel ... Arin had some clarity on who he was: the sort of person who trusted too blindly, who put his heart where it didn't belong.

She might even be married to the Valorian prince by now. She was playing her games at court. No doubt winning. Maybe her father would write to her from the front and ask for more of the same excellent military advice she had given him when she'd condemned hundreds of people in the eastern plains to starvation.

Arin used to clutch his head in disgusted wonder at how fascinated he'd once been by the daughter of the Valorian general. He used to sting at her rejection. Now, though, the thought of Kestrel gave him a cold relief. Ice on a bruise.

Gratitude. Because she meant nothing to him. Wasn't that a gods-given gift, to remember her and feel nothing? Or if he felt something, it was really no more than the way it was to touch his scar and marvel at its long ridge, the nerve-dead skin. Arin knew that some things hurt forever, but Kestrel wasn't one of them. She was a wound that had finally healed clean.


She had no one to blame but herself.

As the wagon trundled north, Kestrel stared at the changing landscape through the barred window. She watched mountains give way to flat lands with patches of dull, reddish grass. Long-legged white birds picked their way through shallow pools. Once, she saw a fox with a white chick dangling from its teeth and Kestrel's empty stomach clenched with longing. She would have gladly eaten that baby bird. She would have eaten the fox. Sometimes she wished she could eat herself. She'd swallow everything — her soiled blue dress, the shackles on her wrists, her puffy face. If she could eat herself up, there'd be no trace left of her or the mistakes she had made.

Awkwardly, she lifted her bound hands and knuckled her dry eyes. She thought that maybe she was too dehydrated to cry. Her throat hurt. She couldn't remember when the guards driving the wagon had last given her water.


Excerpted from The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. Copyright © 2016 Marie Rutkoski. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Winner's Curse, The Winner's Crime, The Shadow Society, and the Kronos Chronicles, which includes The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in New York City.

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The Winner's Kiss (Winner's Trilogy Series #3) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
Original Review Link: Stop. Just stop whatever you’re doing and go pick up this book. The Winner’s Kiss picks up right where The Winner’s Crime left off. Kestrel is trying to survive in the work camp while Arin is fighting his own battles (literally and figuratively) to save his country. When they’re reunited once more, they have to learn to navigate this new relationship in which they’re honest with one another while at the same time fighting enemies on all fronts and deciding who they are and who they want to be. Guys this book was everything and more. What an amazing way to end this trilogy. Kestrel and Arin have both suffered immeasurably and the repercussions of that trauma are manifested in this novel. They both have to face their past decisions and backgrounds in order to move forward. Kestrel’s experience at the work camp has changed her forever. I loved seeing her journey with it. It really was almost seeing a new character emerge. Arin at the same time is racked with guilt with what he did to Kestrel, yet driven by the need to protect her at all costs. I loved their relationship in this novel because they’re finally forced to be honest with one another–in all aspects. It allows them to grow as individuals and in their relationship. I was so happy with how their story concluded. I loved Roshar. Can I just keep him in my pocket? His self deprecating humor and charm was such a great contrast to Arin’s moodiness and Kestrel’s driven mind. I’d love to see more of him. Maybe in a future novel??? The plot moves fast. I loved the way the chapters are formatted. There are breaks throughout the chapters that alternate between Kestrel and Arin’s POV. It kept it moving quickly and your interest was peaked from the beginning. There was a lot more action in this book. They’re at war and it shows. Plenty of plot twists and heart stopping moments to satisfy any critic. The ending will leave you satisfied and wanting for more at the same time. I was so happy with how this trilogy concluded, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave these characters and this world for good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great ending, and thought that the author did a good job tying up the ending but while still leaving the reader to assume some things. Great story
Anonymous 7 months ago
I was so invested in the characters and world. This is truly a beatiful story. Its heart breaking and hopefull. The love between the two characters is pure, real, and complicated. I hope anyone who come across this series would read it.
AliceGrace More than 1 year ago
Ah, The Winner’s Kiss, such a pretty cover. After I started this book, I hardly wanted to put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next but, mostly, I needed to know when Kestrel was going to recover. Before I get into anything, know that I really enjoyed this book. The first two novels in this trilogy kept me pretty much glued to the books, but The Winner’s Kiss didn’t have the same affect. I can actually liken it to my drive to read City of Bones the first time. When I started Clare’s novel, I didn’t keep reading because of the world or the story. I kept reading because I freaking needed to see Jace and Clary finally kiss. Then I would be satisfied. With The Winner’s Kiss, I needed to see Kestrel recover. I needed her to remember everything. I needed her to be who she was before. Now, logically, there’s no way Kestrel would be the same person we knew in the first two novels. I applaud Rutkoski for showing us that trauma changes people. It leaves a mark on people and it isn’t easily healed. She elegantly shows us that even though someone we love betrays us, it still isn’t easy to let go of them. Kestrel’s father betrayed her in a nearly unforgivable way. On the flip side, I’m sure he felt the same way when he found out that she had switched sides. This doesn’t excuse his actions though. He allowed her to go to a prison camp that he knew would destroy her. His power was more important than his love for her. This prison camp did destroy her. The Kestrel we followed through the first two books only emerged in pieces. The Kestrel in book three is nothing more than a ghost of the character we were originally introduced to. That’s not to say she doesn’t have any depth, just that she was extremely different. I don’t have any issues with how this was executed. I thought the process of her losing her memories and attaining them (or parts of them) was handled quite well. Unfortunately, I felt like having Kestrel lose her memories was dissatisfying as a reader. It would have been much more interesting and heart-wrenching to watch a Kestrel who remembered everything overcome her grief. It would have been much more satisfying watching Kestrel and Arin overcome a past they both remembered instead of having to watch Kestrel fall in love with him again. I didn’t have any issues with the battles or the politics of the book. Arin’s personal journey was definitely changed because of Kestrel’s though, which made his story a bit unsatisfying as well. I wanted to see them both struggle with each other even as they worked on the same side in a way that they could only fight if Kestrel remembered everything. This here, is the crux of my feelings about this book. Kestrel’s journey changed everything about this book and story. In some ways, she grew a lot as a person, but I can’t help but feel that her journey was cheated by the fact that she couldn’t remember things anymore. Besides this, the ending was neatly done but I do feel like the story was a bit incomplete. Arin’s relationship with his god was left far too open. I didn’t feel like there was a resolution there. To add to that, Arin and his people struggled with freedom all this time for what? It didn’t feel finished for them. The Emperor and his top general may have been killed and incapacitated, but the empire was still an issue. They still wanted to enslave and defeat Arin and his people (and had the power to do so). I do feel like it was an honest ending to the book, but not to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable and entertaining . Loved it
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
*The Winner's Kiss is the third book in Rutkoski's Winner's Trilogy which begins with The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime. As such this review contains major spoilers for books one and two!* "She thought, fleetingly, that this must be what memory was for: to rebuild yourself when you lose the pieces." Arin and Kestrel should be on opposites sides in the war that is brewing between Valoria and its newly independent colony Herran. Yet, despite all appearances to the contrary they have been on the same side--that is, Kestrel has been on Arin's side--from the outset. Arin is certain that Kestrel is getting exactly what she deserves serving at the Emperor's shoulder while she watches her father prepare to make war with Herran. He's wrong. Instead, one impetuous decision has led Kestrel to the northern tundra as a prisoner. A traitor to her own country desperate to escape. Arin and Kestrel have always been bound by their decisions--deliberate acts and willful lies that have pulled them away from each other again and again. With the threat of war growing every day, both Kestrel and Arin will have to redefine victory--and trust--if they hope to find their way back to each other or the people they've worked so hard to save in The Winner's Kiss (2016) by Marie Rutkoski. The Winner's Kiss is the third book in Rutkoski's Winner's Trilogy which begins with The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime. This novel starts off soon after the climactic conclusion of book two. Arin prepares for war in Herran while Kestrel is brought to a prison work camp in the Valorian Tundra, both haunted by the decisions that have led them to this point. Rutkoski manages to strike the perfect balance between character-driven introspection and nail biting tension throughout the novel. Arin and Kestrel are broken, sometimes in small ways and sometimes larger, because of their ties to Herran and to each other. Their own attempts to heal and rebuild play out against the grand battle looming over who will control Herran moving forward. This book is the exact right conclusion for this series and the one that the characters deserve. The Winner's Kiss delivers everything readers of this trilogy have come to love and expect while expanding Arin and Kestrel's world even further with still more insights into these two shrewd and talented characters. Highly recommended. Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, A Wizard of Earth Sea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Madison-s_Library More than 1 year ago
The Winner's Kiss is an epic conclusion to the fantastic Winner's Trilogy. Heart-wrenching and awesome, every moment is tense with a mix of despair and possibility. Could Kestrel and Arin ever save their people, find safety, and possibly get their happy ending? Arin has allied with the Dacran queen. Kestrel has been discovered as a traitor to her people and has been transported to a work camp. War is looming. Marie Rutkoski has proven her ability to write engaging stories, but The Winner's Kiss cements this, with imagery so vibrant that reading this book was akin to sinking through the pages straight into the detailed world she has created. In The Winner's Kiss the perspective frequently switches from Arin to Kestrel, sometimes with each only sharing a small paragraph or two before returning to the other's view point. It makes for dramatic, edge-of-your-seat reading. It was devastating in The Winner Crime when Kestrel denied Arin in an effort to save him and his people. I was so hoping that The Winner's Kiss would give them another chance to reconnect (the whole Kiss part of the title was very encouraging). Their romance is very much a focus of this book, which I loved. Of course, there is also the ongoing war between the Herrani and Valorian nations, the treaty between the Herrani and the Dacran and the ever-present tactics and war games. But I loved the tension between Arin and Kestrel. Their chemistry is off the charts. I thought I was already in love with Arin, but this book had me head over heels for him because of his understanding and the fine balance he perfects between gentleness and a ruthlessness needed to win the war. Kestrel is, as always, the strong and determined heroine we have come to admire and there is no shortage of her tricks and devious planning. But in The Winner's Kiss we also witness a very vulnerable, hurting side to Kestrel, and I loved her all the more for her resilience. And as for that happy ending...? Well, you'll just have to read it for yourself, but this book, this whole series is most definitely worth putting on your to-read list. Very highly recommended. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A trilogy of strength , honor, love, and passion. About finding yourself and facing adversity among those who you are supposed to trust. No spolier. Read from the first book to the last. I have not been able to put down.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski Book Three of the Winner's Trilogy Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) Publication Date: March 29, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks. But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win? What I Liked: I'm just going to apologize in advance because this is probably going to be a mess of a very short review. I literally have NO clue how to review this book. Can I just say that it is an epic and STUNNING conclusion novel, and force everyone to the bookstore on March 29th for a copy? Personally, I don't think you need my review to know that this book is EPIC and perfect and the series is easily a favorite! In this final novel of the intense and riveting Winner's Trilogy, war has taken over. Arin is devoted and determined, with a single-minded focus on saving and protecting his country. He's done his best to forget the girl he loves, who is to be married to the Valorian emperor's son. But she's not - the emperor sent Kestrel to a work camp in the tundra. Kestrel begins to lose parts of herself, and even she can't think and strategically escape out of the tundra. But fate isn't finished with Kestrel and Arin, and they play the biggest roles of the war. Did I already mention that I have no idea how to review this book? Because I definitely do not. I am afraid of saying too much, for fear of spoilers. There are spoilers of The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime, but I will do my best to keep everything about the conclusion very vague. First I will say that I LOVE how technical and specific the war tactics and strategies and battle formations and plans were. Rutkoski really did her research on wars and battles, because it really felt like we were in the middle of attack plans and strategies. Arin and Roshar (eastern prince and best friend of Arin) are excellent commanders, and Arin especially has a great mind for battle. Oh Arin. His character development throughout the entire series, but especially this book, was beautiful and heartbreaking and so well-written. He wants to forget Kestrel; he wants to destroy anyone who gets in his way to take over Herran; he wants to keep Herran safe even after the war. He believes in his god, the god of death, but he struggles with how battle lust gets to him. I adore Arin, and probably the most in this book, of the series. I think I liked Kestrel the most, of the series, in this book as well. Rutkoski really breaks her down in this book. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
After that ending of The Winner's Crime, I was dying to get my greedy hands on this book and I could never have expected what we got. The feels start right from the beginning and it's a rollercoaster that lasts the entire book. I have loved Kestrel and Arin and I loved seeing how much they've grown from book 1. They're different, yet the same. And can I please get a novella or spin off with all of the Roshar? I floved every single scene with him. Please excuse my vague review, I would never want to spoil this for anyone. Marie has created an amazing world and she's given us quite a ride. This book is a perfect example of how you end a trilogy. **Huge thanks to Macmillan for the invite to read**