The Winner’s Kiss – Review // Flawed, But Still a Good Conclusion

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Book 3 in The Winner’s Trilogy
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 484
Format: hardcover
Source: gifted
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


plot: 14/20
characters: 15/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 15/20
twists: 16/20

After being a bit disappointed by The Winner’s Crime, I was both excited and nervous to read this book. My emotions for it shifted as I read, and now that I’ve finished I can say it was good but also underwhelming. I did like The Winner’s Kiss, but I didn’t love it the way I had hoped to. :/


Kestrel remains one of my favorite female leads. I’ve said before that I really like how she’s an amazing strategist and only an ordinary fighter, and that her passion is playing the piano. It makes her very unique, and in turn it makes her plans more intriguing and unexpected, which I loved. One thing I really liked reading was how she coped and overcame the obstacles thrown in her path. I can’t specify, but if you’ve read The Winner’s Crime then you know it didn’t end so well for her. That carried into the start of this book, and I hurt and healed vicariously through her. And when she did recover, it was gradual and weakened her. I liked seeing that because it’s much more realistic than a quick recovery and return to her previous self. πŸ™‚

In the start of this book, Sarsine plays a bigger role than she did in prior books. I can’t say much, but for just about the entire story I thought her friendship with Kestrel was the best oneΒ of all. πŸ˜‰

I know I’ve mentioned in my other reviews that I loved the world of Valoria, and that didn’t change here. It was exposed as much more brutal, but there was still a sort of twisted beauty in it I couldn’t ignore. I also got to explore more of Herran, Arin’s native country, and I loved it just as much, maybe even more than Valoria. It was an impoverished place but it was beautiful, both in scenery and in the ways of its people. I really liked getting to know more about it. πŸ™‚

The first 150 and last 100 pages were an exciting, unpredictable ride. I tried and failed to guess what would happen, and found myself surprised often. I liked the pacing in these sections, how there was a good balance of intensity and calm. πŸ˜€


First thing I want to mention is that I don’t understand why people love Roshar. I liked him sometimes, but mostly I thought he was kind of irritating. :/

I didn’t really like Arin, either. The only thing left in him from earlier books that I liked was his determination. In my opinion, he completely lost his charisma. He didn’t seem to like any plan that went against his own, and in battle he turned kind of reckless, almost crazy. His temper seemed to be more controlled and I did like that, but instead of anger he spent time blaming himself for Kestrel’s situation. I didn’t mind that he felt bad, but I think he focused on it a bit too much. :/

And because I didn’t like Arin as much, I couldn’t bring myself to like his romance with Kestrel. It was less of a forbidden romance due to the situation change, but with a lot of challenges in the way as a result of their actions in The Winner’s Crime. They both had feelings for the other that they tried to hide, and normally I would’ve been all over that and loving it. But Arin worried so much and fought Kestrel on just about all of her ideas, especially when she would play a part. There’s being worried, and then there’s being controlling, and Arin was closer to the second. I’m glad Kestrel was stubborn enough to resist. >.<

The middle chunk of the book was probably the most disappointing. While I did like the first 150 and last 100 pages, the remaining section became boring and repetitive after a few chapters. There were about 230 pages that didn’t really hold my interest, and I found myself trying to read faster to get through them. :/


It might not seem like I enjoyed this book, but I did. The Winner’s Kiss was a good end to the trilogy, just somewhat flawed. I wouldn’t say it’s an all-time favorite, on its own or as a trilogy, but it was definitely entertaining to read. I think my favorite book was The Winner’s Curse, then this, and then The Winner’s Crime. πŸ™‚

I would recommend this to you if you enjoyed The Winner’s Crime! If you haven’t read the series yet, I’d recommend it to fans of The Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen and/or the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson! πŸ™‚

my rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! πŸ™‚


I’m off to draft more posts, play games with my family, and hopefully start readingΒ As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka. πŸ˜› I hope you all have a fabulous day/night, and happy 2017! ❀

Until next time…


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3 thoughts on “The Winner’s Kiss – Review // Flawed, But Still a Good Conclusion

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