The Winner’s Kiss

by Marie Rutkoskiwinnerskiss
First sentence: “He told himself a story.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime
Content: There’s some sexytimes, but it’s tastefully off screen. Mostly. I am toying with moving this to the Teen section (grades 9+). (I hate doing that, especially since the other two are really pretty firmly in my 6-8th grade range. But, I also don’t want one in the Teen section and the other two in the YA section, so I may just move them all, or keep this one in YA. Frustrating.)

Spoilers for the first two, obviously.  Also: I still hate these covers with a passion. I mean, they’re pretty and all, but they’re NOT the books.

Kestrel has been arrested as a traitor to her country and shipped off to a work camp in the frozen tundra. Arin is still reeling from betrayal, when Kestrel rejected him and is throwing himself into his alliance with the Dacrans, determined to beat Valoria out of his country once and for all. He’s still in love with Kestrel, but she doesn’t seem to return his affections.

Both are determined to make the best of their situation. Both are determined to exact vengeance upon the leaders of Valoria, which includes Kestrel’s father. Neither are prepared for the directions that goal will lead them.

I don’t want to give more away from the plot (though if you’re smart, you can make some assumptions from the content…), but I’ll say this. It’s a good ending. I liked how Rutkoski wrapped things up, giving the story a complete finish, while not giving us every single little detail about the future. I love how she gave both Arin and Kestrel moments to shine, moments to grow, moments to be complex and do the unexpected. I liked that there was palpable tension, not necessarily between people but in situations. I found myself biting my nails, hoping things worked out okay. I loved how no one was black or white, and that even the bad guys were complex and interesting.

I’m definitely sad that this series is ending. It was definitely a good story.

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