Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: The Winner's Kiss

Title: The Winner's Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #3
Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Release Date: March 2016

Source: I borrowed a physical copy from the public library
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Goodreads summary:


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?


My review:


This is the final book, so I'm skipping over the summary.

I love Arin. He's wonderful and compassionate and so forgiving and selfless.

Oh, and the politics and intrigue! Oh this story ended so well! I don't want to go into anything that would give the story away, but I do want to highlight what made me rate this installment higher than the previous two.

Most YA series (specifically trilogies, I don't know why) end vaguely and years after the fact. Take Hunger Games. It ends about twenty years after the final act with some sense of "I feel like I can be normal but maybe not but we'll see." So many books end this way. Allegiant ended very brokenly, and while I cried in that book, I needed more concreteness. Think of it like life: we may feel broken on the inside, but life keeps going around us and we're forced to face it.

The Winner's Kiss faced it. 

The ending carried through after the final "act." It showed the weeks following the ending for the characters. Yes, there were many emotional moments of division and misunderstanding, but the characters pushed through because life wasn't waiting around for them. I love that Rutkoski let the novel keep going after the fact because that's how we all live. We get accepted into college, we land a great job, there isn't a huge stain on the shirt we pulled on in the dark without checking, and these moments make us feel victorious, but we are expected to live the way we were before.

Life goes on, and I'm so glad this story did to let us get a glimpse of how we somehow need to function in society again even though, with this series over, THERE IS NO MORE ARIN AND WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF?!

But read it. No, really. Die slowly on the inside with me. It's wonderful. 

Rating: 5 / 5 stars



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