March 28, 2017

The Winner's Kiss: A Rambling Review

25526307The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

An excellent final book in the series! Marie Rutkoski was not afraid to put her characters in dark, dangerous situations with the odds stacked against them. She certainly didn't make things easy for Kestrel and Arin. I also really appreciate the way she showed how relationships are not neat, black-and-white, clean-cut things, but full of uncertainty and emotions that don't necessarily make sense, and that one may not want to even acknowledge.

I did think that the book could have been tightened somewhat; the first half became somewhat repetitive in its exploration of Kestrel and Arin's relationship, and the second half had a few too many battle (and battle preparation) scenes for my liking. (Battle scenes are always quite hard for me to picture, and so they don't do all that much for me as a reader.)

I thought it was clever the way the climactic scene was structured, split between what Kestrel was involved in and what Arin was up to (and plus, I liked how Kestrel's plan involved an element introduced earlier in the book). Also, the opening part of the book, detailing the treatment of Kestrel in the mines (and the psychological toll of that), really made me feel for her and was a way to create conflict in the Kestrel/Arin relationship without relying on a cliche such as a love triangle or "star-crossed lovers."

One thing I would have liked would have been more discussion of the whole issue of slavery; this largely seems to get dropped from the narrative, given the pressing issue of the war going on, but given how very recently the Herrani had been slaves to the Valorians, I think realistically that tensions surrounding that would have been high.



  1. I get so happy when the third or final book in a series is good. I liked this one a lot and I'm glad you did too. Great review!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  2. Yay, so glad you enjoyed this one too. I really wanted an epilogue after reading this. Perhaps that's where the slavery issue could have been discussed more?

    1. I hadn't thought about an epilogue, but that might have worked! I just felt like the issue kinda got forgotten about.

  3. Battle scenes do nothing for me, either. I loved the first two books in the series and unfortunately read this one when I was in a reading slump hoping it would get me back into reading. But instead I just felt so detached and I am annoyed at myself for not saving it up until I was in the right mood as I think I ruined it for myself. I didnt star rate it on GR bc I think my own mood affected how I felt (which was detached despite thinking the plot went interesting places). I do want to go back and reread one day :) It has been one of my recent fave series, though!

    1. Aw, I'm sorry to hear it! I totally know what it's like for your mood to affect a reading experience, I've had it happen many times to me. When I was in grad school I didn't have much time/energy for reading and so when I did, it was often in bits and pieces, and then I would forget what was going on in the story or who all the characters were and often I just didn't end up really caring about them. This happened to me with Throne of Glass – it seriously took me about a month to finish that book, and I literally fell asleep sometimes after reading just a few pages because I was just. so. tired. So that definitely affected my perception of the book.

      Other books if I'm just not feeling in the mood for them, I'll just DNF. Sometimes I'll pick them up later and try again, and they work for me (it has happened! Like recently, with A Face Like Glass. Actually, The Winner's Curse itself was one that I DNFed originally... I tried to read it during my grad program. *shakes fist at grad school*).

  4. It's quite a challenge to set the stage in a story and not be repetitive. The fact that people enjoyed the third book means the writer did something right. I usually find the last book in a series disappointing.

  5. I have not started this series, but I have heard great things about it. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this book. Always good to know the final book is worth the read. :)


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