The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Release Date: March 29th 2016

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?


The Winner’s Kiss was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it did not disappoint. The Winner’s Kiss picks up right where the Winner’s Crime ends, in the mist of war. This book is a very action and war heavy, especially compared to book one.

While I did enjoy all the war strategy and war scenes there were times where I did wish for a bit more romance. Kestrel is a fighter, she conquers her fears and is very clever and smart. Her strengths shine in this last book, she is faced with terrible circumstances and must overcome them. Arin is one of my favorite male leads. His love for Kestrel is a driving force that pushes the plot forward. As far as pacing goes, The Winner’s Kiss is a steady fast-paced plot. The story never lulled and the stakes remained high all the way up to the very last pages.

The only thing that I was not the biggest fan of was something pertaining to Kestrel (trying to avoid spoilers). Because of this thing, certain events did not transpire the way I was hoping. I will say it was unexpected and ultimately kept me on my toe; so it was not a deal breaker but it was a bit of a bummer at first. The Winner’s Kiss was an action heavy war driven romantic end to this wonderful trilogy. I highly recommend the entire series, it is one of my favorites! 
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