THE WINNER'S KISS
by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy (Book 3)
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 29, 2016)
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 12 hours and 13 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Publisher: Listening Library
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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 than she did for him.Guys. I cannot describe to you my love for this series. And how rare is it that a trilogy is amazing all the way to the end?? I read The Winner's Kiss a few months ago, and I could not WAIT to "read" it again on audio. When I finally got the audiobook, I dropped everything, and immersed myself in this book again.
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?
Here are Sara's thoughts on the book, which I TOTALLY agree with, then read about why you should listen to this series on audio at the end! ~ Andye
It is time for you to prepare your feels and emotions! Maybe load up on Kleenex and some chocolate as well. Marie Rutkoski has exceeded our expectations, well, mine anyways, with the PERFECT ending to the PERFECT series.
The Winner's Kiss picks up right where Winner's Crime left off - right in the middle of action and suspense. Kestrel has been sent to the work camps as punishment for her treason against the the Valorians, and Arin is fighting hard to defend the Herrani. Arin is beside himself with grief, worry, and wonder as to where Kestrel is and what really happened that caused her to be sent to the work camps. All the while, the inevitable battle between Valoria and Herrani is coming ever closer.
This story was so beautifully written. The words flowed effortlessly to tell a dynamic tale of love, loss, grief, and hope. My love for Kestrel and Arin (both separate and together) knows no bounds. Kestrel might be one of the best YA heroines ever written. She is tough, strong, brave, and brilliant. She was taught to be a thinker and that is one of her strongest gifts. I really enjoyed seeing her character grow and mature as the books went on. As she grew stronger and more confident, we were reminded that was still very much human with real emotions and feelings.
Arin... oh, my dear, sweet Arin. My heart broke for him throughout most of this series. He is such an amazing character, very deep and complex. He struggles with trying to blame himself for what happened to Kestrel while trying to understand his feelings for her. On top of that, he is the leader of the Herrani people and knows he must defend his people against the Valorians. So much pressure!
The plot line for this book was amazing. It did not ever slow down, nor did it ever lag. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering, "Are they going to get together?! What is going to happen?! Will Arin learn he is not the cause for Kestrel going to the work camp? AAAHH!" Every question was answered and then some, nothing was left for me to wonder about. Marie did the most amazing job of wrapping this up in the prettiest package ever. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. It deserves all of the stars in the sky. Everyone needs to get their hands on this book, check it out from the library, pre-order it, borrow from a friend (if you have a friend that will lend you the book!) and read it today. Then let me know you read it and we can gush over it together.
I have a pattern with this series of reading the book very early, then listening to the audiobook right before publication. I love this because 1, I get to revisit a world I love, and 2, it refreshes my memory of everything before I write about it. I absolutely love these audiobooks. Justine Eyre is an incredible narrator, who brings this world to life. She has used different combinations of accents to come up with new accents for the characters, and I absolutely love that! Each character is so distinct and so perfect, and read with such feeling! After listening to this series SO MANY TIMES (seriously, guys, I'm obsessed), hearing Justine read the opening lines of TWK was like hearing a song that triggers a memory of something you loved. That's the only way I can describe it. I love this series, I love this world, I love these characters. I will listen to these books over and over for the rest of my life.
Thank you Marie, Macmillan, and Listening Library for giving me this amazing experience!