Review: The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Kiss – Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #3
Published: March 29th 2016
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five-stars

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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When you think series end you immediately start to internally panic. Whether it is a book or a movie or a TV show an ender can only go one of two ways. You can either be blown away by how the author/writer/director ended things or you can be so disappointed that the series will forever be ruined. I have had both happen and the disappointment sucks. Insert The Winner’s Kiss. Having been late to the party with the series I became an immediate fan after reading The Winner’s Curse. I then devoured The Winner’s Crime and was itching to see how everything would unfold. Would I be over the moon with perfection or would I be broken and sad because the ending didn’t meet my expectations. The verdict? Marie went above and beyond because The Winner’s Kiss was utter perfection and possibly the best of the series.

Holy book filled with action! If you read the other two books you saw it coming as everything was leading up to all of this, but it still didn’t stop my heart from almost beating out of my chest. Everything in The Winner’s Kiss was done in a way that unfolded the story beautifully but made me terrified to turn a page as I never knew what was going to happen. The lives of Arin and Kestrel were vastly different from the first book and so much more was at stake based on everything they had been through. But seriously it was all so fantastic. Even the parts that made my heart stop with worry or love or sadness or joy.


The trouble with a 3rd book a lot of the time is the cohesion. I admit, I forget a lot about some books between releases. I remember some stuff but not everything so I love when an author can use what happened in the past parts of the story but not just list them out. Marie did this flawlessly. Everything that lead up to Arin and Kestrel being where they were was explained but in a way that didn’t feel explained. It felt like a natural progression of the story.


I mean what can I even say about Arin and Kestrel? I mentioned before that they were vastly different than they were in The Winner’s Curse. They had a lot of things happen to them that changed how they perceived the world and even each other.  But they never truly lost what made them them. I feel as a readers we really got to know these two complex characters in a way we hadn’t in the previous 2 books. Something has happened that changed their story but it made them both stronger in the end and I loved that.


I know I’m being vague. I did that on purpose as I don’t want to give away what happened in the first two books or what goes down in the third. What I can tell you is that this was Marie’s best work. I felt every emotion you can think of when reading The Winner’s Kiss. Honestly it was utter perfection. It was more than I could have hoped for in a series end and something I think every fan will love and that new fans should try out this fantastic series.

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Review: The Winner’s Crime – Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Crime – Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Macmillan
Published: March 3rd 2015
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five-stars

Following your heart can be a crime

A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless?world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.?

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

thoughts1

Well The Winner’s Crime broke me. I kid you not, it ripped my heart out and stomped on it and then handed it back to me in a puddle. It took my words for two weeks and left me demolished. So naturally I loved it.

I was late to the party for the Winner’s trilogy. I had heard a lot about The Winner’s Curse from friends but I had never jumped in. But since I started to read a wider selection of books and not just dystopian and contemporaries I finally gave it a chance. And the end just about killed me. I loved it but I didn’t know what would be in store for me with The Winner’s Crime. I was terrified and come to find out I had the right to be. I didn’t think Marie Rutkoski could hurt me anymore than she did with Curse. But that was until I read Crime. Holy crap am I broken!

I can’t go into the plot as I don’t want to give anything away for people that haven’t started the series. What I can tell you is that Arin and Kestrel are a mess. They are on different pages, not communicating and getting in each others way without even intending too. They are both so hurt by things that they aren’t seeing what is right front of them. It was super frustrating as a reader knowing what has happening and wanting to smack them both upside the head. They both made such bad decisions it was hard to still feel any sympathy for them. And then they would do these things that would just break your heart.

But even with all of that, it was the end that destroyed my soul. I mean I had nothing left when I was done. Nothing. It sucked all the life force out of me and had me rocking in the corner dying for the finale. Because honestly if Rutkoski can do this to me with book 2, I’m terrified where I’ll be with book 3.

All I can really leave you with is that this book/series is a must read. Come and join us in the pain.

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Review: The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Curse – Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Macmillan
Published: March 4th 2014
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four-half-stars

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

thoughts

I had no plans to read this book. I liked the pretty cover but that was about where it ended. The story didn’t grab my attention. But then something changed and I became curious about the book/series that everyone talks about. After questioning Twitter on what book I should read between two, I got 100% results for The Winner’s Curse. And thus began my journey of agonizing love of this series and I can now say I get the hype.

The Winner’s Curse is the story of Kestrel and Arin. Kestrel is the daughter of a highly ranked general. Kestrel has two options at her age, she can marry or join the military. Only Kestrel wants more. She has a love of music that can’t be denied. And when Kestrel ends up at a slave auction for a slave, Arin, that can sing she does something that alters her life and the lives around her, she buys Arin. But she is in for more than she bargained for with the handsome slave. Suddenly Arin is teaching her a new way to think about things and Kestrel is questioning everything she believed. The problem is that Arin has a dark secret, a secret that once found out will change everything for both him and Kestrel and everything they ever knew.

What does one even say about this book?? I’m at a loss for words. It was nothing I expected yet everything I loved. It had tension and secrets and lies and romance and attraction and fighting. It had a struggle against rules and laws and backgrounds. It had women with limited choices but refused to bend. It had great world building and an interesting clash of classes. Basically it had everything and I almost didn’t read it. The relationship between Kestrel and Arin was amazing. The push and pull and uncertainty. The major shift that changes everything. Basically perfection. And that end, what to say about that end other than GAH!!

All I can really say that hasn’t been said (okay, it probably has but whatever!) don’t be like me and miss out on this one. It was such a great story. I was purposefully vague about it to not give anything away. It is a fascinating take on classes and war and love. It is a book you just need to read and enjoy. And then become mere mortals like the rest of us clamoring for book two.

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Out March 3, 2015
Out March 3, 2015

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Stay tuned tomorrow and find out what I would pay too much for!

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