The Winner's Kiss by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss

byMarie Rutkoski

Hardcover | March 29, 2016

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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.

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?

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Winner's Trilogy, The Shadow Society, and the Kronos Chronicles, which includes The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in New York City.
Title:The Winner's KissFormat:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 8.56 × 5.84 × 1.58 inPublished:March 29, 2016Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374384738

ISBN - 13:9780374384739


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good. Definitely out of the three, the last book is the best and honestly, I liked the beginning of this book better than near the end. The beginning is pretty fast paced with a lot that occurs and by the middle of the book, it dies down a tad. There were moments where the POV switched between Arin and Kestrel very frequently, which got a bit messy for me. Overall, not a bad read.
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best one of the three This book brought the whole series to a very exciting climax and ending for this book! Maybe my favourite of the three with everything that happens in this one.
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Loved It! This series just got better from book to book and this one is so good and I just loved it!
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good I wasn't really enjoying this series at all so far, but this book made it all worth it! It was a great conclusion to the story and actually made sense most of the time. I enjoyed reading it - it had plenty of action, drama, and romance. I even had trouble putting it down in some parts!
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic Finale I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this series, and I didn't enjoy the second book ("The Winner's Crime"). However, this book I really, really liked. Finally the things I'd been hoping would happen, happened. There was drama, romance, battle. It was intense and lovely. I couldn't be happier with how the series ended given that the first book was so great, and Kestrel and Arin are such amazing characters (if flawed). I also keep admiring the beautiful and striking cover! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Conclusion to A Must-Read Trilogy! *Review contains mild spoilers of the previous books in the trilogy. After months of putting off reading The Winner's Kiss I've finished it. What a beautiful finale to one of the best fantasy trilogy I've ever read. Since this is the conclusion to a three book series I'll try not to spoil too much. My heart is happy because The Winner's Kiss couldn't have been more perfect. Marie Rutkoski's lyrical and entrancing writing throughout the trilogy had my unconditional attention. It was impossible not to be invested in the story and care for the wellbeing of the characters. They have been through so much- surviving trials and weathering hardships- I'm elated to them prevail. The sacrifices they made and the pain they withstood were worth every sweet second of victory. The POV jumped around quite a bit but there was never any doubt as to whose head we were in. I loved seeing each characters' undisguised feelings. With emotions running high and power struggles complicating matters the tension in the air was no joke. Nothing was simply black and white. Arin, Kestrel and company had to really use their wit to persevere. For all the suffering Kestrel endured I wanted vengeance for her. Especially on her father given the way he turned his back on his own flesh and blood. It wasn't easy though so I loved how Ms. Rutkoski presented the warring feelings within Kestrel. His death wouldn't have made her hurt less. The emperor, on the other hand, got exactly what he deserved. Clever of Kestrel to employ his own games against him. Marie Rutkoski ends the trilogy on a very satisfying note. I definitely see threads of possibilities for spin-off series which I definitely wouldn't mind. Hopefully some day Marie Rutkoski will let us revisit this keen world. If you're a fantasy lover, I can't say enough good things to push you to read The Winner's Trilogy. A must-read.
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing conclusion to a GREAT series Loved the book and the WHOLE series! Had me hooked for a good month (since I binge read all 3 :)) Great conclusion though the part when she was at the slave camp was very rough and I was so shaken after reading that but after it was just the wait of them getting together that got me so annoyed (but for good reason). But otherwise loved the plot and thank you Marie Rutkoski for an amazing and heart wrenching series!!! Recommend to Throne of Glass and Red Queen fans!!!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favorite series! Loved this book but there was something missing for me.
Date published: 2017-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Series! A great ending to an incredible series! I absolutely love all the characters, Kestrel is such a badass and Arin has my heart
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Utterly Destroyed I loved every word of this damn book. I couldn't put it down. The writing style, the characters, the conflict, the heartache; it was so perfect. I am completely and utterly destroyed and I want more.
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT TRILOGY This trilogy started off with just fancy dress parties in the beginning with the first book but things picked up once the plans were revealed and suddenly we're at the last book where full blown war has been declared. Krestal is in no better of a place than she was when the second book ended and I love seeing her preserve through everything. I think the love story with her and Arin is made even stronger because of the earlier events in the third book and because there's a revelation made with the both of them from the events in the second book. Her relationship with her dad is complicated but I like how the author tied that up at the end. A great trilogy absolutely worth reading (even if the first book was a little slow to start off with)
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Finish to the Trilogy The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski is a stunning, fast-paced trilogy loaded with action, political intrigue and romance. Taking place in the conquered territory of the Empire, The Winner’s Trilogy follows the stories of Kestrel, the daughter of the General who conquered the Herrani people, and Arin, a Herrani slave who seeks to reinstate his once proud people as the rulers of their own lands. Kestrel is trapped, and slowly losing herself to despair, and a drug designed to destroy her. Arin is aimless, fighting a war without any real cause, oblivious to the fact that Kestrel is slowly slipping away – soon, the rumours of her death won’t be exaggerated. After what seems like an eternity of willful ignorance, Arin realizes the truth and races to save Kestrel, only to find her mind seemingly destroyed and her memories gone. As Kestrel tries to piece together her life, and fill in the holes in her life, Arin loses himself, piece by piece, as he gives himself to the war, and to the girl who barely remembers him. It’s breathtakingly sad, even heartbreaking, to see the two finally together, but with a seemingly impossible void between them. However, as Kestrel heals, she slowly finds her way back to Arin, who would do anything to help the girl he loves regain herself, even if it means losing her. But there are secrets – forgotten by Kestrel – that even Arin doesn’t know. Soon, the two find themselves in the heart of the war, plotting the downfall of the Empire, while all the while, Kestrel’s memory slips back into place, and she must make some difficult decisions. I loved how sweet Kestrel and Arin’s relationship was in The Winner’s Kiss was. Right from the moment he rescues her, Arin is willing to do anything Kestrel needs, even if it means giving her up. He’s primarily concerned with her well-being, pushing his feelings for her aside in order to make sure her needs are met. Then, as Kestrel’s memories start to return and the two drift together, Arin is hesitant, and sweet, but still willing to give Kestrel the time she needs to find her own way, rather than forcing his feelings upon her. Overall, The Winner’s Kiss was, at its core, a story about love and finding oneself – the war was more of a side story in comparison. However, like its predecessors, The Winner’s Kiss was did have lots of political intrigue and action, only this time, they weren’t the guiding motivations behind the plot. I enjoyed seeing these two selfless characters finally be selfish, and make decisions for themselves, rather than for the ideals of their people (5/5).
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from !!!!! A fantastic conclusion to a fantastic trilogy.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from <3 I am so happy with this finale to an amazing trilogy! I loved the ending! Can't say too much because its the 3rd book but action packed and fun and amazing.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was a great conclusion to the trilogy, all of the loose ends got resolved. I love Kestrel and Arin as a couple so much, I wish there was more books! Such a great series :)
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I'm very disappointed in this series as a whole. I really liked The Winner's Curse and rated it four stars. Kestrel was a very likeable character; unfortunately, I haven't seen her again since the end of that book. Book 2 was also a 2 star for me but I had high hopes for book 3. Here is the entry from my reading journal at page 357: "He looked ready to say that Arin was being needlessly dramatic". I think Arin and Kestrel have both been needlessly dramatic through 2/3 of this book. It's frustrating and irritating. The first third was action-packed and riveting (I read it in a few hours). Then it got boring. Half the book is filled with poetic internal dialogue. It's hard to tell the two of them apart when they prattle on inside their heads. I don't remember them being like this in the first 2 books. I've been skimming the last third and can't wait til it ends! By the time "Kestrel" showed up again, I just didn't care about either of them anymore. I can see where others could have loved these books but I guess I am just too pragmatic, maybe. I like for people to speak openly and plainly and they both took 20 words to say what could have been said in five (to themselves!)
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Conclusion! As many of you know, The Winner's Trilogy has been one of my favorite series since the very beginning. Even before the first book came out. Marie Rutkoski is a brilliant writer. I was so excited to be able to get an advance copy from Macmillan that I was beyond excited to be able to review it! When I finished the series it did not prepare for what I thought would happen but it was better. My heart felt way better after reading Kestrel and Arin's story. I loved getting back into this world because after a year of waiting after The Winner's Crime, it was great to get into the story. It well worth the wait. From the very first pages until the very last page The Winner's Kiss will leave you breathless because it made me cry, laugh, jump for joy and also crave for more. Marie's writing was beautiful, exquisite and when she writes her characters and the relationships is amazing. It is very complex the world she has created and when you get to the end of the book you will be wanting more! The plot was excellent because it was always intriguing, detailed scenes and political strategies that were interesting. There was also Arin's cultural beliefs as well as Krestrel's disbelief was handled with respect and love. It came full circle with the entire series! The final volume to this series begins with Krestrel as a prisoner and Arin believing she is the enemy but their reunion was nothing you will expect because they do go through obstacles and struggles throughout the book. But the romance between them was OMG, that is all I'm going to say because I love this couple since the beginning and rooting for them because their dialogue and tension is flawless. Their relationship felt real because they go through communication issues, accepting their faults with their strengths and have a growing trust between them. The war is still ongoing and you will not expect what is the end result until you get to the end. Overall, The Winner's Kiss was a hit that I was very happy with it. I already need more Marie Rutkoski book already. I will be rereading this series for sure and I'm sad to see it ending but I look forward to what series she will come up with next!
Date published: 2016-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful conclusion to the series! This series is everything to me. The writing is gorgeous and so is the world. I'm ecstatic over the ending and also devastated that this series has ended. I was really worried when I picked up The Winner's Kiss. I put off reading it for a while, because the first two novels in the series destroyed me and I was most definitely worried that this last book would destroy me also. However, when I picked it up, it was a joy to be immersed in this world again and meet Arin and Kestrel. I don't really know how to review this novel without giving too much away about it. So I'll just say that this novel had some devastating parts and some happy parts. There were many times that I thought things were going to go horribly wrong. This novel was everything that I had hoped and wanted it to be. The story begins where The Winner's Crime left off and picks up from there. In some ways, the story moved both quickly and slowly at the same time. There is a lot of action that intertwines with the slower burn of executing the intellectual plans that Kestrel is known for. The characters develop some more in this novel, though Arin and Kestrel still retain those complicated parts to them that made their relationship complicated as well. I'm going to finish off this review by waxing poetic about this series. I adore these books and they're filled with things that I love: a fantasy world, beautiful writing, political intrigue, complicated relationships. If you haven't read the first book, THE WINNER'S CURSE, I urge you to do so
Date published: 2016-03-23

Editorial Reviews

"Rutkoski delivers the conclusion to this trilogy with aplomb and grace . . . The heart of this story, however, has always been Arin and Kestrel's complicated love for each other, and here their once-sizzling chemistry is replaced with real affection and attempts to truly know each another, though fans can rest assured there are still plenty of passionate encounters in this satisfying conclusion." -The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books