Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Released March 29, 2016
Bought Hardcover
Rating: 5/5

Summary

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? (Summary from Goodreads)

Review

Since this is the third book in a series, even my non-spoilery section will have spoilers for those that haven't read the first two books yet. Now, onto my review!

I reread the first two books before this one to refresh my memory and experience the feels all over again. While my feelings were not as intense as they were the first time around, I could still feel so much emotion from Marie Rutkoski's writing. I have never been so emotionally connected with characters before. I have read books were I can certainly understand the characters and feel worried about them, but never have I felt what I imagine the characters to be feeling with such intensity. It is something about Marie's writing that gets me.

I must say that the ending was completely satisfying.  After the ending of The Winner's Crime, I thought I would never see the light of day with how all hell was breaking loose for my babies. We see Arin completely broken up inside, ready to forget about his past and become a killing machine, while Kestrel is locked away in a slave camp losing herself.  I can't say much more without seriously spoiling.

Spoilers Ahead!

After finishing The Winner's Curse the first time around, I literally dreamed about what the scene would look like when Arin rescued Kestrel and all would be right in the world again. I definitely did not expect our heroine to completely lose her freakin' memory!! ARGHHH! 

At first, I was worried that I would get annoyed, because it usually annoys me when writers make characters lose their memory and then having to read through a character explaining everything that we already know. It just seems like a waste.  HOWEVER, I felt that Arin's reaction and the way he helped her despite her trying to push him away was beautiful. Overall, I thought it was well handled by the author.

As Kestrel started being reminded of her father, I felt my anticipation building for a scene when she would face the man that cast her out to the slave camp. While Arin was thirsty for blood (and Kestrel before her feelings started changing), I secretly wanted her father show guilt over what he had done. I wanted him to beg for an apology and for Kestrel to forgive him. He didn't end up begging for an apology, but for mercy instead which is probably much more like his character. Although we know at the end that he sits comfortably in jail, I wish to if he is ever released. 

It was nice that Kestrel thought about Jess at the end of the book, and whether or not Jess would ever forgive her. I find myself wondering the same thing, but I don't think that would ever happen.

Dang I got pretty deep into this review (for me anyway)...I think that shows how much I have emotionally invested in this series. The ending was bittersweet, and I had a lot of feelings after closing the book.

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