Review : The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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?”  (From: Goodreads)

Title: The Winner’s Kiss 

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy, #3

Author: Marie Rutkoski 

Genres: YA, high fantasy 

Publisher: Square Fish (US), 2017

Edition: paperback, 484 pages 

He told himself a story.

This is the final book in The Winner’s trilogy.  I loved the first two books because I thought ‘strategist’ was just such a brand new idea to me!  I would give this third book three out of five stars!

Things I Liked About It 

– the writing 

I enjoyed Marie’s writing.  Her writing is enchanting.  It kept me reading and reading.

Things I Disliked About It 

– the plot 

I had trouble with Kestrel’s memory loss.  Yeah.  I know that she had been drugged, but I didn’t like that plot.

– the character 

Arin.  His hatred toward Valorian made Kestrel become a killer at heart.

“The word of a traitor is hardly to be trusted.”

However, however, I gave this book two out of five stars because I’m wide awake from this whole trick.  Were you tricked?  Yes.  You must have been.

This whole trilogy should be called ‘The Traitor’s trilogy’.

We can all point our fingers at Kestrel when asking whose fault it was.  She fell in love with a spy/slave.  And because she loved Arin too much, she betrayed her father, her country.  TREASON!!!  

Yes, I get it.  Valorians were bad guys.  But here’s the thing, if Kestrel haven’t fallen in love with Arin, she wouldn’t have had to struggle so much both mentally and physically.  And, of course, this book won’t be here today.  Ugh…

Oh, and I have more thing to say about the plot of this book.  It will contain spoilers.  Read at your own risk.






Plot Holes 

– Arin got stabbed.  Kestrel abandoned her current battle situation and rushed to his side 

??? Why she didn’t get slashed or stabbed by other enemy?

– Arin pulled the dagger out from his body 

Umm…suggestion: don’t do that.  You’ll bleed faster.

– the next day after Arin got stabbed, he stood up, walking as if he just got a scratch 

No!!!  Come on!  He wasn’t god.  His internal organs should be messed up!

– they also had sex right after Kestrel insulted Arin’s God of death 

Uh…I thought he was hurt pretty bad?  Maybe it’s my thinking pattern, but I think that wasn’t a good time?  Besides, I thought Kestrel was 17 and Arin was 19 or 20.  He could be charged as a sexual offender.  Yeah!  (I have no idea why I really dislike him in this book.)


I’ve briefly read my Goodreads friends’ ratings.  They seemed to enjoy it.  I don’t know why I feel this way.  I promise that I’m not in a bad mood.  (I guess?)  Read this book and this series if you feel like it.

That’s all for my review of The Traitor’s Kiss.  Have you read this trilogy?  How do you think?

Have a nice day and I’ll see you next time.  Bye-bye 👋


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