The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)

 

Arin imagined how, if he could, he would kneel before the boy he had been. He’d cradle himself to his chest, let the child bury his wet face against his shoulder. Shh, Arin would tell him. You will be lonely, but you’ll become strong. One day, you will have your revenge.

 

Summary
Sent to a brutal work camp by her own father, Kestrel is slowly losing her mind. Meanwhile, Arin, convinced of her betrayal, is doing everything he can to forget about her. This proves to be much harder than he had expected. It seems like even the upcoming war isn’t enough to keep his treacherous thoughts at bay.

Writing
I loved Marie’s writing in the previous books, but I feel like this one is where it finally peaked. I just couldn’t get enough. Her prose got better and better with every single installment in this trilogy and observing this development was nothing short of wondrous.

Characters
Kestrel’s arc in this book was amazing. I loved seeing her coming to terms with who she is now, who she was before and how, in the end, those two identities made peace with each other.

Arin also went through a wonderful development, though it definitely wasn’t as grand as Kestrel’s. He is finally shown as brave and strong instead of foolish and naive. He grows into a man who knows that he is loved and is able to love back. Arin changed from an angry and impulsive boy to someone who I can actually admire.

Plot
I think this whole trilogy is based on forced angst. Though I have to admit – in this book it was done much better than in the previous ones.

I think there was a bit too much romance. The stakes in this book were really high, a lot of important things happened and I feel like they still were just a background to Kestrel and Arin’s relationship. Their love story is actually very interesting and exciting… but so is the war. I just think that it could have been balanced a little bit better.

I am also left feeling unsatisfied by the ending. I liked the way a lot of things were resolved. Still, it all felt too rushed. This ending needed a good 20-30 pages to wrap everything up nicely. There is still so many things left unsaid and unanswered, so many characters didn’t get the closure they deserved. I just needed a little bit more.

Overall
It was definitely the best book in this trilogy and that leaves me with mixed feelings. On one hand I am really happy that I enjoyed this book and that it gave me so much joy. But on the other, it makes saying goodbye to this world that much harder. I am definitely going to miss those characters. But I will do my best to visit them again as soon as possible.

4

You can find this book on Goodreads and Book Depository

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